ABOUT THE SHALA
foreword by Gingi lee, director
It was in 1998, after many years of studying yoga and martial arts, that I set up my first yoga studio. Known then as the Sangam, tucked away behind an orange gate just off the Northcote Road in Battersea, it was one of only two yoga centres in London and it was exciting times. Word was spreading like wildfire about this amazing life-assertive form of dynamic yoga and classes filled up almost overnight through word of mouth recommendation. The palpable highly-charged energy of those early ashtanga practices was unforgettable.
The yoga scene has changed dramatically since those times. It is a huge blessing that yoga is now reaching the lives of so many, though it is with some misgiving that I look upon the mainstream modern yoga world and observe the dissipation of some of the “essence” of yoga. It is this “essence”, this “spiritual” and philosophical dimension to the practice that I strive to keep alive in the practices at the Shala today (the Shala translates as “a place of spiritual practice”).
I have been privileged to work with many incredible teachers at our centre, all of whom share a deep love and respect for yoga and a genuine passion for sharing their knowledge. These teachers teach from the heart, generously and without judgement or ego. They bring their own individual style of teaching and their own strengths. I hope that everyone who passes through our centre will find their own teacher who can help them on their journey to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
The greatest blessings over the years of teaching, have been my loyal students – inspiring extraordinary people, of all ages and from all walks of life, each with their own life struggles and victories. Many of them have been with me from the outset for more than two decades, many have gone on to become teachers in their own right, some sadly have passed away. From each I take away something and learn something new. Teaching for me has been a humbling and enlightening journey.
Gingi Lee – Director
our yoga offerings
We offer the following in person, with some blended learning livestream and on demand
- Yoga classes
- Workshops & Events
- Courses & CPDs
- Yoga Teacher Trainings
Established in the late 1990s, the Shala was one of the first yoga centres in London at that time. Over the two decades we have inhabited various South London warehouses and since 2014, we have resided happily in a beautiful, peaceful and spacious Victorian warehouse in West Norwood, close to West Dulwich. For over 22 years, The Shala has served a wide community in London and built a strong reputation for high quality authentic yoga teaching. We have also hosted regular retreats around the world.
When we opened in West Norwood we expanded our offerings and team and diversified from our purely ashtanga roots, offering a schedule of up to 60 classes a week with a team of 25+ talented teachers.
In 2016, The Shala School of Yoga, our sister organisation, was set up to provide a platform for our most experienced Senior teachers to pass on their considerable knowledge through more in-depth courses and trainings. Our training programme has gone from strength to strength since then with nearly a thousand students having studied with us since its inception.
In 2020 when the pandemic hit, we braced ourselves for the online world and pivoted almost overnight to a virtual offering. It was not without apprehension, but we were astounded at how potent the yoga was even in this different dimension. The sense of community and collective support was incredible and we found ourselves reconnecting with old students from around the world. The Shala really became a support system to a global community during this time.
Practicing online is no substitute for the alchemy and raw exchange of energies that happens in the studio itself. We are grateful that our studio doors are now open again for workshops and trainings and some classes. Teaching and practicing in person has never felt so energising.
Now in the wake of the pandemic, we are reevaluating our vision and you can read more about that in our latest update. We are excited to see what this next chapter in our third decade will bring, as we continue to evolve to meet the needs of our community in an ever changing landscape.
The Shala and the Shala School of Yoga bring together an exceptionally experienced and gifted team of Senior teachers, most of whom have been teaching for upwards of 10+ years and many of whom now train other teachers. You can read about all our teachers on our Team page here.
The Guardian Health & Well Being
“A Supple Difference“
The Shala Yoga Centre
The Guardian Travel
“A Yoga Retreat in the Scottish Highlands“
The Guardian Travel
“Yoga in Sri Lanka: From Here to Serenity”
The Guardian Travel
“Gently Does It: Sri Lankan Holidays”
The Little Plantation
“Lets go on a Yoga Retreat”
Ashtanga Yoga Fundamental Postures