It is no secret that achieving the ultimate peace in mind and body is not an easy feat, and practising yoga is one way to bring harmony and balance to oneself. Some might ask, why should you try yoga? To answer simply, it makes you feel better. It is an art and science of healthy living where levels of stress and anxiety are brought down, and flexibility and muscle strength are increased. We caught up with Jack Farras, owner of Yoga Republic for a quick one-on-one.
Elite Havens: Hi, Jack. Tell us about the history of Yoga Republic and how you came to Phuket.
Jack Farras: From 2007 to 2010, I owned and operated my first yoga studio in Bali. Due to family and financial circumstances, we decided to move back to Melbourne. After two years we missed the tropical life. Through a mutual friend, I was contacted by an entrepreneur inviting us to Phuket to set up a new studio, which we did. We opened the Yoga Republic Studio in Bangtao in October 2013. It took around eight months to build up the reputation and clientele. We were experiencing steady growth when the Russian rouble dropped about the same time as the military coup saw numbers drop considerably. The original entrepreneur dropped out, and with a new investor, we managed to continue successfully.
Elite Havens: What made you decide the location for your studio?
Jack Farras: We had the idea to relocate to a new area enabling us to set up retreats. Within Blue Tree, the plans changed internally, which unfortunately removed the retreat possibility. It did give me the opportunity to expand into our current setting. We have great support from Blue Tree building this amazing project together. The new studio includes a lovely café offering coffee, juices and a retail area. Although the competition is steep, prices are being cut everywhere and we feel lucky to see new members joining our “family”. We offer more classes and different styles in comparison to our first studio, and to other studios.
Elite Havens: What kind of classes and workshops do you offer?
Jack Farras: We offer many styles. From traditional yoga, like our Fusion Flow, Gentle Flows, Yin and Hot Yang yoga, Fly yoga to High Intensity Mat Pilates, Mat Pilates with props and Reformer Pilates. We also offer many different workshops from meditation to dance. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we see less interest amongst the residents for group events.
Elite Havens: How about private classes?
Jack Farras: We receive many requests for private classes in villas or private houses and hotels, through word of mouth recommendations. Elite Havens’ guests have shown interest in our private classes, and we have also set up long term retreats with hotels for their older residents/guests offering twice-daily classes even. We see opportunities offering outsourced services to hotels and villas rather than them having to employ their own teams. During COVID-19, many people have turned to the internet, we do see an increase in people following online classes. Luckily many of our regular members prefer to join our classes receiving personal guidance and adjustments if needed.
Elite Havens: What makes Yoga Republic different from other yoga studios?
Jack Farras: Many studios these days are not what I call true yoga studios, rather, they look more like gyms. We receive regular feedback about how our studio makes people feel – welcoming, friendly and comfortable, and that should also be reflected in the design and space of the studio. Our design is a storytelling one. We tried to make it not only comfortable and functional but also interesting. Yoga Republic would like to appeal more to the general crowd. We want our members to feel they belong and we encourage them that they can do anything. We also want to offer consistency among our members. We want their experience to be the same each time they return. We provide quality teachers who are presentable, who can speak to you, motivate you and encourage you.
Meet the team from Yoga Republic
Elite Havens: What do you do to maintain sustainability in your yoga studio?
Jack Farras: We try to be sustainable in what we offer. We have water dispensers with refillable bottles available, we sell bamboo items, we use biodegradable straws (natural straw straws) and we minimize our air conditioning and energy use. We used long-lasting material when building our new studio. We make donations towards animal foundations, we support Oceans for All offering free yoga classes and help with beach clean-ups.
Elite Havens: Tell us about your partnership with Elite Havens.
Jack Farras: We are very excited about the partnership with Elite Havens. This partnership fills a void in our current program. Elite Havens offers stunning villas and we offer great quality yoga teachers. They are punctual, reliable and give it 100%. They teach all levels of yoga in four different languages (Thai, English, Russian and Croatian).
Elite Havens: Lastly, what is wellness to you?
Jack Farras: Anything that makes you happy! We only have one body, and we cannot trade them in or get a new one, so we have to work on keeping our body healthy. Yoga offers both physical and mental alertness. Wellness can also be a sense of belonging to a group attending a class. It is also good food, eating well, enjoying massages, staying in beautiful villas, going to the beach and listening to the ocean. We are privileged with our lifestyle here and having this available to us in affordable ways. For our wellbeing, we need to feel good. When we look good and eat well, we achieve this. It is great to see that most of our members leave the studio happy!