In Portland, Oregon, where I lived for many years until moving to Melbourne recently, yoga studios are as common as coffee shops—lucky for local yogis. Fortunately, my newly adopted city also has its fair share of places to stretch, strengthen and get centered. Since relocating I've sampled myriad classes and found a stellar studio to call hom (sorry). Here's what makes Humming Puppy, which just celebrated its first anniversary, my new favorite.
Thoughtful design. From the inviting lobby to the sleek studio itself, every area in this expansive space is beautifully designed with clean, modern lines. Sure, you can find excellent studios in less striking, sometimes makeshift spaces. But with such an abundance of places to choose from, outstanding design can make the difference.
Spa-like vibe. Humming Puppy feels almost as much like a spa as a yoga studio, thanks to its soft lighting, plush furnishings, natural elements and refreshing amenities: complimentary herbal tea and coconut water, Aurora Spa ASPAR bath products and substantial towels, to name a few. (Bonus points for being impeccably clean.)
A stress-free start. Booking classes online is nothing new, but Humming Puppy takes it a step further by prompting you to reserve your specific spot in the studio as well. (Clean mats and props are provided and set up before class.) It's akin to booking your airline seat before you fly. No more rushing required to stake your claim; simply book ahead, show up a few minutes before class and plunk down, relaxed, on your chosen mat. Adding to the stress-free environment are expert teachers who radiate a sense of calm and positivity, from check-in to namaste.
That entrancing hum. The acoustically engineered shala features a pleasant hum made up of two frequencies: the 7.83-hz frequency of the earth, for grounding, with the 40-hz frequency of gamma brain waves, often associated with peak performance. (The latter was made from a de-tuned recording of the studio's singing bowls.) The idea is to help students naturally produce matching frequencies, and, science aside, it does sound and feel good. Long-form, distraction-free soundscapes complement the hum during class—a breath of fresh air for anyone who's struggled to overcome an unfortunate playlist during their practice.
hummingpuppy.com. 2/22 Cecil Place, Prahran, VIC 3181.