If you start doing something, do it right. I know, it’s so daunting and so easy. You are regularly going to your local gym and you know that there often are yoga classes. It’s right there! Neverthless, it has 4 big BUTS (with a single T). Have a look at why you should go to yoga only in a yoga studio.
1. Yoga mat vs camping mat
Trust me, it’s a big difference! I’ll sum it up with a paragraph written on the subject by Jakub Šamberger: “Camping mat is that little something you buy when you go camping with a tent. If you are looking for a yoga mat and by mistake you buy the camping one, you will be very lucky if you don’t loose your teeth in Down Dog because the mat suddenly rips in the middle. After a few slippery attempts on the mat, you furiously throw it away in the bin or to a garage where it joins the other nonsense stuff.”
Yoga mat, on the other hand, is flexible, long, so that you can comfortably lie on it in a savasana position and enjoy it! Unfortunately, most fitness centers are confusing these two. Me as a client, I would rather practice on the floor than on the camping mat (and usually that’s how it ends for everyone in the end) or head for the door straight away.
2. The room
Usually, fitness centers have bigger exercise rooms, the size where you don’t have to worry about not having enough space when doing aerobic exercise. But for yoga, you usually don’t need as much space. Quite opposite actually, smaller spaces have more calming and soothing qualities to them, exactly what we want during a yoga practice. Not only that, in a smaller space, the voice of a teacher doesn’t carry as much as in a bigger space and therefore doesn’t disturb your concentration. Some of the rooms in a fitness center are also made of glass aka completely see-through, so basically it’s not unusual to see the buzz of the whole gym behind you. And now you try to relax, I challenge you!
3. Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest of them all?
Topic we could discuss for hours and still not have a consensus. Mirros are common during bikram yoga practice where for the typical 90mins you just stare right at yourself (and I’m not saying that’s wrong, it also has its qualities). BUT I don’t think it fits with the classic yoga practice. Mirrors are turning your attention away from what you’re feeling inside. It’s one thing how we look in the pose, what really matters is – how we feel. Also, asanas usually alternate much quicker than in bikram yoga and therefore there’s no time to stare at ourselves in the mirror.
I absolutely get that for beginners a mirror can be a great tool, especially for all the visual types out there. After all, you don’t see yourself, you want to know if you’re doing it right, I got you. But still, it’s not good to get used to them. In addition, your way of doing asanas and how you look can be way different than the instructor’s or the woman’s next to you, but still it will be the best way for your body, and therefore the best for you. If you’re not sure that you’re “doing it right”, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher after the class or book a private lesson.
During yoga, we want to recharge our batteries, stretch out, work on our strength, but most of all, relax. Imagine this scenario, though: You enter the fitness center and to even get to the locker room you need to go through the busy gym. When you change and finally get in front of the desired room your yoga lesson should happen in, you need to wait a bit until the other lesson is done (TRX, circle training, you name it). People start exiting the room, sweaty and wiped out. You enter and you feel the humidity in the room, little oxygen. And in this space, where the energy is up and running, you are supposed to come to your easy seated position, sit tall and relax. Not that it’s not doable. Even trying to bring your awareness to yourself instead to your environment is yoga in a sense. BUT! Why make it hard when it can be easy, right? The environment matters!
Your experience matter!
Forgive me for generalizing or straight away recommend a fitness center where the reasons stated above don’t apply. I’m looking forward for your input!