I’m considering attending a yoga class I haven’t been to in a while. It’s a little intimidating (like I said, I haven’t attended it in a while), but I did enjoy it A LOT and something’s drawing me to it again.
As someone who has a favorite yoga studio and still gets intimidated by certain classes, I can only imagine what newbie yogis must feel – you know, those of you who’ve never attended an actual yoga class, or who have but left feeling disappointed.
Take a few minutes to read over these factors you should look for in a yoga studio; they might just inspire you to start a serious yoga practice this weekend!
1. A Warm, Welcoming, and Nonjudgmental Environment
In my opinion, this is perhaps the MOST important factor to look for in a yoga studio.
As a newbie yogi, you’re going to try things you’ve never tried before – both mentally and physically – and the last thing you need is someone making you feel as if your efforts are inadequate. You might not master every pose every time (actually, you probably won’t), but that doesn’t mean you aren’t learning and growing and that fact should be recognized.
As you attend a few yoga classes, pay attention to how the instructor responds to her students. Does she take the time to help each student, or does she expect you to work it out completely on your own? Does she seem patient when you faceplant after a Crow Pose, explaining how to better approach the pose, or does she get frustrated and move on to the next student while you try to reclaim your dignity?
2. A Variety of Yoga Classes and Seminars
At first, you might stick to beginner classes, and that’s fine. That’s what I did, and it helped me build confidence in myself and the practice.
Eventually, though, you’ll want to spice things up.
For example, my yoga studio currently offers some of the following classes:
- Beyond Beginner Yoga
- Ashtanga Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
- Hot Yoga
- Warm Vinyasa Yoga
- Yoga for Runners and Athletes
- Yoga Dance
Sometimes, they even run a series of classes, such as last month’s Strength and Endurance Yoga, as well as special courses such as those for pre-natal and post-natal women and for people who want to learn more about essential oils and health.
Browse each yoga studio’s class list and see if there are any classes beyond a beginner’s course that currently – or will in the future – interest you.
3. Highly Experienced Yoga Instructors
OK, so not EVERY yoga instructor will have 20+ years under her mat (everyone has to start somewhere!), but you do want a yoga studio that has at least a few seasoned yoga instructors. I’m not knocking new yoga instructors BY ANY MEANS and I strongly encourage you to attend their classes – you’ll both learn from each other. However, taking a few classes from someone who’s been practicing for decades as opposed to just a few years will offer you even more perspectives.
For example, I once attended a yoga seminar with one of my yoga instructors, hosted by one of her yoga instructors. Imagine how much we all learned!
On that note, look for yoga instructors who have yoga instructors. No one “masters” yoga – that’s why it’s called a “practice” – so you want a few instructors who are still learning and are growing their knowledge base to share with you.
How about YOU, sweet yogis? Do you regularly attend a specific yoga studio? What factors did you look for when you decided on it? What factors keep you coming back? Or, if you’re still in the market, what factors are on your checklist?