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Good yoga instructors can be found anywhere: at a gym / fitness center as well as at yoga studios. However, doing yoga at a studio offers these ten unique benefits:
#1. The yoga teacher will have more experience. Generally, most yoga instructors begin their teaching careers at fitness centers. After they’ve gained some teaching experience they gravitate into yoga studios.
#2. The yoga classes will be smaller. Those larger yoga classes you see on Instagram and other social media are usually inside fitness centers where the yoga is “free”, meaning part of the monthly membership. When I took gym yoga classes there were between 20 and 35 per class. Most yoga studio have less than a dozen people per class.
#3. Your teacher will be more observant. A smaller yoga class means your teacher will likely know your name, will be able to address alignment and safety issues for you, and will provide brief individual assists if necessary.
#4. There will be continuing yoga education…..for your teacher as well as for the studio yoga community. Good yoga teacher are always seeking to enhance their knowledge. Yoga studios offer continuing education in the form of workshops and professional trainings.
#5. The yoga will follow more traditional teachings. Yoga studio teachers don’t hesitate to chant OM with the group, offer pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Many fitness centers do not support or promote these ancient aspects of yoga. The Yoga in a studio is holistic and doesn’t merely focus on asana (the poses).
#6. The room energy will be more relaxing. At a gym, the exercise rooms are shared with other systems – dance, weights, spin, etc. Walking into a yoga studio, you’ll immediately feel a different vibe, one more calm and peaceful.
#7. You will find community. Most yoga studio owners and teachers intentionally work to promote a sense of community and spiritual friendship. The small class sizes make it easy to get to know the teacher and the yogis by name.
#8. You will learn some of the more advanced yoga postures. It’s tough and more than a little unsafe to ask yogis to do a handstand or headstand when there is one teacher and 25 students in a gym yoga class. Again, the smaller yoga studio class sizes allow time and space to teach the safe way to do some of these advanced postures.
#9. You will experience a wider variety of yoga styles. Yoga at fitness centers tends to revolve around faster moving, flow classes called vinyasa. At a studio, you will find classes offering restorative, yin, power, slow flow, deep stretch, pre-natal, yoga plus meditation, and more.
#10. There’s no financial commitment. Join a gym and you will likely sign off on a yearly contract and make monthly payments. Yoga studios are “pay as you come.” If you quit using the gym, you’re still obligated to pay off the contract.
Yes, you will pay more to take yoga at a studio versus the “free” gym yoga class but the benefits gained more than offset the cost.
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