Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Choose a Yoga Studio

"Shoulder Stand" Original Drawing by Becky Kazana. Please do no reproduce without permission.  

Finding the right yoga studio is like choosing a church. You are looking for something intangible, a mood, a vibe. All of these places are pretty similar; usually clean, bare rooms with polished wood floors, maybe a wall of mirrors, maybe plants, maybe candles, maybe a singing bowl. Some use music, some don't. Some are hot, some warm, some cool. The teachers are important, but you will learn something from every person you take class with. The style of yoga is part of it- but you will learn something from every practice, from Hatha to Bikram.

Since arriving in Minneapolis, I'd gone the Groupon route, trying out Heat Yoga, Core Power, Minnehaha Yoga, Your Yoga, and Yoga Studio. I've barely scratched the surface of studios in my area- there is Life Power, Iyengar Yoga and a Bikram studio, all within easy walking distance of my apartment.

So far, One Yoga has definitely been my favorite. They offer a wide variety of classes in many styles, almost every hour, so there is always a class that is convenient. But the intangible something is in the air. Bold letters on the door announce "YOU ARE ENTERING A CALM PLACE." and it's true. You can feel it when you walk in. The rush and bustle drain away as you pull off your wet boots and hang your coat on a peg, find a spot to unfurl your mat and go inward, slowly and deeply.

During practice recently, I had an idea to make this drawing. I love looking at my legs and feet in shoulder stand- they always look so tiny and far off up there, and it's nice to send all the blood flowing in the opposite direction from feet to head for a change. I often have a dream that I am looking at my hands, feet or body from a distance as they slowly swell gigantic and then shrink back down to teeny tiny, and somehow this pose reminds me of that. Everything in your life is a matter of perspective, plain and simple.

Do you practice yoga? What's your favorite pose right now? What do you look for in a teacher? A studio? Do tell!

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