It’s been almost four years since I actually stepped foot in a yoga studio. You’re probably thinking that’s a bit insane since I have a blog about yoga and you’re reading it. There’s a multitude of reasons why I rarely go to yoga class. First and foremost, I’m cheap, especially when I feel like I’m paying for something that I could just as well do in the comfort of my own home for free. Not that I won’t spend all sorts of money on books about yoga and stuff. In fact, just last night I ordered The Shambhala Guide to Yoga by Georg Feuerstein. Right now I’m rereading Baron Baptiste’s Journey Into Power, Stephen Cope’s The Wisdom of Yoga, and Paramahansa Yogananda’s The Yoga of Jesus. (I’m a bit of a multi-tasker when it comes to books, which drives my wife batty). Thing is, I don’t mind buying yoga books because I know I’ll use them again. It’s just that somewhere in the back of my mind I’ve convinced myself that it’s ridiculous to pay someone to tell me how to do something I could teach myself from a book and do at home. The funny thing is that despite my sketchy belief that paying for yoga class is an unnecessary, superfluous expense, I remember quite vividly the handful of times I have attended class.
Well, these last few weeks I’ve been more diligent in my home asana practice. Although work has been a bit stressful, life is settling down and I’m figuring out my schedule. Right now I’m on a business trip in Dayton, Ohio, and I decided to pack my yoga mat so I didn’t get out of the habit. Hopefully I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but downtown Dayton leaves much to be desired as far as I can tell. However, yesterday in my exploration I happened upon a yoga studio about a block away from my hotel called Practice Yoga. When I walked past the studio it looked like it was closed so I hurried home to see if I could find out more about it. I came to find out that the studio opened about two weeks ago. After looking at the class schedule for a while, I came to the conclusion to attend the Ashtanga for beginners class the next day after my estate planning seminar ended. After making that decision, I spent most of today feeling nervous about what to expect in class.
Of course, type-A personality that I am, I showed up for class before anyone else. Instead of going in though, I waited across the street next to a lamp post until more people trickled in so I could sufficiently blend into the background. As I stood there waiting, I realized that I hadn’t been in a yoga studio in four years. When enough people seemed to have shown up, I finally crossed the street. The place was nice and uncluttered, with a few pictures on the walls. At the entrance there were a few chairs, a table with papers to read and sign, and cubicles for storing personal items. Kim, the yoga instructor, told me they lock the doors once class starts so everyone’s stuff would be safe. Anyhow, since the class was for beginners none of us milling around in the lobby really knew what to do next. Kim eventually herded us into the practice room and we unrolled our mats. Unfortunately, none of us really knew what to do once we had our mats out. Thankfully class started soon and the awkward moment passed of trying to figure out what to do. The class was really basic, which was fine with me. We went over Sun Salutations A and B and then did a few other poses from the Primary Series. As things started to heat up I thought to myself, maybe I don’t go to yoga class because I’m embarrassed by how much I sweat. I think I need to take a towel next time so I don’t slip so much. Hopefully I didn’t get any on anyone else. In the end, the class was great and I feel like I got a sweet deal for my ten dollars. I’m planning on going back on Thursday for a Primary Series class, and maybe even tomorrow at lunch if I have enough time.
In the final analysis, I’ve decided there’s something unique about attending an actual class that simply cannot be replicated in a solo practice. Home practice is great, but sweating away the day’s worries in a room full of people doing the same thing is an enriching and satisfying feeling that we should all take advantage of as often as possible.
The beauty is that people often come here for the stretch, and leave with a lot more. ~Liza Ciano (Co-owner and co-director of Yoga Vermont).
Hi, I’m co-owner (with Kim) at Practice Yoga…THANKS so much for sharing this!
If you’re still in town, we’re having a free seva class this friday, june 13 at 6 p.m. Some loud music and fun power vinyasa. I’d love to meet you.
We’re so glad you had a good experience with us.
I see Salt Pond Yoga on your links; I think this is where Phillip Urso teaches? I download free classes of his on iTunes….they’re GREAT.
Thanks again, hope to meet you!
Kathi, it is exciting to see someone who lives close by commenting on a yoga blog! Where in Dayton are you located? I live and teach in Columbus but my boyfriend lives in the Dayton area so I am there a lot!
Kathi – Thanks for saying hi! I had a great time in class yesterday. I’ll definitely be in class on Thursday night for the Primary Series class…too bad I’ll be headed home by Friday. I will be back in July though, so I’ll be sure to bring my mat then too.
Hi, Very nice post. enlightening. Thank you!!
I have a daily home practice and haven’t been to a yoga class for sseveral years. I love my home practice as it is perfect to move right into meditation and breathwork from asana practice.
But you are so right there is something about going to a class. I think there is so much prana in the room and we unconsciously “feel” it.
Guess I will try a class again and see how it feels.
I just stumbled upon your blog. I love reading blogs and really enjoyed reading yours. I travel frequently and visit yoga studios all over the country, I’m currently on business in NYC and just got back from a class at Yoga Works in Midtown. I’ll be sure to visit Practice Yoga if I’m ever out in Dayton. Also, if you liked Ashtanga, you’ll enjoy the Rocket sequence from Its Yoga! (itsyoga.com) in San Francisco. The style was designed originally for men as a derivative of Ashtanga. Personally, I’m still trying to slowly get through the primary series. Thanks for the great blogs.
I am also mostly a home practitioner of yoga. I feel the same as you in terms of paying for something I can do at home for free, and also I’m a bit shy, so that plays a factor as well.
I do attend a yoga class on occasion and by the end of class I always find myself wondering why I don’t go more often.
I think the best benefit of a yoga class, at least for me, is that I tend to push a bit harder and make breakthroughs much quicker.
Thank you for posting this entry, its very inspiring!
So happy I found this blog.
I decided, after such an experience with a yoga studio that teaches a thinly veiled variant of power yoga, where they were very unhappy with the fact that I showed up on average about twice a month … sometimes, not coming back there for months … but yet “miraculously” getting stronger – that I was going to ask beforehand at any other studios, how they treat fellow yogis who are primarily home practitioners and who have no intention of giving up their home practice (in favor of attending the studio as 90% or more of their practice time ….)
Also, a good rule of thumb is to follow the reputations of the founders, DO THEY PUBLISH BOOKS for popular consumption in yoga asana home practice circles? DO THEY PRODUCE similar DVDs? If they are technologically literate, will they go on yogavibes, yogaglo, myyogaonline, yogichocolate, etc. and promulgate their teachings in a more broadcast and affordable manner? How harsh is the practice they teach?
I’m in my late fifties, with a spotty background as an avid dance-exerciser and swimmer … I know it sounds counterintuitive, but for someone who physically lives in an area where yoga studios outnumber Starbucks, but whose bank account is in a yoga-sparse zone, being an mass-media yoga studio owner is a PLUS …
Outreach created me … I am NO yoga freeloader, I am a home practitioner!
What’s not to be proud?
I always consider it a treat to actually take a class outside of my home. I have my own practice and also mix it up with some podcasts or videos of instructors who I otherwise wouldn’t have acess to.
I want to visit Yoga Vermont sometime! I recently met one of the teachers there, Ashely, at a training and she was great!
Hi feel the same way! A large part of why I started to study how to teach yoga is because I wanted to have a richer home practice. Then I realized I truly love teaching and that many people would prefer to go to a class, particularly those who have specific health needs and want to use yoga and meditation as a part of their healing. This is the population I focus on with my teaching. And most of my personal practice still remains a home practice, which I love and treasure!