How to Pick a Good Yoga Studio (and Avoid Bad Ones)

There’s an old saying that you get what you pay for, and that includes the quality of your yoga lessons. You may think you’re saving money by taking a class at the YMCA or a community center, but the instruction you’re getting could cost you in the long run. Before you choose the cheapest yoga classes or sign up with that new studio that just opened around the corner, ask a few questions.

What types of yoga does the studio offer?

Do you prefer that your yoga classes be calm and gentle or vigorous and challenging? Some studios have classes in several types of yoga, some one or two. Those that specialize in a certain style of yoga are likely to be better choices if you prefer their style, but if you’re a beginner who hasn’t found a favorite yet, you may want to try out several classes with different types.

How experienced are the instructors?

If the yoga studio or gym down the street has a constantly revolving assortment of teachers and always has an ad for teachers running on Craig’s List, that should be a red flag that this isn’t the studio for you—especially if the ads say “No experience necessary.” You want your teacher to have experience, knowledge of anatomy and at least 200 hours of training. If you’re going to be doing headstands in her class, you want a teacher who will train you in the proper form.

How is the atmosphere?

Do your like to make new friends while practicing yoga or do you prefer to be in your own space? Some studios are more congenial than others, so look for one that suits your own socializing style. If the other members seem to be using the studio or gym as a singles bar, while you take your workouts seriously, look elsewhere.

How much does it cost?

Some fitness chains demand that you sign a restricting contract that you can’t get out of even if you decide that you don’t really like the place. Unless you’re absolutely sure than a certain studio or gym is the place for you, it may be better to use one with a pay-as-you-go plan that allows you to buy a block of classes or one at a time.

If you’re in NYC and looking for a studio with experienced yoga teachers and reasonably priced classes, check out Pura Vida Urban Fitness. Your first class is just $10!

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