Choosing a Yoga Studio
I’m a naturally shy person. I don’t like going into new places to try new things when I don’t have someone to go with and no one who is already there knows me. I do it anyway, though. I have had to go to job interviews and new cities and strange office buildings to file legal documents of one sort or another. The thing with going to a yoga studio for the first time, I’m not supposed to be stressed, right?
When I was choosing a yoga studio, it took me a few months to even go to a first class because I didn’t want to have that anxious feeling. A friend I work with who lives on the other side of the city gave me some tips. (I would go with her to her studio, but I know the only way I would attend regularly is to do so close to home.) Her advice helped me to find a studio that now feels like home.
The feeling you get when you walk into a room can either put you on edge, make you feel excited or can make you feel at ease. My friend mentioned atmosphere as the most important thing she looked at when deciding where to practice and learn. Expect to pay for your first class but not necessarily for a membership. You should be able to try a studio out without having to commit.
The atmosphere should be relaxed and quiet. The other students should be respectful and practice kindness and non-judgment. You are there to learn as they are. No one should make you feel like you are unwelcome or that you have to compete. If they do, that might not be the right place for you.
Lighting helps set the mood as does decoration. Some studios incorporate indoor plants to cleanse the air and add a connection to the earth. Be sure you feel comfortable. That’s the most important thing.
The instructor should have a good knowledge of yoga, its history and its discipline. He or she should make safety their top concern when working with their classes. Be attentive to this as you are choosing a yoga studio. They should be able to asses if a student is at risk of injury and be able to gently help to bring proper alignment. Being a person of integrity is also important. Students need to be able to see that their instructor is living the tenants of yoga even outside of the studio. This is a high standard, but yoga is a life changing discipline and those who truly practice will be impacted by it.
Look for a studio that nurtures a community that will be supportive and non-judgmental, where all levels of experience have a chance to practice, grow and share.
Finally, be patient as you are choosing a yoga studio. You may not find the right one immediately but don’t give up. Doing yoga videos at home is a great way to start but being a part of a community, which will help you grow and do your poses safely is important as you make yoga a lifelong practice.