If you have decided to take up yoga practice then the best place to start learning all about the poses and postures is by working with a yoga teacher. But should you look for a class at the gym or a specialised yoga studio?
There are five areas you will want to think about when making your decision and these are: cost, convenience, the instructor, the ambiance and the community. In this area we’ll look at each of these in turn to help you make an informed decision.
Yoga is most effective when practiced at least three times a week, so you will need to keep this in mind when considering the cost of classes. If you are already a member of a gym then you should ask whether they offer yoga classes and whether the cost is included in your membership.
If you’re not a gym member then you might want to consider a yoga studio instead. The class costs might be more expensive but you need to keep in mind that you can take drop-in classes without signing up to a contract, which is usually the case with a gym or health club.
When do you want to do your yoga practice? First thing in the morning, during your lunch hour or in the evening? Take this into account when choosing a class as it might be more convenient to find a location near to your office so you can go to classes on the way to work.
Yoga studios are likely to provide more options in terms of number of classes and times, especially the larger studios. Gyms on the other hand have to offer a number of fitness classes so you might find the yoga classes are few and far between.
3. The instructor
Finding a good instructor is probably the most tricky part of your search. You’re probably more likely to find a dedicated teacher at a yoga studio; some gyms have been known to ask their trainers to cover yoga classes on the side.
You’ll want to talk to the instructor and find out how long they’ve been practicing yoga and whether they practice in their own time. Finding a good yoga teacher is like finding a mentor and you should look for someone who you connect with.
4. The ambience
Most gyms are noisy places with lots of loud music and sweatiness and people milling around; while this atmosphere works for most exercise it’s not really suited to the calming, meditative nature of yoga.
A yoga studio on the other hand is built for the sole purpose of yoga practice and the environment and ambiance will be much more relaxing and welcoming. Many play mood music and some even burn incense.
5. The community
If you want to meet other people who enjoy yoga then you might opt for a yoga studio where this sort of friendly atmosphere is encouraged. Some studios have lounge areas with couches to encourage people to stay awhile after classes to get to know each other.
Gyms on the other hand are often much more impersonal, but this might suit your needs better.
To reap the benefits that yoga has to offer you need to practice at least three times a week and you will learn much more quickly if you are comfortable with both your instructor and your surroundings.
You also need to ensure that you can afford to take the classes regularly, and that you don’t have to go out of your way to attend them.
Take these things into account when choosing a yoga class and you’ll be on your way to reaping the benefits.