Yoga’s rise in popularity has seen a commensurate rise in yoga studios, such that now most cities and towns can boast a half dozen places to study this practice. Whether it’s a large class at a commercial gym or a private studio with only a few dedicated practitioners, whether it’s hot yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Hatha or any other number of styles, we are now faced with a bewildering number of choices before even stepping on our mats. How are you supposed to know how to find the right yoga studio for you? What style should you try your hand at, and what should you look for so as to not make a mistake that could cost you time, money, and motivation?
The first question you need to ask yourself is what kind of vibe you are looking for. Do you want something small and intimate, where the teacher will have time to give you plenty of personal attention, or do you prefer to lose yourself in a crowd? The first can best be served by a small, privately owned studio, while the second can be found in either a large gym that offers yoga classes or a commercial yoga studio chain. It really comes down to a question of confidence: if you want a certain level of anonymity in order to feel ready to start practicing in public, than a large studio might be right for you; on the other hand, if you feel ready to be acknowledged and given plenty of attention to, then a private, smaller studio would be right.
Second, what kind of yoga are you looking for? There are now dozens of popular varieties, ranging from the more physically demanding to the more spiritually focused. Some will have you dripping with sweat by the end of the class, while the others are gentler and more focused on stretching and relaxing your body. Your best bet is to jump online and find yourself a guide to different yoga styles like this one, and then decide which style appeals to your personal goals best.
Having decided what size and style, your next job is to check word of mouth, both online and in person. Which studios have a good reputation? One that has been open for years but has no reputation or a bad one should probably approached carefully, while one that had just opened may not yet have had time to accrue a reputation. You can find out by checking social sites like Yelp, by searching online for the studio’s name along with the word ‘review’, or by checking in with local yoga practitioners and seeing what they think. You should also feel free to drop by any studio that you are interested in and try out a class; this taste should give you an idea of how the studio is run, even if experiences will range from teacher to teacher.
Remember: it can take a few tries before you find the perfect fit. Even within the same studio some teachers will resonate more strongly with you than others. Figure out what you want as best you can, and then leave yourself open to try new experiences and experiment. The right class is waiting for you – you just have to go out and find it!