A massive achievement, despite the obstacles, yogaspace.asia is a story of resilience.
We are very proud to have been featured by Peter Olszewski in the Khmer Times!
From August 2nd, 2021 you can join Yoga Space Siem Reap online. The yoga studio is now offering interactive live online classes with yoga teachers taught from tropical Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat. The first of its kind in Cambodia, Yoga Space Siem Reap is a website with live online classes. The team has designed two types of classes for purchase on its website: Interactive Live Online, and Live Online Classes.
Classes offered are Interactive Live Online, which are taught for smaller class sizes of maximum 4 participants in order to really cultivate participants’ practice and help them develop their practice by using technology so that the teachers can guide students. The other type of class is Live Online, which are classes open to up to 99 participants hoping to recreate the atmosphere of larger yoga studios, still with clear cues and nurturing instruction.
The website, yogaspace.asia, brings together the knowledge and passion of many, providing training opportunities and work to the people Baby Elephant Group employs and putting into action the special recipe of everything we do into one central online platform. The beautiful tropical space of Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel needed to be re-envisioned because tourism remains as low or lower than it has been for 18 months.
Australian Ilana Tulloch, award-winning co-founder and chief marketing officer of Baby Elephant Group, a group of social enterprises aimed at empowering Cambodian future leaders, has worked with her team on this latest pivot, live online yoga classes. Working closely with Siem Reap’s yoga community, the teaching team is led by yoga teacher Camilla Valsecchi, a lifelong student, and experienced Yoga teacher. Since the pandemic, Camilla has worked with dedication and resilience to deliver the Yoga Space mission of cultivating a strong community through yoga.
With a budget of close to zero, a hotel room has been reenvisioned into an online teaching studio, equipment used for retreat groups is now used to teach online, lights once used for spa services like facials have become our yoga studio lighting and an admin laptop has become a device to broadcast classes to the world.
The “live teaching” Yoga Space model challenges the established way of online teaching. The idea is to invite people to forge bonds with each other, the teaching community and to connect the world to Cambodia until tourism can return.
“The idea is to nurture people’s yoga practice as if they were there in the studio with the teacher,” said Camilla, who has taught in Cambodia since 2018.
A yogi since she was 20 years old, Ilana has found healing in many different types of yoga, her practice has helped her through injuries and setbacks, trauma and blockages. But she always comes back, always finding a way to a mat wherever she is in the world.
“Yoga is for life and it’s not just a physical practice. As I get older I realise more and more that yoga doesn’t take time away, it gives it. The more you dedicate to the philosophy and community of yoga, the more joyful life becomes,” Ilana said.
Camilla and Ilana met at Yoga Space’s original location in 2019 – a quaint balcony overlooking the Made In Cambodia Market at Kings Road. Ilana, an avid yoga enthusiast with a passion for the profound community and self-growth that yoga can create, and Camilla, as a master facilitator who shares her decade of teaching experience, personal discovery and knowledge with students.
Since Covid-19 shut the studio down, Camilla and Ilana kept it going as best they could with regular master classes taught on Zoom or Google Meet, and in-person classes held with a loyal group of students committed to practicing whenever it was safe and possible to do so.
“Practically, continuing classes provided a flow of guests who might eat in our restaurant or choose to stay at the hotel in a time when we desperately needed every bit of revenue possible. In reality it was very hard for teachers, and we were sometimes seeing as few as 1 or 2 students attending classes,” Ilana said.
This is not the first time that Yoga Space has been saved by Baby Elephant. Ilana agreed to take over the space along with its spa Sugar Spa (sugarsiemreap.com), in 2019 to save the studio from being closed down, then in 2020 again when the pandemic meant students could no longer be hosted at Kings Road.
The Yoga Space Siem Reap teaching force is made up of a global team, while the essential behind-the-scenes staff and many of the students and clients are Cambodian.
Ilana envisions a future where wellness travel returns and opportunities arise for more Cambodian teachers to train to become teachers themselves. This type of investment is a long-term goal and one that will be nurtured as more people sign up to the community.
For the immediate term the focus is on three core goals – providing a space for mental health and development of yoga students, sustaining jobs for Cambodians, and the international yoga teachers who form the teaching team, and finally on making a success of this one last pivot as the pandemic keeps tourists from being able to come to Siem Reap.
What you experience: World-class online yoga classes delivered in a nurturing and nourishing context.
What you provide: Every class pass sold, every class attended, helps us to continue to provide jobs through our connection to a global audience.
How to join:
Step 1) Buy class pass on the website
Step 2) Go to class schedule on website and book class of your choice
Step 3) Receive email welcome pack on how to attend
Step 4) Join our Facebook group to join our global yoga community
Step 5) Keep turning up because yoga doesn’t take time – it gives time
10% of profits from classes
10% of profits will be going to our emergency food fund to help the worst affected by the pandemic.
Every time you join a class you will know you are helping people who need it. There is a special Cambodia resident price, available on the yogaspace.asia website.
Ilana Tulloch or Camilla Valsecchi
+855 96747 0842
Yoga Space Siem Reap