I have written before about there being a flavor of yoga for everyone, a style and a teacher that resonates, just like there is a flavor of icecream you find more delicious than others. I had a lot of people ask me to be more specific, in short “what should I look for when selecting a yoga class?” Well here’s my handy checklist!
1. How do you want to feel when you leave class?
Get clear up front. If you don’t know what you are shopping for, how will you know when you have found it. List three adjectives that describe how you want to feel after your perfect class. Do you want to feel energized, connected, stretched? Or sweaty, shaking and empowered? Balanced, relaxed and peaceful? Get clear up front so you have a benchmark to assess against.
2. What else do you ideally want from the experience?
New friends? A sense of community? Hands on instruction? Hands off? Lots of props and less asana’s or no props and more of a flow? Room for silence in the class or more continual direction? Great showers and organic shower gel? Practice in front of mirrors? Great yoga nidra or no yoga nidra? Variety? Routine? Variety within a routine?
You won’t get everything you want in one place but it’s good to be clear. There are so many different options and nuances, know what’s a non-negotiable for you. Remember this is your precious and valuable “me time” so make it count!
3. Convenience. The best class is the one you actually go to!
There is a huge amount to be said for convenience. Not very spiritual but there we are, that’s reality. In my opinion when all is said and done the best yoga class is the one I actually go to! As the real estate agents would have us believe location, location, location is all important. Is the class at a time that works for you that you can make it a regular and consistent part of your schedule? The trick is not to think “will I make this class in a week where life is going nicely”, but to think about a week where one of the kids is sick, the boss is being a pain and you need to get a plumber to sort out the boiler. Can you make the class in a difficult week? That’s a far better test. Is it local, is it easy to get to, can you park without a hassle or is it parking meter roulette? Not so much “can I make this class” but “in a bad week will I still be able to make this class”. Is it practical? The best class for you is one that fits your routine.
What’s the feel in class? Do you get a good vibe from the teacher and fellow students? Do you feel connected? Do you feel welcome? Do you relax? Do you encouraged but not judged? Check back in with what you wanted to get out of it, and see if it matches your actual experience. The proof as they say is in the pudding.
What did I miss? What else is on your checklist when you choose your yoga class?