Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a good class

blackboard in Wild Lotus yoga shala in New Orleans
Day 26/30 of the yoga challenge! I have been to so many yoga classes this past month. It got me thinking...what makes a good (or not so good) yoga class?

I took my first yoga classes as a pre-teen with my bff on Greenwich Avenue in a heated room. After that, I cannot say I was hooked. But, sometime in college I began regularly practicing my MTV power yoga dvd. Over the years i've taken classes once in while, but definitely not regularly. I think it's been the cost of classes that stops me. But, the Life Yoga 30 day challenge only cost me $99 for all the yoga I could do in 30 days, so I gained a lot of experience in classes!

Sometimes a yoga class...just is not great. So i've put together a list of great things every yoga class should strive for:
- good atmosphere: I like the room to either smell good or like nothing. But definitely not bad. Also, I think that people should not be chatting as the class starts. I like a nice quiet serene atmosphere. Temperature is part of this as it's not fun to be shivering in savasana but i'm also not a 115f yoga class type person.
- OMs: It's important to me that every class begin and end with an AUUUMMMMM. please.
- themes: I love when teachers present us with a theme or story at the beginning of class. It's like a little teaching. At one place I study at there are yoga sutra readings!
- adjustments: Having a teacher adjust you is one of the great benefits of going to class. A home practice may lead you to incorrect or harmful alignment, but once you are in class the teacher is there to gently push you into the proper alignment.
- room to move: i hate a cramped yoga class where the person in front of you moves into 3-legged dog and kicks you in the face.
- music. i don't like silence. i don't care if it's yogi chanting, quiet ocean noises, or rock music. But i do like when it fits the class and flows instead of feeling random.
- a challenge: i want to feel pushed to try new things. or at least given the opportunity to try new things.
- length: an hour is great for a quick practice and people definitely need those classes but i prefer classes that are an hour and a half long because it gives you time for every aspect of the class.
- and finally, acceptance. no pressure. I find that the teachers who gently suggest that i try something new or who cheer me on instead of making me feel pressured are the ones who get me to challenge myself and leave feeling good about it.

I'm hoping to continue taking classes even after the challenge is done...which is in 4 days!


  1. I think it's funny that your yoga studio is called Wild Lotus. The one we've been going to is Red Lotus!

    I enjoyed reading your list since I'm new to the practice. Our last class had different kinds of music playing.. it was Jack Johnson and Norah Jones but the volume and the rhythm were perfect, so it worked really well for what we were doing.

  2. That is funny. I love the name Wild Lotus. I'm actually a yoga-whore and practice at 3 different studios regularly. The 30day challenge studio is Life and the newest one is Shanti Shala (Shanti means Peace). All 3 have great aspects so I can't stick with just one :)