Satya Yoga

True to Oneself

We believe there is no shortcut to Yoga — perseverence, focus, and practice provides healthy body and mind. Yoga is a journey of a lifetime and commitment is the key ingredient. At Satya Yoga we focus on teaching the Ashtanga Yoga method.

Adeline Lum and Shirly Oh are certified Yoga teachers and healers.
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Sessions can be conducted at various studios island wide or at the comfort of your home. We also hold special classes, workshops, and events at other suitable venues.

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  • Urban Ashtangis – Real People . Real Inspiration : Smadar Ron

    By Satya Yoga | October 31st, 2017

    Determined, strong-willed and focus, Smadar displayed great strength and resilience in her healing process and search through the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. We know her story will inspire many who are deterred by their physical (and mental) limitations and that Ashtanga Yoga is indeed for everyBODY.

    1. Please share with us about your background and how you started practicing Ashtanga Yoga?

    I’m a designer from Israel and the founder and creator of ‘the City’, a small chain of Interactive Learning Playgrounds. The concept of ‘the City’ is based on role-play whereby the environment stimulates imagination and creativity and in order to play a game, kids have to communicate and interact with each other.

    We were very lucky to be recognized by influential bloggers and pre-school chains in Singapore. Today ‘the City’ is a well-known establishment with 2 outlets in Singapore and 1 in Myanmar.

    My yoga journey began in 2010. I had gone through back surgery due to a lumbar spine injury and yoga was recommended by my doctor as part of the healing process.

    In the beginning I practiced in one of the big chains and it was mostly physical exercise. At that time I used to read a lot about yoga and intuitively knew there was much more to it than meets the eye.

    In 2015 I decided to take a Teacher Training Course (TTC) in order to get a better understanding of yoga. There were few options available and eventually I chose Ashtanga Yoga.

    My teacher who was Desikachar’s student inspired me and during the course of my training I felt that this ‘yoga thing’ was gaining more clarity in my mind. Since then I have been practicing Ashtanga but it took me a while to find the right teacher. Recently I took the next natural step and started an Ashtanga Yoga Therapy Course.


    2. What is your biggest obstacle / challenge with the practice?

    My biggest challenge would be not being able to excel to the extent that I wish. I am highly energetic and competitive in nature and put a lot of effort in everything I do and expect to succeed.

    In the Ashtanga practice, because of my injury, no matter what I would do my starting point is way behind the rest. And most probably with all the effort I could put in I will never be able to get to the place where other practitioners would effortlessly flow in. I am not used to being the ‘challenged kid’ in class.

    That’s why in the beginning I was intimidated and this feeling held me back for a long time before I could gather the courage to step into The Yoga Shala Singapore (where I currently practice). I have heard about the Shala for a long time ago during my TTC but had the impression that it is a place only for advanced practitioners.

    Once I started going to the Shala things took a different turn. As time went by I stopped comparing self to others and observing my own practice instead. And everyday I start my practice with the acknowledgement that I am the most beginner level practitioner in the room and surprisingly I am fine with it. It is a new and more relaxed place for me to be in.

    3. We know you have had injuries previously, have you ever had doubts or fears about whether the practice is suitable or will work for you?

    I practiced different styles with different teachers in Singapore and every experience ended up with me being unable to move, followed by a visit to my specialist for anti-inflammatory injections. I was under constant spinal pain that made me stop practicing for weeks or months and then start all over again.

    At some point I gave up and decided to practice only at home. That period of self-practice was fun but obviously I didn’t make as much progress as I had desired. Without losing faith in yoga I gradually stopped practicing asanas and took an hour of swimming everyday instead.

    One of those days I watched an interview with Petri Raisanen, an Ashtanga Yoga teacher who is known for his healing techniques and decided to travel to Goa to practice with him. Petri recommended that I practice with James when I go back home. Basically this was the last chance for Ashtanga and me.

    During my first days at the Shala, every time another teacher approached me for adjustment, especially forward bends or when my teacher was away, I was completely vulnerable and scared. I didn’t want to end up with another injury. Deep down I knew that this practice was very important for me and felt that I had to be constantly on watch in order to avoid any unfortunate injuries.

    I have no doubt in the Ashtanga practice, I have a strong and deep understanding that it is the best practice for me and I enjoy the concept of self-practice with its meditative nature.

    4. Which is the most challenging pose for you and how do you work towards overcoming it?

    Drop backs. I think I’m physically and mentally incapable of doing it on so many levels. I don’t have any hopes and expectations about this pose. I just use it as an opportunity to lengthen, which has therapeutic effects on my spine and to practice letting go.

    I still think it is very ambitious to expect from a person who had gone through a spine injury to drop back but I had the same thought about wheel pose, which I am able to do now, so I’ll have to be patient and see the practice unfolds.

    5. How has the practice affected / changed your life?

    I can let go…! I think it is the first time in my life that I’m not putting all my energy in controlling certain things, which are beyond my ability. I do my best and accept that sometimes things will take a different turn and won’t match my expectations.

    Besides that my life rhythm has slowed down. I go out less and prefer to sleep early, enjoy walking and using public transportation (I used to drive everywhere!), follow Ayurveda based diet and almost don’t drink any alcohol.

    One thing that keeps fascinating me about yoga is that every time I learn something new or finish a milestone I realise there is so much more lo learn. Its depth is endless and as I delve into it I become more humble about yoga and life, in general.


    Bonus questions:

    6. Use ONE word to describe what the practice means to you and why?

    Therapy. The practice improved my posture and took away my spinal pain completely! These days I see my practice as mostly mental. Yes my asanas are getting better but I prefer to look at it as a place to explore my boundaries.

    One unsolved issue which I had was my doubt in my ability to teach. Since my TTC I taught occasionally but not much even though I had good feedback from my students. Yoga changed my life and I wanted to share this experience but found it difficult. I guess it was related to my injury and past experiences.

    During my yoga journey I experienced different styles of teaching. While practicing in a safe environment at the Shala I was able to shape my understanding of the qualities (which are important for me) in order to become the kind of teacher I want to be and at the same time people around began to ask me to teach them. So I return to teach few times a week and am extremely happy about it.

    7. How important is the teacher and student relationship based on your personal experience?

    Extremely important! It is the key to the actual practice. You must have a teacher who sees you, whom you can trust and who is capable of leading you safely through your physical challenges and your mentally darkest corners. It is important to set good foundation in order to remove doubts and be able to let go.

    During my first practice with James, he pulled my mat to the centre of the room. He asked me to do a headstand, which I was able to do only against the wall at the time, as I was unstable and shaky. All other teachers whom I had practiced with before allowed me to enjoy the comfort to rely on the wall but he didn’t!

    Then he stood next to me and said something like ‘Don’t worry you are not going to fall – I GOT YOU’ which could sound as a very obvious thing to say. But for me it made the difference because he pushed me out of my comfort zone to face my fear and was there to support me.

    The teacher and student relationship reminds me of parenting. In the early stages the child is completely dependent and needs excessive attention and guidance. As time goes by and with good foundation being set, the child is groomed and equipped with all the support and knowledge. The child becomes more independent and will need the parent’s attention only with the more complicated things.

    Sometimes when my kids challenge me I have to put my interpretations aside and respond in a neutral way. Other times I challenge them even though it could’ve been faster and easier for me to be more supportive, all in order for them to be able to take something out of it and grow. And I find it similar in a way to what I experience through my journey with James.

    the CITY :
    The Yoga Shala Singapore :

  • Why Do You Practice?

    By Shirly Oh | October 31st, 2017

    BODY : ‘I tried, I can’t do it.’
    MIND : ‘Do it again but do something different.’

    This is a frequent inner dialogue that I have during the practice.

    Many moons back I tried the ‘X’ posture. I simply could not find enough flexibility and strength to get into the posture. I gave up trying. Fast forward to today and it’s now the new routine in my current practice. I still get chills when confronted with the posture but in order to progress I need to overcome this daunting pose.

    BODY and MIND : ‘Why do I put myself through this (practice)?’

    All seemingly familiar over the years and ironically the one question I may not have the answer to. Conversely, I know staying stagnant (will drive me bananas) is not an option! I would rather look back at my practice (and life) and be glad that I tried rather than wondering ‘what if I had.’

    Practice is much like life. Some poses (things, people) are easy and some are harder. Some are challenging while some seem impossible. Practice enough though and the impossible may become do-able one day.

    There were many times when I would fall into self-doubt wondering if it’s possible to do ‘X, Y, Z’ poses. But I just kept going. “Maybe not today but some day it will happen.”

    When we continuously focus our effort (consistently and diligently) on changing and improving ourselves, eventually we will (through practice) condition our mind and body to change.

    What we can do each day varies slightly – be OK with this too. Remembering that each practice holds an opportunity for us to drop the undesirable patterns and habits.

    Our teacher often reminds us that it is our intentions that truly matter at the end of the day.

    “Why do you practice? Why do you show up?”

  • Urban Ashtangis – Real People . Real Inspiration : Nassera Guerroumi

    By Satya Yoga | October 1st, 2017

    Humble, genuine, sincere, grounded and supportive shine through Nassera’s persona when one interacts with her. We have had the good fortune to experience her teaching before she packed her bags and settled back in Zurich, where she runs Ashtanga Yoga Zurich with the support of her husband, family and students.

    We simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to get her on our feature when she was in town recently!

    1. How did you start Ashtanga Yoga and why did you stay with this method?

    When I lived in London I did a lot of long distance running. I noticed then that I wasn’t very disciplined about stretching so I signed up for yoga classes at a gym where I was a member. The teacher, Marie (I can still remember her name as she was really nice) taught a sequence where she always repeated the same poses and focus on the breathing… I fell in love with the practice –  just like that.

    After a while I asked her about it and why we were always doing the same thing. She told me that this was a method called Ashtanga Yoga and suggested some books to read, if I wanted to know more.

    So I bought the book from John Scott and started practising as recommended at home…step by step…no rush. And that’s what I did until I moved to Singapore. Then I practiced for a year with Denise Chew who also took me to Mysore the first time. And then I found my teacher, James Figueira, at The Yoga Shala Singapore who has been my teacher ever since.

    I love the method of Ashtanga Yoga. This does not mean that I have not had my doubts, but the doubts were less about the method than the practical way of doing it, teaching it, being taught it. The method touched me from the beginning and like in a relationship, there were times when it can be hard but it always feels right.


    2. What is the BIGGEST challenge / obstacle you have ever encountered during the years of practice?

    Myself. My mind, my thoughts about myself and my practice…reducing my practice of yoga just to the physical aspects.

    3. How has motherhood changed your practice / the way you practice?

    It made me refocus my priorities and changed my perspectives. My ‘asanas’, my ‘physical practice’ took over my life for a while. But being pregnant and having a little daughter made me see – I mean really see (because I thought I was already seeing it before)  – the yoga, the bigger picture. Practicing the 8 limbs, at least starting to understand parts of them – Yama, Niyama… .

    4. Recently you have opened your new shala after moving to Zurich. What are your hopes and dreams for the new space and why ?

    My hope is to inspire people that Ashtanga is for EVERYBODY –  And that a lot happens (at least for me) in the head when we practice. We need to understand the fact that we are all different. Each of us has a different body, a different mind and a different past. But everyone can go on the mat, move, breathe and discover, get aware.

    The first year was challenging. It was difficult to ground and believe in myself. But the feeling and the concentration I got while teaching 2 to 3 people and slowly 10 to 12 people is now part of my yoga practice.

    It has been a struggle, my thoughts, doubts but with the support of my husband, family and friends, my teacher James, I embarked onto this new adventure. I am learning a lot. We have a little community now which is practicing the method and it all makes it worth it.


    5. What are your experiences practicing with injuries (if any) and how did you work through them?

    I had some injuries for sure. At the beginning I took it easy. I was running and was generally quite physical. So I was never really scared about a little injury or pain. But I had to learn that an injury is telling you something. It is not always a bad thing. You just need to listen to it and figure out is it physical, emotional and work with it.


    6. How can a student best apply what they have learned on the mat to life?

    I think it just comes through regular practice.


    7. What are the most important qualities of a Ashtanga Yoga teacher and why?

    That I don’t know and I don’t want to pretend that I do. There are already a lot of opinions out there in terms of how people want to approach their teaching. : ) All I know is that it’s not about me, it is about the students in the room and inspiring them.

    Nassera is an authorised Ashtanga teacher approved by R. Sharath KPJAYI Mysore, offering Mysore-style & Led Classes for beginners and advanced students.
    Website :
    Email :

  • Urban Ashtangis – Real People . Real Inspiration : Joleyn Lee

    By Satya Yoga | September 3rd, 2017

    “Oh not for me, yoga is so slow and it’s for the elderly.”

    We first met Joleyn not as a yoga student but rather as a regular passerby during our private yoga sessions with her mum, aunties and her elder sis, Corrine Lee (whom we featured HERE) in their house. Observing a bunch of matured bodies having their yoga session, this young and active lady had no intention to fit herself amongst them.

    Occasionally Corrine would nudge her little sister to try but her main concern was – “I couldn’t even touch my toes!” After a year of being a passerby and through Corrine’s experience with the dynamic practice, Joleyn decided to step into the class when we started the Ashtanga Mysore Program in a studio. With her gung-ho attitude, Joleyn was receptive to the challenges regardless of the fears that she had. Being able to laugh at her every fall and blunder definitely added a fun element in the whole learning experience!


    1) What was your impression of a yoga class prior to taking the first lesson?

    My impression of a yoga class was slow, boring and was only for flexible people. Definitely not an activity that I would even have considered doing.

    2) How long have you been practicing the Ashtanga method and how regular do you practice in a week?

    I have been committed to a consistent practice at least once a week for the past 3 years.

    3) You are attending regular Muay Thai classes as well. Do you see any change in your Muay Thai practice before you started yoga and now?

    Yes practicing yoga does help in some ways. Being a little more flexible in general gives me an advantage with some techniques in Muay Thai. The more obvious is probably being able to reach higher in kicks.


    4) Ashtanga method often has a bad name for being too challenging and risky. Do you agree? At which point of the practice makes you think so?

    I was not aware of it having a bad name though. To me, the point where I would probably find the practice risky is if the teacher is trying to ‘pull my arms off or tear my hamstring’.

    But honestly quite a handful of poses are challenging for me considering that I’m not as flexible as I hope for. But the practice environment would not feel risky or uncomfortable with a good teacher that I am familiar with. It is more of how much effort we want to put in when working with a challenging pose – to get it right or better in the pose.

    5) What is the main reason you want to continue the practice?

    At this current stage of my practice I feel it is a good workout. I’m enjoying the process of learning new poses and trying to understand and to get better with the other poses as well. Not to mention that I am finally able to touch my toes quite easily now!

  • Urban Ashtangis – Real People . Real Inspiration : Louise Vanderput

    By Satya Yoga | August 7th, 2017

    An incidental grandma yogi with a never-say-die attitude, Louise has been a great inspiration to us in many ways. We admire her perseverance and determination throughout the years of practice. She is a true testament that Ashtanga Yoga is for everyone and anyone (not just for the young and flexible) who is willing to put the effort, discipline and consistency.
    Lou 1

    Louise and her husband, Richard who has been encouraging and supporting her yoga journey.

    1. What is the MOST challenging aspect of the practice for you?

    My lack of confidence in myself that I can do the challenging poses. I am not very flexible and added to that I have had a bad knee for quite a few years and more recently left shoulder pain. I took a break from yoga for about a year and procrastinated about returning to the mat because I thought I would have to start from scratch. However, once I did re-start, I realised that yoga is like riding a bicycle – you never forget, you only get rusty from lack of use. What I thought would be challenging actually was not!
    2. What is the BIGGEST breakthrough for you in the years of practice?
    I have many! First has to be touching my toes! As I mentioned earlier, I am not the most flexible person around and I could not even do this when I first started practicing! That I can now do a backbend and headstand (albeit assisted), is my current “BIGGEST breakthrough”. How cool is that!
    3. Mysore (self practice) or LED?
    I do not really have a preference for either one. I enjoy both – Mysore allows me to move at my own pace and enjoy my inner peace and LED refreshes me of the “correctness” of poses, the importance of breathing correctly, the need to listen. Hence, every few weeks I do enjoy a LED class.
    4. How has the practice changed or influenced the way you live your life?
    The most important is that yoga has taught me that it is alright AND important to set aside “me time”. Once I accepted this, I was able to deal with a few difficult personal issues in a calmer, more focused way. I have accepted that it is sometimes far better to let go and move on, that I am not able to solve everything – that with patience and understanding, things will change – whether for better or worse, whichever way it is better to have change than to stagnate!
    5. Do you think Ashtanga Yoga is suitable for seniors based on your personal experience? 

    I started yoga in my mid-50’s and this year I will be 61. For me, practicing yoga has helped me to improve my well-being, my stamina, my strength both mental and physical. It was challenging to begin with because, first, I had to commit to the practice on a regular basis and, second, I was using and stretching muscles I never used. On top of that I had to remember the sequence and many a time I had to repeat till I did remember!

    I ached like crazy and wanted to stop many many times when the aches got bad. But I refused to give in! And so yoga has given me the resolve to work through difficulties and accept alternatives along the way. Much more than that too is the determination to remember the poses and sequence (which took me quite a while to do) – to exercise my brain at the same time which is so important as you age.

    And today I am proud to say that I do remember and can practice what Shirly has taught me on my own. With Ashtanga Yoga you can progress as fast or as slow as you want, push yourself however much you want and set your own goals – it is not a race or competition with your fellow mat friends, you are your own judge and jury. So yes I do think Ashtanga Yoga is suitable for us “seniors” but like all physical activity, you have to always bear in mind your own limitations.