Image Credit: Agusto Mia Battaglia
Ok. You’ve seen the articles, the research, and heard of the benefits. You’re ready to give this “yoga” stuff a try…Good for you! Being open to something new is really the first step, and this quality will benefit you as you begin your journey to finding the perfect yoga studio for your lifestyle.
1. Google is your friend!
First things first, google away! Try typing “yoga in + your home town or city” and see what pops up. If you’re fortunate, you might notice 4 or 5 studios in your area. Sometimes, you might notice only 1 or 2 places that offer yoga in addition to other types of workout classes (pilates, body pump, cross fit, etc.). If possible, stick to studios that offer only yoga, as these will most likely be the places that offer top notch instructors. If this isn’t possible, then go ahead and find the fitness centers that offer a yoga class.
2. Try and try again.
Once you’ve found a few studios, compile a list and write down each studio with the class times offered next to each one. It is easiest to stick to a consistent practice (if you so desire) with studios that offer regular class time-slots each day of the week. See if the studio has a website or phone number you can contact, and make sure to let them know you are trying their studio for the first time. Most studios will offer a free trial class or discounted trial week to lure in new members. Definitely take advantage of this!
3. Plan ahead.
Once you decide on a studio, identify a class time that works best for your schedule. For your first class, I would recommend trying a mid morning or afternoon class, as these times will allow you to arrive to the studio a little early, meet the instructor, or even take a tour of the studio. Bring a bottle of water, your own mat, and a towel. A new studio is an adventurous place, you never know how deep and sweaty your practice will get, or how calm and restorative it might be.
4. Take a friend!
This never hurts. To take away a ton of the pressure of being the “new guy or gal” in a studio, bring along a friend to try the studio with you. This could lead to an even deeper relationship between the two of you especially if your first class is a memorable experience. If you take a class that you absolutely despise, well, now you and your pal have something to talk about afterward!
5. Be Open Minded!
Always, always be willing to try something new or different. If you have a regular practice, and perhaps you’ve just relocated, I encourage you to keep an open mind. I’ve practiced in studios in Michigan, New York, Colorado, California, and Maryland. I’ve even taken a few classes in Costa Rica and Bulgaria. Every single studio had it’s own vibe, it’s own feel. I can remember every studio I’ve ever practiced at, because each one had it’s own look, smell, atmosphere, you get the picture. Just because a new studio has no resemblance of where you first started your practice does not mean you won’t be able to find a new yoga home.
Remember with your practice, the journey is the reward. Take risks, go to your edge, and get out of your comfort zone. Challenge your body, challenge your mind, and reap the benefits of this incredible, life changing practice.