With so many studios and teachers devoted to yoga and mindfulness, choosing the right one can be a little daunting. You are looking for a space that will allow you to focus on nourishing your mind, body and soul. Here are my top tips to help you get started.
A large part of your decision-making process will be your own personal feelings. In fact, I would maintain that your inner voice will guide you in the process, as you will know when everything feels right as much as you will know when it doesn’t.
For me, the connection with your teacher is paramount. Through their teachings, they are your trainer in intense physical exercise as well as your guide through your spiritual journey. You should feel reassured by their expertise and confident enough to allow them to encourage you to go deeper into your practice when appropriate, yet they should also be responsive and supportive when you wish to change pace, as yoga is about listening to your body and being kind to yourself.
The studio setting and environment
Of course there are practicalities such as class times, duration, cost, number of participants per class, size of room etc but, ultimately, when you walk into the studio, does it have a welcoming atmosphere? Do you feel calmer and ready to practice? Many offer added benefits such as underfloor heating, mood lighting, integrated sound systems and additional luxuries like towels and drinks, but many don’t. Consider if any of this is important to you and remember that yoga is about connecting with the earth. The studio environment should help you reach a sense of calm and peace.
Does it matter to you whether or not the studio is close to where you live? Is parking an issue? Will you arrive late and harassed because you haven’t been able to find a parking space? Your ability to concentrate is likely to be disturbed if you are worried about parking tickets should your class overrun. Final relaxation (Savasana) is a vital part of the discipline as it allows your body to absorb all the wonderful energy you have created and your mind to process all that has happened during the class
Are you looking for an inviting, relaxed and friendly/welcoming environment with kindred spirits or, alternatively, do you prefer to withdraw into your own space and just focus on you? This is your personal preference. Yoga is about celebrating your individuality. It’s not about competing with the person on the mat next to you.
I would advise those looking for a studio to try more than one, as well as experimenting with different styles of yoga. Here are some I recommend.
Vinyasa Flow – A strong & aerobic discipline which uses breath to constantly flow movement to movement. This can be a gentler discipline too and is highly enjoyable.
Kundalini – With a meditative focus this yoga practise has its emphasis on breath in conjunction with physical movement.
Iyengar – This practise is all about bringing the body into its best possible alignments often using props.
Hatha – A more traditional and gentler way of practising rejuvenating the entire body.
I believe that, ideally, it is good to practice and become familiar with several different types of yoga, so you may want to look for a studio which hosts a few teachers and a number of alternative disciplines within the one setting. Over the coming months YYG will be introducing you to studios and their owners in and around Tunbridge Wells starting with Lucy Parker the founder and owner of Flow Yoga.
Calm – Warm – Comforting
My final piece of advice is to focus on what feels right for you. The studio where you practice yoga should be a calm, warm and comforting environment in which you can become more present in yourself and leave happier, with a well-defined sense of what it is to be the Amazing You.