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We are extremely stressed, hectic, overloaded and learn the great benefits of yoga to help us feel less stressed and more focused. However, gyms should be commended for their efforts to extend the benefits of yoga to more people. Many large gyms around the country jump on the bandwagon and offer some yoga classes.
However, a fitness class may not always provide the same great benefits of a yoga studio lesson. Having previously taught multiple classes in a local gym, I find that there is a very different feeling to yoga in the studio and that yoga in the gym may not be for everyone. Now that I teach exclusively from my yoga studio, I find that my students feel much more concentrated and relaxed after the studio lessons.
If you are starting yoga, you may want to consider taking some studio lessons before trying out the great fitness classes. Yoga studios usually offer smaller classroom dimensions and more personal attention to help students achieve the optimal benefit from yoga poses. If you just fall into a yoga class in the gym you may feel like the instructor is progressing too fast and you feel pressured to continue with the rest of the class. The feeling of peer pressure can be exacerbated by the fact that most gyms have mirrors. Many yoga studios actually choose not to have mirrors because yoga is a very internal experience and the goal is not to keep up with the person next to you. The goal is to find the pace that feels good to you.
In addition, it is important for your instructor to know about vulnerabilities and / or physical limitations to notify you of (asanas) postures that you should avoid or change. This is challenging in the large gym classes which often have 30-40 students. Many times the fitness environment does not help the guide to introduce changes and alternatives to try if you have an injury that is still in the healing stage.
The gym is a great place to work out high energy, take a cardio and lift weights, but it is not an ideal location for a yoga class. To get the real benefits of yoga it has to be done in a relaxing, non-threatening and non-competitive environment. I remember one of the times I taught yoga in the gym and a member of the gym got into class and started hitting the punching bag. This experience, along with other gym members who peek through the window to view the lesson, do little to create a relaxing environment. The yoga studio also offers more control over lighting and music than a gym. Most gyms don't allow the instructor to control the lighting, or the lighting works on a timer, and none of them help with a relaxing experience.
If you've ever tried a yoga class in a gym and didn't enjoy it, why not try a yoga class in the studio? Don't give up on yoga just because of the yoga experience in your gym. Yoga classes at the yoga studio are a completely different yoga experience.
Yoga is more than just a lesson – it's an experience. A yoga studio will help you realize the true yoga experience.