Singapore Yoga Practitioner to Studio Owner: The path of Nithya Priyan
From yoga practitioner to studio owner we meet with Nithya Priyan founder of “Nithya Priyan School of Yoga” and find out more about his new yoga studio. In our interview, we ask him what he has learned on along this path that has shaped who he is and what he has to offer.
“I stopped seeing classes in isolation but started relating one class to another into a deeper narrative…” —Nithya Priyan
Nithya Priyan’s path to Yoga was unusual. Rather than finding Meditation through Yoga, he found Yoga through Meditation. This has shaped his path and has shaped his relationship with Yoga. As a practitioner and instructor, what sets him apart is his ability to see an ever-evolving interconnectedness. For Priyan, everything is related to everything and everything feeds into everything. This is how he lives, how he teaches and is how he knew it was time to transition from Yoga Instructor to opening the Nithya Priyan School of Yoga.
SingaporeYoga Practitioner to Studio Owner-Nithya Priyan
Please Share with us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Yoga Instructor who, through the process of integrating a consistent yoga and meditation practice into my daily life, has brought about beneficial changes in my mental and physical well being and, having tasted the fruits of the practice, is seeking to share what I’ve learnt from my journey.
- Tell us about the journey from being a yoga teacher to yoga studio owner. How did this evolve?
I appreciate the opportunities I was given as a yoga teacher to connect with and work with beautifully driven and hardworking students. This I did conducting twenty-four classes per week in a full time teaching capacity.
Working so intensively with my students allowed a longer term teaching objective to grow from my classes in a natural and organic way. I stopped seeing classes in isolation but started relating one class to another into a deeper narrative more resembling a teaching curriculum than a series drop-in in sessions.
This has evolved after two years of constant refinement to the structured weekly content my students have come to know as #ThisWeekWithPriyan.
I believe in living life in as conscious and deliberate a manner as you can manage. This means stepping beyond your comfort zone at key points in your story. These points can be identified as instances when you have grown bigger than what your current situation allows you to be when you are able to offer more than what you are currently putting out if you would just take one step towards the unknown.
This has happened twice in my career as yoga instructor: the first was to move from practising yoga to teaching yoga, the second is happening right now, as we speak.
To take curriculum-based teaching to the next level involves stepping out of my solitary practice to work with a team of instructors with the common objective of achieving not only a consistent teaching and long-term curriculum, but also a deeper refinement and improvement of the process.
Hence, the journey to becoming a yoga teacher is now leading me to become a studio owner, working with a team of like-minded teachers driven by the same common goal.
2. There have been movements in the yoga market here in Singapore, what trends are you seeing on the practitioner and on the studio side?
I see the trend of studios viewing their role simply as schedulers, organizing slots for teachers who do not coordinate their teachings with each other and as a yoga studio.
This may be a convenient, sensible and efficient way of running a studio, but I see in this situation a fragmented and inconsistent teaching, a lack of focus, a lost opportunity to better serve the students. I see great benefits to what can be offered to students if we all take an extra step towards structured learning.
3. You talked about moving from “typical random and arbitrary public class situation “ to being more “syllabus based”, could you share more on your thoughts about this differentiation?
It is the difference between having blind spots in what you teach your students and teaching comprehensively.
It is the difference between giving your students an hour of entertainment, versus giving them a progression, an objective and a longer-term goal.
It is the difference between having your students play the game of avoiding your nemesis poses and overworking your current favourite pose, versus taking your likes and dislikes out of the equation.
It is jumping arbitrarily from one pose to another without a chance of the student learning anything effectively versus a focused training, week by week, one pose at a time.
Ultimately, it is the difference between a person teaching yoga and the yoga itself teaching through that person.
4. What did you choose as the key elements you had to have in your overall plan for your new venture?
The strategy is twofold: First is putting together a team of like-minded individuals who are committed to working together outside the studio and in. Second is to take the twenty-seven-week curriculum I have developed and continue its refinement with the team, sharing knowledge, coordinating our efforts, and ultimately put out a solid product, week by week. The result is a weekly themed practice taught studio-wide and expressed in the different class types: we pick a pose, we work on it, we rinse and repeat.
Our aim? A stable, consistent platform for learning, practising and mastering yoga asana safely and effectively.
Hrid Akasha means the Space of Your Heart. It is the objective of this retreat to explore this Space with yoga and meditation. ~ Yoga Practitioner to Studio Owner-Nithya Priyan
5. We hear you are working with retreat platform Om & Away on a curated retreat for your launch, tell us more?
Curated retreats are a little like curated yoga classes! When Om and Away approached me to conduct this retreat I was grateful for this beautiful opportunity. I started practising meditation before I started on Yoga. Yoga was a means for me to deepen my meditation experience. What better way to launch my school than to be a part of the meditation retreat they proposed?
6. What makes this retreat unique or special in your opinion?
The whole idea of Glamping is a strange paradox of luxury and austerity. You are in wilderness alongside queen sized mattresses and feather pillows. On top of that, you are placed in a beautiful location but you are asked to turn inward in meditation. And there will be movement based yoga sessions where you will be asked to find Stillness! Perhaps amid all these paradoxes, you are finding something that makes sense. Something inviting you to spend a weekend with your Self. Do listen to this voice and take a small step towards the unknown.
7. What are participants expected to take-away/learn from this retreat? Why do we seek mastery in yoga asana?
It is because this leads us to experiences of Lightness, Effortlessness, Flow during our practice. Through your asana practice, you might even come to understanding concepts of Surrender and Devotion in implicit ways. Words like openness, surrender, devotion, love, do they sound like overworked cliches?
Listening to your heart – does that sound like the least practical and useful way of making decisions and living your life?
And what exactly does Listening to Your Heart mean? Connecting with the Heart does not mean making irresponsible and impulsive emotional decisions. It is a way of connecting to higher wisdom once you learn how to Listen.
Hrid Akasha means the Space of Your Heart. It is the objective of this retreat to explore this Space with yoga and meditation.
8. In a year or perhaps 5, what would you like your studio to be known for?
I would like for us to be known for our authenticity and integrity. I would hope for our intentions to be pure. I aspire for us to become a fertile ground for the germination, growth and flowering of beautiful practices. I would like for all to find Joy in the Body, and Peace In the Heart.
To find out more about Priyan’s new yoga studio visit https://priyan.yoga