Yoga Studios – How to Choose a Home For Yoga and Meditation

Written by Bilal Munsif

If you are new to yoga, or new to the area and looking for a new studio to call your home, there are a few things you need to watch for when choosing a yoga studio. With the increase in the popularity of yoga, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of yoga studios as well as exercise facilities who have begun to offer yoga instruction. Since yoga is an unregulated field at this time, it is important to know how to navigate through the sea of yoga teachers-ensuring your safety, comfort, and success. Everyone can do yoga, but there can be associated health hazards. With the same care that you would put into selecting a health professional, you should put into selecting a yoga professional.

How to Get Started

When you begin to look for a yoga studio, you’ll want to clarify what your intention is for doing yoga. Most studios will report that students start yoga because they desire greater physical conditioning. Others come because they seek a deeper integration between their body and their spirit, looking to work on the inner aspects of the physical practices. Others come because they are healing from another sports injury and recognize that yoga can be safe and potentially therapeutic. Take a moment to answer the question, “Why do I do yoga? What do I want out of my yoga practice?”

Why So Many Different Types?

Yoga is an ancient practice. As it has developed over the years, different yoga practitioners have created their own styles. Today, it is important to know which styles will match what you want from your yoga practice-and which style will keep you safe from injury. For example, which styles will make sure your alignment is correct and that you are practicing according to your fitness level; or which styles are purely for physical exercise, versus connecting the physical with the spiritual.

  • Ashtanga-Classes are based on a set series of poses, often practiced at a vigorous pace, that emphasize continuity of movement and purification.
  • Bikram-Class consist of the same 26 poses practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees with humidity level around 60 percent.
  • Iyengar-Classes focus on the precision and correct alignment of each pose. Props are used to help alignment. Iyengar yoga is one of the most popular forms of yoga in the U.S. and many different styles of yoga include Iyengar principles.
  • Kripalu-Classes are extremely gentle, focusing on mind-body awareness. Kripalu practitioners emphasize the meditative aspect of the asanas.
  • Kundalini-Classes emphasize rapid breathing techniques, chanting, and mantra meditation. The objective is to open and awaken the kundalini energy stored at the base of the spine.
  • Power Yoga-Classes feature a Westernized version of ashtanga yoga. Instead of a set series of postures, however classes vary from day to day and from studio to studio.
  • Purna Yoga-Classes feature Iyengar precision and alignment while bringing gentle physical, mental, emotional and spiritual awareness to the student facilitating personal growth. This approach to yoga takes the wisdom of the past and updates it for the future giving students real tools for healthy living.
  • Viniyoga-Classes feature a gentle, holistic approach to yoga. Some flow is involved, but the pace is much slower than other classes.

What to Ask
So, you have clarified your intentions for practicing yoga, and you have identified the style of yoga that most resonates with your intentions. Now is the time to pick up the phone and talk to some studios. Here are some questions that all studios should be able to answer. If you can’t get an answer to these questions, know that you may not be dealing with a professionally-oriented studio.

What to Ask About the Studio:

  1. How long has your studio been open? Look for a studio that has been around before the yoga trend hit big, about four years ago.
  2. What style of yoga do you teach? You should be well-versed in the styles of yoga by now, and you can engage the studio representative in an interesting discussion. Be sure the person on the phone can give you an accurate description of the style of yoga at their studio.
  3. Do you supply any equipment or do I need to bring my own? To keep you in good alignment, most studios provide props to support your body.
  4. How often are your studios and props cleaned? Cleanliness is an aspect of yoga.
  5. Do you offer workshops? It’s good to find a studio that does more than just asana practice classes, one that offers ways in which you can deepen your practice in other areas and subjects.
  6. When are your classes offered? You will need to be able to get to classes without too much inconvenience.
  7. What levels of instruction do you provide? Be sure the classes are tailored to beginners, intermediate, or advanced students, as opposed to the “one-level-fits-all” approach. You don’t want to be in a class that is not taught at your level.

What to Ask About the Teachers:

  1. What training do the teachers have? How detailed is their training? Be sure your teacher-to-be is trained in the anatomy and physiology of the asana, as well as the therapeutic applications, contraindications, and benefits of the asana. Was the training repeated over several years, or just a one-time course?
  2. Who trained your teachers? Are the teachers trained by the same person, ensuring consistency of instruction, or have they been gathered from a variety of backgrounds? Is there a master teacher who trains the teachers at the studio, a lineage from which the studio’s teaching stems?
  3. How long have the teachers been practicing and teaching yoga? Experience in both their practice as well as teaching makes an excellent yoga professional.
  4. Do the teachers take ongoing teacher training and how often? It is vital that teachers continue to sharpen their skills; it inspires their teaching and ensures growth, for themselves and their students.
  5. Have the teachers been trained in the therapeutic applications of yoga? Does your prospect know how yoga can help you heal after an injury or strengthen your body through a health challenge? The therapeutic benefits of yoga are so vast, that should you need it, you’ll want to be sure that your teacher can provide.

Putting it All Together

Yoga is both an art and a science. As an art, it is as refined and intricate as classical music. As a science, it is as complex and precise as physics. Joy lies in its infinite exploration. Equipped with a greater awareness of what makes a successful yoga studio and teacher, your choices should support you in moving forward into greater joy. Go explore the many joys, and challenges, that come from the profound art and intricate science that is yoga.

About the author

Bilal Munsif

I am a professional writer and blogger. I’m researching and writing about innovation, Blockchain, technology, business, and the latest technology articles
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