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An ancient practice in an ancient town​

Practising gratitude in prayer hands

My Hoi An Yoga Guide To Get Your Zen On​

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Lady Alopecia is my alter-ego. A superhero that battles the bald, keeping insecurities at bay. But Lady Alopecia does have her Kryptonite. (It’s rude people. Can’t fathom them.)

And just like Superman is Clark Kent, journalist by day, Lady Alopecia is Emma Sothern, yoga teacher… well, by day and by night!

yoga em

I teach yoga in Hoi An

When I’m not writing about my hair-free adventures or trying out new products, I’m helping people to stretch and destress through yoga and meditation. And I do it in my adopted hometown of Hoi An, in the Quang Nam province of Vietnam.

I’ve been a yoga teacher here since January 2018 and for me, it’s the best place for yoga in Vietnam. (After discovering the variety and quality of classes on offer here, you’ll probably agree!) 😉

Read on to discover the styles of yoga classes you can try out here, including my favourite places to go for yoga in Hoi An. (Disclaimer: I do mention my own classes! Humble pie, no thanks.)

Lady Alopecia in Triangle Yoga Pose

Types of Hoi An yoga classes

Lady Alopecia in a headstand

Whether you’re living in Hoi An or just passing through, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a yoga studio. (Google it and you’ll see what I mean!)

And sometimes too much choice can be confusing, right?!! Right.

So here’s a quick rundown of the different yoga classes in Hoi An, to make that decision a little easier. Phew! 

1. Hatha​

Best yoga class for: Beginners

This is a great style for working on alignment and for connecting with the breath. Poses are held longer and you quickly learn how that affects a) your body and b) your mind! Staying still in discomfort isn’t easy – but that’s part of the challenge with Hatha. It’s great for beginners due to the focus on alignment – because once you’ve got that right, you’ll be less vulnerable to injury in a faster-paced class like Vinyasa.

2. Vinyasa

Best yoga class for: Focus, in a “flow state”

A Vinyasa Flow class is like a dance. Which is perfect for a restless mind, because you need to stay focused on the next “step”! Vinyasa Yoga matches each movement to the breath – and a good teacher will really tune in to that connection. However, I’ve been to classes here that are more focused on moving quickly to build up a sweat, with little attention paid to the breath. Which I do find a bit of a shame – but maybe that’s just me!

3. Ashtanga

Best yoga class for: Fitness fanatics

A dynamic workout that’s particularly suited to ‘Type A’ personalities and for fans of a physical challenge. Although it’s not really my thing – I prefer a more grounding practice – Ashtangis love its endorphin-boosting nature! Note: This practice is not recommended for beginners (unless there’s a specific beginners’ class available). Make sure to drink plenty of water beforehand and bring a small towel, too – you will get sweaty!

4. Yin

Best yoga class for: Stress relief

Yin Yoga is a deeply grounding and nurturing class that works with the fascia – the connective tissue that surrounds our muscles, like a layer of clingfilm. Unlike other styles of yoga, where we tense our muscles and build heat, Yin is all about softening, cooling and letting go in poses held for 3–5 minutes. Since so much of our lives are spent in tension and stress, Yin is an amazing way of helping us to release – healing the body and calming the mind.

5. Restorative

Best yoga class for: Exhaustion – physical, mental and emotional

If you’re travel-weary or mentally drained, the last thing you might want to do is a yoga class. (Especially with aching legs from all those bike rides in the rice fields!) You could go for a massage. Or you could try restorative yoga, where the focus is on deep relaxation. Allow the support of bolsters and other props to take your weight and enjoy a class that’ll leave you feeling sleepy at first (!!) with renewed energy the following day. 🙂

6. Aerial

Best yoga class for: Unleashing your inner child and gaining a new perspective!

Aerial yoga is one of my favourite things to do in Hoi An. Why? Well, because it’s energetic, it’s fun, it’s still yoga – but it’s different from any other Hoi An yoga classes. Spend an hour or so upside down and feeling like a child. Still, with a ‘safety first’ approach, you’ll need to concentrate – and your mind won’t have the chance to wander. 😉 My favourite part is the elevated savasana at the end, where you feel like a caterpillar encased in its cocoon.

7. Sivananda

Best yoga class for: Exploring the full spiritual package

If you’re new to Sivananda, this incredible retreat centre in Dalat is a great place to try it out. Or if time is short, try Sivananda yoga classes in Hoi An instead. It’s a challenging practice but since mini-savasanas are included throughout the class, you don’t feel too exerted. This grounding and yet energetic style includes pranayama (breathwork), meditation and chanting. Composed of warm-ups and the same 12-pose sequence, it can feel a little repetitive, however – so I alternate my practice with other yoga classes in Hoi An.

8. Beach

Best yoga class for: Beach bums and nature lovers!

Ok, so it’s not really its own “style”, per se. But beach yoga is definitely a different experience to any class you’ll find in a studio. You’ll get sandy, you usually won’t have the luxury of props and balances are always more challenging on an uneven surface like sand. BUT you also get to practice yoga right on the beach! It’s the kind of experience that you come on holidays for in the first place. And for me there’s nothing more grounding than watching the sea while saluting the sun. Inhale fresh air, exhale tension and enjoy.

Yoga Hoi An – Where to go

Vietnam yoga has found its home right here in this pretty yellow-walled wonderland called Hoi An. And even though it hasn’t yet achieved the same levels of fame among the yoga community as say, Bali or India, it’s establishing itself as one of the prime yoga destinations out there.

Maybe it’s the beautiful location, surrounded by rice fields, with stunning beaches like An Bang Beach close by. Or the wellness-lovin’ community of expats, tourists and locals who seem to “live their yoga”, both on and off the mat. Either way, Hoi An yoga classes are special experiences… and shouldn’t be missed!

Read on to discover the best drop-in Hoi An yoga classes going right now. Note: I haven’t included price and schedule details, as they change constantly! But I have linked to each studio/teacher’s website, so you can find out more there. 😉

letters on the beach

Om With Em Yoga

Styles taught: Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, Meditation

Ok, I know I’m top of my own list – but like I said, there’s no humble pie here!

I’ve been teaching yoga in Hoi An since January 2019. Sometimes I teach at A Luminary Life and at Nomad – which is really fun – but I love leading my own beach yoga classes, outside in nature. For me, there’s no better start to a day than enjoying a yoga class outdoors, with the sun on your face and the sounds of the ocean.

I teach sunrise 75-minute Gentle Hatha classes right on the sand at An Bang Beach (upon request, min. 2 people needed). Every Monday and Thursday from 8.15–9.15am, I lead Easy Vinyasa Flow and Hatha group classes overlooking the sea at the fabulous Moyo Beach Club. And on Sunday evenings, from 6–7.15pm, my group Yin classes take place above a cute cafe on Cua Dai street. (The cosy indoor setting is suited to this more meditative style). Drop-ins are always welcome but for the Yin classes, please message me first as spaces are limited. 😉

I can also arrange private classes, whenever and wherever you like (in whatever style takes your fancy). All of my Hoi An yoga classes include a little meditation, a little breath work and a lot of care ‘n’ attention! My goal is to help students relax, to restore their bodies and minds, whether you’re new to yoga or have been practising for years.

My classes build heat in a slower, more mindful way. A way that helps you find that connection, that union, that maybe you haven’t experienced in a while.

Check out Om With Em for schedules, prices and pics of yoga in paradise. 😉

Em meditating
luminary-life logo

A Luminary Life

Styles taught: Hatha, Vinyasa, Meditation

The serene studio at A Luminary Life (on Ly Thai To) is perfect for promoting healing. In fact, you’re likely to feel at ease immediately upon entering its calming reception, greeted by the warmest of smiles.

Since A Luminary Life is rooted in wellness, mindfulness and healing – with a range of treatments that focus on all three – it’s the ideal space for yoga. And its beachside morning classes, on a platform overlooking the sand and sea, reflect the same peaceful attitude.

Trina, the resident teacher and reiki practitioner who leads 60-minute yoga and meditation classes, is an attentive and calming guide. She’ll gently help you build upon your practice – whether you’re a beginner with no yoga experience or an advanced yogi, you’ll learn a lot from her.

Annen Yoga

Styles taught: Sivananda

What used to be one of the town’s best-kept secrets is now pretty much common knowledge: Annen Yoga Hoi An is where it’s at for Sivananda fans! The studio (down a little alleyway off Cua Dai) is attached to a great vegetarian cafe, too (with tasty vegan options cooked up by chef Luan) – so you can work up your appetite during class and enjoy a delicious dinner afterwards in its garden courtyard.

The wonderful Jyoti, who leads 3 x 90-minute classes a day, is the very epitome of her name (which means “light”). Radiating positivity and with a beautiful singing voice for those chants (!!) you’ll leave her classes feeling energised, yet grounded. It’s a challenging class but her gentle manner makes you feel completely at ease.

Class numbers are small and tend to fill up – so book ahead. Check out their website for the latest schedule and watch this teaser video to get a feel for the place… 

Nomad Yoga Hoi An

Styles taught: Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Restorative, Yin, Meditation

Nomad is one of the most popular yoga studios in Hoi An. They have it all, with a range of great teachers and they also offer really interesting workshops in addition to their 75-minute classes. Find details about these and their yoga teacher training on their website.

The riverside studio at Nomad Yoga Hoi An (at 22 Nguyen Du) is spacious, bright and airy. Oh, and you can avail of plenty of treatments there, too – from massages to reflexology to reiki.

aum yoga

Aum Yoga

Styles taught: Hatha, Ashtanga, Gentle Flow

Under the guidance of Rishikesh-born Rahul Chamoli, this newish studio is fast gaining a great reputation, especially among the expats in Hoi An. Rahul, who has been teaching in Vietnam (including at Nomad Hoi An and also in Da Nang) for years, is known for his challenging Hatha classes – which feel anything but basic! And the 90-minute Ashtanga classes will satisfy any needs you have for an invigorating workout. 😉

The studio also offers Gentle Flow classes, for when you want to go a little easier on yourself. And its peaceful Tan An setting offers a welcome respite from the hustle ‘n’ bustle of Old Town. Check out their website for class schedules, plus for details of their next yoga teacher training.

Cham Yoga

Styles taught: Sivananda, Ashtanga, Vinyasa

This distinctly local yoga studio can be found down a little alleyway off Ly Thuong Kiet. Classes are in Vietnamese language only – so if you know what you’re doing and can follow along without extra guidance (or of course, if you happen to speak Vietnamese!) then it’s definitely worth checking out.

In addition to my own classes (which, at Kahuna’s, are 100,000 VND per yogi), Cham Yoga offers the cheapest yoga classes in Hoi An. Sign up for one of their 60-minute classes by emailing [email protected]. They don’t really have a web presence to speak of, but teacher and founder Hien speaks good English and would be happy to help you. 

Aerial Yoga By Avi

Styles taught: Aerial

No-nonsense Avi is the perfect teacher for an aerial yoga practice. There’s no messing around – her focus is on your safety and if you’re not paying attention, she’ll call you out on it!

However, once you get used to her quite direct attitude, you’ll learn to appreciate her calming manner and her level of expertise. You’ll trust her completely – and you’re bound to enjoy the amazing massage she gives during your savasana, as you swing gently from side to side in your hammock! Avi’s website is in Vietnamese but visit her Facebook page for the latest schedule or to book your class.

ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga Yoga Hoian

Styles taught: Ashtanga, Sivananda

Hailing from Saigon, Trang delivers challenging Mysore and led Ashtanga classes in a surprisingly gentle style. Even when you’re holding an uncomfortable pose, or exhausted after yet another chaturanga, her soft and encouraging voice calms you immediately.

I haven’t tried her Sivananda classes – yet – but I’m sure her presence is equally soothing in those, too! She leads small classes upstairs in Cafe 145 on Cua Dai street (where I hold my Yin Yoga classes on Sundays) and since spaces are limited, make sure to book ahead on Facebook

Gratitude Vietnam

Although they don’t do drop-in yoga classes, I simply had to include this beautiful villa in the list of best yoga centres in Hoi An! The newly opened retreat centre is based on quiet Cam Nam and brings to mind words like “oasis” and “tranquility”.

Owners Naomi and Hannah offer a range of workshops and training opportunities, from reiki to sound bowls – and host private yoga retreats there, too. So if you’re looking for a yoga holiday in Hoi An, make sure to check out their schedule for upcoming events.

Yoga in Vietnam – Where to go

yoga in vietnam

Won’t make it to Hoi An this time, but still interested in yoga? 

Don’t worry, there are plenty of options available – with great studios in Saigon, Hanoi, Dalat and Da Nang.

Check out the excellent directory Yoga In Vietnam (founded by Hoi An yoga teacher and reiki practitioner, Victoria Nhan) for details of other classes and retreats in the country.

Common Questions

Definitely. Because even if you aren’t physically able to do the asana practice, you can still benefit from pranayama, or breathing exercises. That’s still yoga! A good teacher will guide you through your own individual practice, and respect your needs.

I’ll have to give you quite a general answer, I’m afraid – it depends on your injury. Some classes, like Yin and Restorative, are wonderful for aiding the healing process and for certain cases of chronic pain. However, it is always worth checking with a physio before attempting yoga if you’re injured – they’ll be able to advise you what’s best.

Not in the slightest. It’s a common misconception that you need to be bendy to do yoga. But you wouldn’t walk onto a golf course expecting to be Tiger Woods, would you? (Probably not.) Yoga is a process. So it doesn’t matter if you can’t touch your toes right away – strength and flexibility will come over time.

Time to say “namaste”...

We’ve looked at some of the different styles of yoga you can try out, plus the best places in Hoi An to try them.

Of course, like many new activities, it might be a case of trial and error before you find a class and a teacher that you connect with. And since yoga is quite a personal experience, you might connect with a totally different style than the next person!

So my advice is to give them all a go. Or if you’re only in Hoi An a short time, use the above class and studio/teacher descriptions to work out what might suit you.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on these classes – including my own, if you join me! Feedback is always welcome. 🙂

In the meantime, I wish you all the very best on your yoga journey!

Om shanti, and namaste.

om with Em (lady alopecia) xxx

Related posts:

If you liked the above post, maybe you’ll like what else I’ve to say about:

1. Yoga – Read my review of a special retreat centre on Ireland’s west coast.
2. Meditation – Learn how it can help with hair loss and happiness!
3. Nutrition – Some handy dietary tips, whether you’ve got hair or not!
4. Travel – My thoughts on how travel can affect your health.
5. Silly Stuff – Like the bald celebrities I’ve got a crush on.

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