Studio Spotlight: Q&A with Alicia Pan, Founder of Yoga Movement

How did the idea of YOGA MOVEMENT come about/ what was your inspiration to start it?

My husband, Pete and I founded Yoga Movement eleven years ago. I was a full time performer, singer and yoga teacher at that time and he was the brand manager of a global surf brand. We put our thinking hats together to create something that we felt was lacking in the market – a yoga/lifestyle brand based on the physical movement of yoga, one that was accessible to everybody - no fuss, no frills. From then on Yoga Movement was born, and what started as a standalone “brick & mortar” concept launched on a shoestring budget is now 10 fully fitted out lifestyle concepts, a 100% company owned app, as well as a dedicated team of over 120 staff.

How many studios do you now have in Singapore and what makes them stand apart from other yoga studios?

We currently have 10 vertically owned locations in Singapore. What makes YM stand apart is the effort we put into the all-around client experience, You don’t go to YM just for a good yoga class, you go to YM to meet people, set up your work station, have a coffee.. and simply, to hang. Every touch point is palatable and accessible, from our fitouts, to our lingo, to our music - it feels like a second home.

Your mission is to become Asia’s leading boutique fitness provider, reading wellness across the region. How are you going to achieve this?

As the umbrella company that currently houses YOGA MOVEMENT and STRONG PILATES SG, MOVE [REPEAT] intends to bring a few more modalities (by way of partnership or vertically) under our umbrella to eventually have the ability to offer people a full, well rounded experience through different types of training, workouts, and even recoveries. We are currently in the midst of doing market research identifying other asian markets on where demand lies, and have our eyes set on a few places to bring our brands into.

What benefits does your practice of yoga bring to individuals?

YM is heavily considered ‘fitness-based’ yoga, so the same way as any kind of body weight strength and stability training would bring benefits to people, we would bring the same. Our brand position is accessible and non- intimidating, so that immediately lowers the barrier to entry to anyone that have considered trying out yoga but haven’t done so for whatever reasons.

How long have you been practicing yoga yourself?

I have been practicing for around 20 years now :)

YM has a cult following - why do you think that is?

I’d like to think that we have an ‘unintentional’ cult following - and the biggest contributing factor would be, as mentioned above, our focus in delivering service excellence, accessibility and ‘home’ feels to our spaces, as well as the community and brand that we’ve built. We are yoga for everyone!

YM offers 8 class types, which one is your favourite and why?

My current favourite has to be SLOW FLOW. I incorporate a few different things in my workout regime. I mix Boxing, with STRONG PILATES, with yoga, and right now I use yoga as a form of active recovery rather than cardio or strength building. Our slow flow classes are designed to give you a 50/50 balance of both strength and deep stretches, so its quite the perfect blend with my lifestyle at the moment.

What are some challenges you've faced running a family business and how have you overcome them?

Being an entrepreneur is hard, and being an entrepreneur with a family member is even harder. There are a lot of things to navigate through, and sometimes you just don’t really want to bring all that discussion home and in front of your kids or at the dinner table. We are in the midst of transitioning the company out of a family business, and have recently introduced a new co-founder/ director into MOVE [REPEAT].

Do you have any advice to share with other mothers on how to juggle motherhood and practising yoga? How has it benefited you?

Motherhood is pretty full on (especially when running a business on the side). You are constantly giving, and many mothers forget to put their own needs in their agenda. For me, it is a non-negotiable that the hour after the kids drop-offs are for myself. This could mean getting a quiet coffee, a gym session or a yoga session. I make it a point to go to yoga at least once or twice a week, and that hour of slowing this down has been crucial for my self-care. Without a self-care routine, it is almost impossible to constantly attend to the demands of others.

Would you consider expanding YM internationally?

It is currently in the works :)

You spend a lot of time here in Australia. Tell us more about this and what do you love about it?

My husband Pete is Australian, which makes our two boys half Australian half Singaporean :) I myself have an Australian PR, and we own a place by the beach on the south end of the Gold Coast. As a person who grew up in a bustling city, I often crave slow, wholesome living. We try and travel back and fourth at least 4 times a year with the kids, and I really think we’re lucky that we’ve got the best of both worlds with this set up!

Any exciting plans for YM in the future that you can share with us?

Our plan is to expand into different markets by next year - and this would involve us tweaking a few things that would set us up for such growth. We publicly announced that we are taking inquiries for interested parties to ‘own a ym studio’ early this year, and we’ve garnered many exciting leads from that. For our launch into a new market we would need to make sure we are fully aligned with the right partner before pulling the trigger on that - as it is a huge step forward for us as a 12 year old company with only vertically owned locations.

Visit YOGA MOVEMENT to learn more about them and their classes.

Also check out their instagram @yogamovement