My first yoga experience was waaaay back when I was in high school. I joined my parents for a class at our local gym. The fact that I barely remember the class, or my impression of it, leads me to the conclusion that I wasn’t super impressed. Jump ahead a few years. At that point I’d had some damage done to my body – snowboarding falls, car accidents and hunching over a computer for work. I was searching for relief from neck and back pain, so I purchased a couple of yoga dvds to practice at home. Still wasn’t impressed, so I don’t stick with it.
Jump ahead another few years. At that point, I was looking for a way to de-stress after work. Finally, I signed up for a local yoga studio, One Down Dog, and started going to class.
That’s when my love affair with yoga really began! There’s something special about actually going into a studio and practicing with other students under the instruction of a real, live person. Not everyone has the same experience, but here are the 5 main reasons I LOVE to practice yoga at a studio. If you’re not convinced that yoga is your thing, at least read these and perhaps give it another shot.
#1 – Get all of the benefits, without any injury
This one is a biggie for me. I remember the first class I ever went to at a yoga studio, the teacher tsk’d at me for doing yoga videos at home. I was annoyed and a little embarrassed that he did that in front of the entire class, but these days I totally get it! As a yoga teacher, I understand the important of alignment in yoga poses. For some poses you can modify a lot to fit however you’re feeling that moment. But for other poses, alignment is important to making sure you don’t get hurt. By going to class at a yoga studio, you will receive alignment cues from the instructor throughout the practice, which helps to ensure you get the full benefits of the poses, and most importantly, prevent injury.
#2 – Keep it personal
One of my favorite things about going to practice yoga at a studio, is that the teacher usually asks if there are any specific things you’d like to work on in class that day. Having the opportunity to say, “my neck is super tight today,” or “work has got me so stressed right now” and knowing that the teacher will make an effort to help me with the issue is such a relief and a comfort.
#3 – Keep it fresh
A lot of times teachers will also bring themes in to class such as a change of seasons, or maybe even something inspired by their current mood. This makes every class a unique experience – something you just cannot get with yoga dvds. It also helps us to understand that connection between our yoga practice and our life “off the mat.”
#4 – Community
When I joined One Down Dog, I didn’t know a single person there. When I moved away from Los Angeles 3 years later, I had an entire circle of friends. Being a part of a community outside of work has been so important to me. Knowing there is a place you can go where everyone knows you is a great feeling! The things that I learned from my yoga family expanded my world view and encouraged me to become a yoga teacher, to quit my job and go after my dreams, and I even made some lasting business relationships during my time there. You never know who you’re going to meet or what experiences you’ll have – but I can pretty much guarantee that at least some of them will be awesome!
#5 – Help others
Remember those new friends I mentioned in the last section? Just as you will find joy and comfort in being a part of a community, you will be providing that feeling for others, simply by showing up. Just by arriving in class, you are helping to hold space for that person who’s “neck is really tight today” or that girl who is “super stressed at work.” Another great reason to find a local yoga studio that you like is the pride you can take in knowing that you are supporting a local business.