I have a confession. When I decided to become a yoga instructor, I swore I would never work at a gym. For one reason or another, I was judgmental towards any so called “Yoga teacher”, that dare set foot in a gym.
I soon got my ego out of my ass and realized that I was being a jerk and there was nothing wrong with “gym yoga.” In fact, now that I WORK at a gym teaching yoga I believe that people who go to the gym need yoga more than anyone.
So from a yogi that teaches in both studios and in a gym here are the pros and cons of both and how you can decide what’s best for you. Whether you’re an experienced yogi whose always in the studio or someone whose never tried yoga, enjoy!
I work at three different Yoga studios and everytime I walk through the doors, I’m home. Before I worked outside of a studio I wondered why studios couldn’t get more people through the door with such a warm fuzzy atmosphere. Truth be told, I get it now and I’ll give you the low down with the pros and cons to yoga studios.
1. Class sizes are typically smaller.
-With that being said if you’re intimidated by large class sizes then a studio may be your best bet. With so many studios in the area, classes rarely fill up in-studio which leaves room for more space in the room and more personalized classes. If you have injuries or an area of the body you want to open up, chances are you’ll have a better shot at having your voice heard and having the teacher adjust you if in improper alignment.
2. There’s magic in the air.
Well not really….well really. The atmosphere of a yoga studio oozes peace, calm and serenity. It’s a place to let it all go after a long day or start your day on a positive note. You just can’t get the same feeling from a smelly gym. 😉
3. Class is more personal.
– I touched on this with smaller class sizes but I really develop STRONG friendships with my students in studio. We know each others names, we talk about what’s going on in our lives before (and after!) class and we develop a special yoga bond. I look forward to starting my week of classes because I know I’ll have at least my two special ladies Aurora and Daisy in class to laugh and flow with every Monday morning.
4. Massage, Sensory deprivation, etc.
– many Yoga studios offer other services including massage, and sensory deprivation in addition to their classes. This offers a convenience factor for busy people.
One studio I work for, Total Zen Float, is a sensory deprivation pod center and Yoga studio. They offer packages for yoga, floating or combining both services. For more information on this feel good studio, Click this link.
If you’re looking for yoga and massage than look no further than Sacred Moments Massage and Healing Center that just opened up their own Yoga studio next door. Located in Oviedo, treat yourself to a yoga then get a massage afterwards. For more information, Click this link.
-Yoga class isn’t the most expensive thing in the world but it’s also not a necessity (well to me it is, but not most people!) for survival. Classes are typically $10-15 a pop which can add up over time. Most studios offer memberships but nothing close to what a gym can offer, but I’ll get back to that later. I used to wonder why more people didn’t come to studios until I realized that to some it’s a “luxury” they simply can’t afford.
2. Gym Yoga
1. Good Value
– I didn’t realize how affordable gyms could make attending Yoga classes until I starting working at one. For around $20-30 a month you can get a gym membership at popular clubs such as , LA Fitness.
This price includes
-unlimited classes including Yoga, Zumba, kickboxing, Pilates, etc.
– pool and sauna
From an affordability stand point, it’s no wonder why so many people choose this option for yoga classes. Whether your a family on a budget or a broke college student, taking Yoga at a gym makes sense especially when you can also use the gym equipment and cool off in the swimming pool.
1. Large class sizes
-this can be a pro or con depending on who you are. If you’re easily intimidated of large crowds or new to yoga, you may feel more comfortable in a yoga studio. My classes at LA Fitness are typically 20-35 people and with that comes a few challenges. I don’t feel I can personalize my class as much and I can’t connect with my students in the same way as a small studio.
Although I would love to go around and make sure everyone is aligned I’m limited by how many people are in the room and instead provide very thorough cues, so if you do attend a large class keep your listening ears on!
2. NOISE, NOISE, NOISE
– the biggest downside of gym yoga is all of the outside noise. Between the racquet ball court, people dropping weights and screaming during an intense basketball game, Yoga class can get LOUD.
I try my best to drown the noise with my music playlist but there’s a delicate balance between the music being so loud you can’t hear the instructor and so soft that you might as well be on the basketball court shooting 3-pointers. If you’re looking for a more peaceful environment, the gym may not be your best bet.
Once upon a short while ago, I wasn’t a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) through the Yoga Alliance, I was (an still am) however, a certified Group Fitness Instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AAFA). Now having gone through both types of training, I can tell you that most teachers at gyms are not certified through yoga organizations and rather fitness associations. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with either certification, they just have different emphasis on what a “yoga class” should entail.
If you’re looking for a fitness based approach to yoga without an emphasis on the breath or meditation, than yoga at the gym is PERFECT for you. You’ll get all the physical benefits of the practice including toning the body, strength, cardiovascular benefits and flexibility. If you go to a studio you will get all of the same benefits but the teacher may emphasis your breath work, looking inward and developing a better relationship with yourself.
If for some reason you go to a class, be at a gym or in-studio, and you don’t enjoy the class I say you don’t completely give up on yoga. With so many different teaching styles, teachers, and atmospheres of where you can take class, you’re bound to find the right fit for yourself. I used to take it personally when people would walk out of my classes at the gym. Then I came to the realization that not everyone is looking for a calm meditative teacher or gentle style of class. Sometimes you want something fun, adventurous, ass-kicking or restorative. If I, the travel yogi, can’t provide that for you, I know someone else out there can so give it another go before you give up on yoga.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog and it helps you with your decision to try yoga or try yoga somewhere different. If you’re in Orlando and looking for any style of yoga or recommendations feel free to contact me via my blog or on social media and I can point you in the right direction whether its my own class or someone else’s class.