You attend yoga classes regularly, and you’ve established a home practice. If you’d like to step it up a notch, a yoga workshop can offer tools and experiences beyond those usually included in a typical 90-minute class. A workshop can last a few hours or take place over a long weekend, highlighting a single technique or topic or encompassing several. The possibilities are completely different, but they all have one thing in common: participating in a yoga workshop is empowering. Here’s why:
1. Because every body is different. Your teacher may look peaceful, but underneath that sattvic exterior she is responding on the fly to what’s happening in front of her (and if she’s lucky, maybe squeezing in a moment of her own practice). Multi-level classes equal multi-tasking—teachers can’t always personalize instructions and modifications as much as they’d like to. In a workshop, you can ask questions and benefit from targeted assists and advice. If you’re working with a particular issue, such as back pain, a therapeutic-based workshop can give you valuable tools for modifying poses and staying pain-free.
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2. Shift your awareness. You already know that stepping out of your comfort zone to try a new teacher or class can inspire a fresh perspective. The intensive focus of a workshop will answer questions you didn’t even know you had, and help you feel established in a yoga lifestyle. Building strength and stamina isn’t just physical—focusing on yoga for an entire afternoon or throughout a weekend also shifts your awareness, training you to sustain a yogic perspective on and off the mat.
3. Open the door to something deeper. Typically, studio classes stress asana, and lots of it. In a workshop, you may discover that less is more. You might spend hours focusing on a single asana—building up to Padmasana, for example—or on a group of related asanas like backbends. Or you might study other limbs of yoga, such as meditation. Asana is a beautiful way to develop self-knowledge, but it’s the tip of the yoga iceberg. Hidden depths are waiting to be discovered.
4. Support your studio and teachers. Teaching yoga may look glam, but most teachers nearly split their parsvas (sides) laughing at the CNN report that their median annual earnings top $62,000. Truth is, teachers and studios often depend on workshops and trainings to help boost their bottom line. It’s not just about money, either—leading a workshop may be your teacher’s next career step. So show your love—sign up for that partner workshop, even if you feel hesitant about sharing your mat space.
5. Find your tribe. Workshops draw students from different yoga styles and far-flung places. You’ll connect with a group interested in the same themes, and have more opportunities to interact while you share experiences on the mat and off. Let your yoga mat take you places—follow a favorite teacher to a new location or pick a place you’ve been wanting to visit and seek out its studios and workshop offerings.
6. Renew your commitment. Stepping out of a comfortable routine can help you appreciate your practice all over again. Especially good times to shake things up are seasonal shifts, holidays, birthdays or whenever you need renewed energy and a fiercer focus on your practice.
7. Dip your toes into teacher training. A longer workshop can help you decide whether or not you’re ready for the big plunge, teacher training. Scheduled like mini-trainings, immersion workshops encompass a variety of activities along with teachings about alignment, anatomy and yoga philosophy. Will you dig these details, or will you decide that you’d prefer to leave the guiding to someone else?
Experience, budget, time, location—these factors might influence your choices, but don’t let them keep you from taking the next step. Finding a yoga workshop that empowers you might begin as easily as checking out the flyers at your local studio.
If you’ve taken a workshop, tell us about it—what was the most helpful thing you learned?