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 : Destiana Bourgeois

    By Satya Yoga | February 6th, 2018

    When we featured Yah Ting in our May edition last year, the inspiration was drawn from her crossing the Singapore-Malaysia border every morning to practice at the shala before heading to work.

    Here is another admirable Urban Ashtangi, Destiana, who enters Singapore regularly for her late morning practice with Adeline at The Yoga Shala Singapore, except she rides on a ferry from Batam, Indonesia!

    With her bulky backpack and thick heavy mat over her shoulder, she walks into the shala with an intense gaze. One can never overlook her well-defined deltoids and quadriceps. Beneath the deceiving aggressive outlook we realize she is very shy and an introvert.

    We managed to chat more after a few classes, impressed by how she travels between Singapore and Batam. A determined Ashtangi, the ferrying and queuing at the customs does not bother her at all, instead she treats herself by having an ice-cream after her practice!


    1) Please share with us briefly your background?

    I am a lawyer by profession in Batam, Indonesia and my first yoga class was in July 2016. In the beginning I wasn’t regular in attending yoga classes. I used to have discomfort on one side of my body that lasted for a week. Sometimes it was really bad that I could only practice once a month.

    I started to pick myself back to a regular routine after I attended some yoga classes in Bali at the end of 2016. I would plan to return to Bali every month just for the yoga classes. During my visits to Bali and after attending yoga classes with different studios, I found one offering Ashtanga Yoga. It was an instruction-led group setting which gave me a first hand experience with Ashtanga Yoga.

    I took up a 200-hours Teacher Training Certification in Bali too just to learn more about the practice but I did not pursue it further once I completed the course. Returning home I decided to stop attending yoga classes in Batam totally as the same discomfort recurred from repeated visits to a group class. When I was not in Bali I would practice yoga from YouTube videos.

    2) Coming from an active background involving regular body fitness, why did you turn now to yoga as your regular routine?

    I do regular body fitness training and am very active in Muay Thai but these caused some serious issues to my shoulders. At times it would be so painful that I had to sleep on my tummy. My fitness trainer recommended I include yoga as part of the routine which could help relax the body and relieve some tension to my shoulders.

    Probably due to my job and vigorous fitness routine, I had so much anger. I became so bulky that my friends gave me a nickname “Hulk”. I was very hard on myself in keeping a strict discipline to my fitness and yoga regime.

    I can feel a big difference now. I feel more relaxed and started to have more awareness of myself. At the same time I could manage my emotions and self-expectations better.


    3) What is your experience in your first Mysore class?

    I did some research and found The Yoga Shala Singapore which turned out to be more convenient and affordable than traveling to Bali. Honestly, I felt angry and shy in my first Mysore class. The way I was taught was very different in the Mysore LED class. My initial thought was an instruction-led class setting like the classes I attended in Bali.

    During the Mysore practice I saw many practitioners who were able to do various poses but I seemed to know nothing. But at the shala I was guided individually and my practice progressed steadily with a regular practice.

    4) Residing in Batam, you have to cross the border few times a week to practice in Singapore. What is your motivation to keep coming back to class despite the distance?

    Mainly due to the constructive changes I can see in myself physically. And importantly, I can feel positive mental progression too. The people around me also took notice of the changes in me. I consider myself as a perfectionist. I am determined to learn the practice in a proper manner and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to learn from my teacher. This practice is my fuel to keep me calm and balanced in my daily routine and my life in general.

    5) What are the changes you see in yourself after taking up a regular Ashtanga Yoga practice?

    Physically I can see my body muscles are more lean as opposed to more bulky from my fitness training. I breathe better, sleep well and the pain that used to be in my shoulders has gone! I also learned to be more at ease with myself. Having a calmer temperament, I tend to smile more and feel more comfortable communicating with people. Very different from whom I was, the angry woman who used to carry a frown everywhere.



    6) “Ashtanga Yoga is a tough practice” Do you agree or disagree?

    Disagree, mainly because I believe that if we are willing to work hard, believe in this practice and allow yourself to take time without rushing, it will not turn out to be a tough practice.

    7) What is your most fearful pose and how do you manage it every time?

    It has to be Bhujapidasana as I has fallen over a few times in the pose. However, as the practice doesn’t allow us to skip a pose, I have to face the same fear each time I reach this pose. The more I fight the pain, the more I feel the pain (too much overthinking and worrying). I have learnt how to manage it by being really focused in my breathing.

    8) What is the best thing you like about the practice?

    Independence. When I am not at the shala for practice I can do my own practice at home daily. The best thing about Mysore practice is that it has made me an independent practitioner. If we can commit to our daily practice we can see the improvement in the practice. When I see that I have progressed, I feel good and confident about myself.

  • 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!