Once you’ve decided to try yoga, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide where you will take classes. Although it is convenient to practice at home with a DVD, for most new practitioners, a class with a professional yoga instructor is beneficial while learning the poses.
There are several places to take a yoga class, including yoga studios, gyms and wellness centers. There are benefits and drawbacks to each location. In this series, I’ll talk about options for taking yoga classes, beginning with gyms. Yoga classes are popping up in gyms around the world like never before. If you belong to a medium sized or large gym, chances are, they offer at least one yoga class.
A gym yoga class is convenient, if you are already a member of a gym. Some love these classes, but a common complaint is that the classes sometimes combine elements of aerobics, or use traditional exercises like crunches.
I call these classes “yogaerobics” and they are annoying to people who want to practice yoga, and not aerobics. Some people do like these classes, particularly if they are looking for a class to fit in with an exercise regimen. It is important to note that yoga offers toning and strengthening benefits without changing the format or adding other types of exercise to a yoga class.
Although I have heard these complaints, I must say that I had a great first experience with yoga at a gym. Chris was an amazing yoga teacher and the class wasn’t an exercise class, but a yoga class. So it is possible to find great instructors in gyms. Call and ask questions about the instructor’s background to get an idea of what to expect in the class.
One thing to consider when selecting a place to take yoga classes is the type of yoga you want. Gym classes are usually, but not always, hatha yoga. If you are interested in another type, call around to the gyms in your area and ask about the style of yoga used in their classes. Also ask if they offer the same style in all classes on the schedule, or whether there are mixed styles offered at different times during the week.
Doing some research is the best way to find a class you will like and stick with. Ask the gym if you can try a class before signing up for membership. Many gyms offer this service or will let you take one class for a small fee before signing up. Even if it costs ten dollars or so, it’s better to be sure before plunking down a ton of money for a gym membership and later find the style of the class isn’t a good fit.