“Yoga is my self-love. It feels like coming home every time I do a practice,” Jolene Galea, co-founder of new Balmain yoga studio Soul Agenda, tells Broadsheet.
Jolene and her husband Chris, who also run KX Pilates in Balmain, searched for four years to find the right home for their new studio. The airy, modern space – all fluid curves and earthy tones that invite calm – has been designed by Louvre Interiors. There’s a spacious, cream-coloured reception with a tan lounge; a wooden sign-in counter with a floral arrangement; arches that create flow between the reception area and the practice room; and a large mandala printed on a window in the central arch (replicating one of Jolene’s tattoos). She says the space is intended to be “really natural and light and [have] a grounded feel”.
The studio – which can accommodate 38 students, but is currently restricted to 20 per session – offers a range of classes to suit all bodies and experiences. Align classes (heated to 28 degrees) are foundational, taking time to introduce poses and teach participants about the body. Power classes (30 degrees) offer a higher-intensity practice – “ideally you feel like you’ve had a nice sweat class done and feel mentally cleansed”, says Jolene. The Yin sessions focus on pranayama (breathing) and meditation, with a long hold on postures. There’s also a monthly sound bath session to “just zone you out”.
As a mother of a four-year-old and a newborn, Galea says she’s found it hard to find yoga classes for children, so the studio runs a kids-only yoga class once a month, along with frequent pre-natal and post-natal sessions. There’s also a monthly class for men, in which instructors aim to combat stereotypes about what yoga is and who it’s for.
“It’s really good to teach a man’s body and find out what they need, because their flexibility is very different to a female body,” says Galea. “Sometimes in a general open class they don’t really get into their bodies and can be competitive or intimidated.”
Galea says regardless of the style or your level of experience, yoga is all about having time for yourself. After teaching yoga for more than 15 years, that’s something she’s come back to time and again.