Bikram yoga Shanghai
I visited Bikram Yoga Shanghai on my 2013 Hot Yoga Studio Tour…and I have much to report about this delightful little studio in the heart of one of China’s hippest cities.
What an adventure for me to find this studio alone on my first morning ever in China.
With a fistful of yen and the name of my hotel pre-written in Mandarin characters (so I could find my way back,) I headed out on foot toward my destination.
3rd floor, 81 JiangNing Road
200041 Jing An District
I had a little trouble finding it. I kept walking back and forth along Jiang Ning Lu (Jiangning St.) because it appeared “81” was missing.
I couldn’t find many people who spoke English for directions.
Then I figured it out and share this information in case you too get lost. Right where 81 Jiangning “should” be, there is a little gate manned by an attendee. You go in through that gate and this is the view with Jiangning at your back.
The 3rd floor where those arched windows are is the studio.
…and found the entrance right around the corner in front of where that car is parked.
There it was. I found it.
That’s me in the reflection…
…happy to have arrived at the front door of Bikram Yoga Shanghai.
The woman working the front desk, who spoke no English, took one look at me and held up 3 fingers.
I had the look, I guess.
The I-am-a-crazy-Westerner-wanting-to-sweat look.
So she directed me up the stairs, to the third floor…
all the way up to this adorable, welcoming and calming front desk.
It’s always a little awkward for me when I arrive at the front desk of a hot yoga studio on my studio tour…
“Hi, I’m Kristen, I have a hot yoga resource site and I’d like to feature your studio. May I look around and take some pictures?”
Will the front desk person be welcoming and curious? Or freaked out and dismissive?
Well, luckily for me, Yun Ji, the studio owner of Bikram Yoga Shanghai, happened to be sitting at the front desk (that’s her in the photo above.)
She welcomed me like an old friend and warmly gave me a tour of the near-to-her-heart studio.
We stood right here in this happy little practice space…
(in which my iPhone photo does little justice)
…and talked all about Yun Ji’s destined journey to start this studio, against all odds.
Following Her Heart
Bikram Yoga hasn’t yet hit China in the way that it has infiltrated the West.
Starting a hot yoga studio in Shanghai is visionary, for sure. One would have to be a pioneer with an unwavering commitment to the practice of Bikram Yoga.
Meet Yun Ji.
Yun Ji worked at a high-paid and responsible job…one that pleased everyone around her, but slowly started to make her soul itch.
During those years, she found her way to the practice of Bikram Yoga. She fell in love with it. She loved the discipline and soon discovered the wild and life changing results that such dedication brought into her life.
Before she knew it, she had taken a leave of absence from work and found herself in Las Vegas training with Bikram Choudhury himself.
Her plan was to come back to her job and maybe teach a little here and there on the side.
Instead, she ended up taking another leave and answering an ad to teach Bikram Yoga classes in the Philippines.
She completed her second leave of absence and headed back to work as planned. But by now, she was a changed woman. There was no going back.
She quit her stable and safe job and embarked on a one-woman mission to create the first and only authorized Bikram Yoga Studio in China.
And she’s done it!
* She is in her 20’s…
* She lives in a country where no one does yoga…
* Her parents are not thrilled…
…and yet she scouts Shanghai for studio space, signs a lease, installs heaters, buys cute locker room furnishings from IKEA, creates her own website, and opens her doors to everyone who wants to practice this life changing yoga.
I unexpectedly spent over an hour visiting with Yun Ji and touring her studio. I felt so inspired by her story and wished I could stay in Shanghai for much longer and start to practice with her in her space. She has that kind of inspiring authenticity about her which will only continue to draw serious students into her warm, inviting and healing space.
Yun Ji, I wish you all the best as your studio continues to grow, and as you share your love of Bikram Yoga with Shanghai, China and the world. Thank you for the dedicated and courageous women like you who follow their hearts to create great things for the rest of us.
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