When I moved to a new city, I struggled with how to determine which yoga studio would be best for me. Where do I want to invest my time, energy, and money, I thought. Where will I be able to grow in my practice? After thought, research, and lots of trial and error, I’ve refined my approach to finding a great yoga studio into evaluating four simple criteria.
A big part of a studio’s role is to inspire and motivate students to have a consistent practice. To do this, the best yoga studios connect students to their practice and to themselves. Connecting students to their bodies and minds cultivates a deeper awareness of and appreciation for their practice and keeps students coming back—both to the studio and to their mats in general.
Questions to ask yourself: What connections do you want to build through your practice? After visiting a new studio or class, check in with yourself. How do you feel (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually)? Has this experience connected you to your body, thoughts, feelings, and/or deeper personal desires?
Another key role for yoga studios is to encourage students to delve deeper into their practice. Studios that empower students to deepen their practice tend to emphasize the evolution of different yogic styles and lineages. These studios have very knowledgeable and often specialized teachers who incorporate yogic history and traditions, physical anatomy, asanas and sequences, pranayama, and personal perspectives.
Questions to ask yourself: If deepening your practice (in general or with regards to a specific style) is a priority for you, does your studio allow you to accomplish the goals you’ve set for your practice and yourself? Are you able to deepen your knowledge of a specific style?
In addition to going deeper, the best yoga studios offer opportunities for students to expand the breadth of their practice. Whether through workshops or a variety of class styles, the best studios allow students to explore elements or styles they might not be familiar with. While London’s popular Triyoga studio offers everything from Ashtanga to Restorative, it also opens doors for students to experience and study acupuncture, naturopathy, and massage.
Questions to ask yourself: If exploring different styles or approaches is important to you, does your studio offer a variety of classes for you to explore? Can you explore new ideas and approaches through workshops? Does the studio have a schedule that works for you?
Finally, all great yoga studios embody community. The studio is where yogis come together to progress and share their practice. There are countless studios that center on building community. These are the studios with friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere. Teachers build rapport with students before, during, and after classes. The studio offers events, workshops, and gatherings to bring people together in its space. It’s even as simple as a communal lobby area or the receptionist remembering your name.
Questions to ask yourself: If you want community engagement both on and off the mat, ask yourself if your studio pulses with a community vibe. Do teachers and staff work to build a relationship with you? Are you excited to return for your next class?
How can you find the best yoga studio for you?
Try out a number of different studios. Ask yourself how you feel during and after each experience. Listening to yourself is the best way to determine what space and community will be the right fit for your practice.
Your “best” studio may not have the biggest social media following or world-famous teachers. It’ll be the one that embodies the qualities you deem important and makes you want to return.
What’s important for you in a yoga studio?