If you are new to yoga, welcome! If not, like most yogis, you probably took your practice out of the studio during the pandemic. Well, now that studios are fully open again, it's important to find the yoga studio that will best meet all of your needs.
There are lots of factors to consider when choosing the yoga studio that's right for you and it can be overwhelming at times. Not sure where to start? Well, we're here to help! Here's a few things to think about when choosing a yoga studio:
Variety of Classes
One of the key benefits of joining a yoga studio is the opportunity to practice with multiple teachers who will each have their own unique style of practice. You will also have access to different types of yoga, different levels of difficulty, and different class lengths. Some days you may be drawn to an energizing, 45-minute Power Vinyasa class, and other days you may prefer an hour-long restorative slow flow session. Either way, you'll want to have options!
Although most studios draft their class schedule around the traditional 9-5 pattern, that may not suit you. Perhaps you work shifts, or finish later in the evening. Whatever the case, look for a studio that provides classes that fit within your schedule, instead of trying to rearrange your entire day to attend class.
Another thing to consider is the facilities available at the studio. Some studios have changing rooms, while others expect their students to arrive dressed and ready for class. Some venues have showers, and some do not. If you're planning to attend a class on your lunch break, you might opt for a place that has a space for you to freshen up before going back to work. You'll also want to consider the safety and storage of your belongings in the studio.
This one is a no-brainer! If you're committing to practicing at a studio, it definitely needs to be in a location that is convenient for you. It is typically a good idea to start searching for a studio close to your home or workplace. Then, you can consider other factors related to location, like traffic in that area and parking availability at the studio.
Health and Safety Standards
In a world post-pandemic, it is even more important to select a studio with high health and safety standards. No one wants to practice on dirty mats. Make sure the studio has the means to clean and dry yoga mats as well as any props that are used during class. Between classes, there should be a large enough gap of time for the room to be cleaned and aired. Cleanliness should extend to all parts of the studio, including practice rooms, reception, changing rooms and bathrooms. Safety standards also extend to making sure all the yoga teachers are qualified in their field and comply with the terms of their liability insurance.
Inclusivity and Accessability
When you first consider a studio as your practice space, pay attention to the teachers, students and classes offered. Does the studio accommodate all people? Is the studio staff made up of a diverse group of teachers? Is the studio a safe space for disabled people, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ folk? These are all questions worth asking even if you don't belong to a minority group.
In addition, yoga should be accessible to all, including disabled people, and those with chronic health conditions. It's worth finding out if the studio you are considering has disabled parking and an elevator. Does it have options for students with sensory issues or aversion to physical touch? Does it allow service animals like guide dogs? Are there classes for people with mobility issues? Again, these things may not apply directly to you, but the way a studio makes an effort to include all people can tell you a lot about their values.
Online Yoga Classes
Prefer to keep your practice at home? We understand! If you're not ready to dive back into face-to-face yoga, here are a few quick tips on choosing an online yoga class that suits you:
Visibility.Try to choose a class where poses and transitions are clearly displayed by the teacher.
Verbal cues. Pick a yoga teacher who is eloquent enough to direct you with their words. Since they don't have the opportunity to adjust you physically, it's important that your teacher possesses the skill to effectively communicate all of the transitions.
Live vs. Pre-recorded.There are plenty of spaces you can find live or pre-recorded classes! Attending live classes has the advantage of helping you creating a routine, providing accountability and a chance for you to receive real-time corrections or feedback from the teacher. On the other hand, pre-recorded classes give you the freedom to practice whenever, wherever. This is a great way to create your own yoga schedule and ensure you have time to practice no matter what. (If this option interests you, check out our library of free online yoga classes here.)