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Urban Ashtangi : Savina Nicolini

Savina Nicolini at yoga

“Every journey begins with a single step.” This single step happened in Milan for an Italian architect and interior designer, who soon led herself further to discover Ashtanga in Singapore. Just like her, the dynamics and physically engaging nature of the practice has kept her going five years and counting.

Setting herself a routine of entering into a practice before heading to work acts as a prelude to start her life daily. Savina holds a big personality and one can never miss her great sense of humour!

1. Why do you practice? 

There is a regenerative process related to yoga that is something more than wellbeing. This regenerative feeling is somehow associated with the experience of beauty, in the artistic sense, a sort of catharsis, purification.

Didn’t you notice how beautiful we are at the end of the practice?

One day Yuta came back home and announced that The Yoga Shala would be opening in Rowell Road, a few hundred meters away from our apartment.

Without much thought, we had to start practicing. In my opinion, the practice is very personal. The relationship with the teachers is crucial more than anything.

2. What is your biggest struggle and how do you overcome it to maintain a regular practice?

The major problem for me is to save energy for myself. I tend to arrive exhausted for evening practice, after a long day at work trying to complete some impossible job-related schedule.

Paradoxically, the Covid has been a blessing: less traveling, fewer meetings, more focus on my health and wellbeing. I think I did find more balance in my life.

I say to myself: THREE TIMES A WEEK COMPULSORY CLASS!!! That’s it. There is nothing else to add.

3. It’s too late for me to start yoga.” Do you agree/ disagree? Why?

“I’m afraid I have to disagree. The limits we impose on ourselves are excuses or justifications related to something like poor self-esteem, lack of balance in life, etc..”


4. What are some of the big lessons you learn throughout these years in life that you can apply on the mat?

My father is a very active person, but he never speaks. So, I followed him in his activities to spend time together with him. Thus, I have been taught to play in a sport at an early age.

I want to highlight the importance of educating people about healthy habits from a young age. Physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle like eating, personal hygiene, and sleeping: this is the first big lesson I learned.

So translated to today – You have to practice. You have to be on the mat regularly.

The yoga mat, for me, is a fantastic place. Inside this perimeter, nobody can enter: it’s my castle and my flying carpet. It is the size of the body and the space of the self. I love to see the shala packed with mats!

The yoga mat is a simple sheet of rubber. Nothing is more straightforward. You can unroll it everywhere, like opening a new book and starting reading a new story. So staying on the mat for me is flying away, my magic carpet.

5. How do you like to see your recent positive changes in yourself?

I have to practice much more than what I am doing now and progress further. The practice opened more horizons to me. I actually can do much more of what I am doing. There are targets that now I consider achievable, in due time, of course.

After 45 years old, I passed through a very intense work time. I stop exercising. I became stiff, both physically and mentally. At the same time, reaching the fifties is biographically quite complex. It took me a bit of time to accept that I was soon entering a new decade.

But now, also thanks to yoga, I am learning how to celebrate every stage of life.

6. Yoga practice is a…

Blessing! I see my body transforming slowly but steadily. Step by step, at my own pace, I am looking forward to winning my little battles with the most challenging poses. I feel supported by my teachers and practicing in a positive environment is a true blessing.

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