The new Sohum Yoga Studio – a charming and contemporary yoga center nestled in the heart of the old town of Antibes.
This impressive high-ceilinged loft space beside jasmine-scented Mediterranean gardens is an oasis of calm in a busy world. The studio specializes in yoga and wellness, and offers unlimited monthly or weekly passes which may be tailored into packages that can include Yoga, pilates, massage, personal training and nutritional counselling.
Every visitor – whether a beginner or regular practitioner – receives a unique and balanced experience that is personalized and supportive.
Michelle Timmins, Founder and Director (pictured above), shares with us her vision and the motivation behind her yoga and wellness center.
What brought you to yoga?
Yoga found me when I was backpacking through the north of India at the age of eighteen. I was invited to a seated meditation. This was just one small marker that paved the way towards my yogic studies.
How long have you been practising?
I have been studying yoga for 16 years. I learned with several schools of yoga – Bikram, Iyengar, Scaravelli and Jivamukti. It was the teachers that inspired me more than the practice itself. I learned a lot from each one at different periods of my life. I found Ashtanga yoga five years ago, and haven’t looked back. It was the only yoga that encompassed every aspect of the several schools I had previously practiced. It allowed me a general feeling of peace and well being. Ashtanga is a complete system that restored balance and clarity into my life. On a more superficial level, it allowed me to restore my energy levels and gave me a lean and flexible body that I hadn’t been able to achieve with other schools of yoga.
What are your motivations behind opening the studio?
Antibes is an international community. When I moved to France in 1998, I had a hard time adjusting to the country and its culture. Yoga gave me the tools I needed to find balance. A yoga practice has a way of giving you just what you need in the moment. In response to this experience, I created the Sohum Yoga and wellness center with the intention of encompassing the main elements of fitness and relaxation, to sustain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I work hard at giving each person at the studio a personalized experience as we all have varying needs. The Sohum Yoga Studio gives people space to step back and make the time for themselves in a convivial environment. A fit and flexible body comes with a regular Ashtanga yoga practice, but that is merely a welcome side-effect of the practice. Yoga really works from the inside out, so that inner beauty shines outward.
Do you have to be flexible to practice yoga?
No. Being flexible when starting a yoga practice can be inhibiting if the practitioner hasn’t learned how to engage the right muscles and move the body safely. Being inflexible allows greater control and patience, which are two main stepping stones to developing a long-lasting yoga practice. When this is learned, the more freedom the person will find both on and off the mat.
Can you give us a hint on what events you are planning in the near future?
Well, lots of surprises, but I’ll give you a little peek. From the 16th – 18th May 2014, there are workshops with John and Lucy Scott. They are world-renowned Ashtanga teachers who studied directly with the guru of Ashtanga yoga, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. John Scott is directly certified by him, which is very rare. We are all looking forward to hosting them. We will also be developing children’s programmes including yoga classes for all ages. Also, Baby and Mummy yoga and baby massage classes have just started this month. We also host vegan potluck events and bring awareness to different environmental issues. To keep updated, join the ‘Sohum Yoga Antibes’ Facebook group.
What are some of the benefits students have described?
Well, the benefits vary from person to person. I’ve had quite a few testimonials from students that have claimed that their yoga practice has helped cure them of depression and anxiety attacks, old injuries have healed. Some people believe that the yoga has played a big part in managing daily life and has even helped to save relationships and marriages. The trick is to practice regularily and the full benefits will reveal themselves on both small and larger scales. Practicing with an open heart and mind is crucial.
How can we contact you?
Sohum Yoga Studio
1, rue Paul Bourgarel
Telephone (mobile): 06 75 84 98 13
All photographs © Naneen Rossi