With free yoga videos littering YouTube, why bother with a yoga studio membership? Why commit to attending a certain class at a specific time when you can yoga on your own at a place and time that are convenient to you?
We explore five reasons to take the plunge and join a yoga community--and it’s not just about getting into tricky inversions.
We learn something from every teacher and every class we take. Teachers use verbal cues and visual demonstrations to guide their students and to correct alignment. If everyone in the class has perfect form in down dog, then no words are needed. If several people are hyper-extending their elbows in tabletop, then a verbal cue can adjust each of those students in seconds with a few simple words.
While yoga teaches us to connect with and be in tune with our bodies, sometimes it’s nearly impossible to feel our misalignment. After all, our bodies may have spent years practicing something incorrectly, so it may FEEL correct. In that case, all the verbal cues in the world won’t make a difference, but a physical adjustment from a teacher can allow you to experience how the pose feels when in correct alignment.
The intricacies of yoga are infinite, and each class and instructor provides additional knowledge. Some teachers may focus on the spiritual aspect of yoga while others concentrate on physical asana, but they will all surely notice, adjust, and teach different aspects of the same practice.
Yoga friends are a unique breed. We may know little to nothing about one another, but after months of practicing alongside one another, we develop a bond. Perhaps that bond develops into friendship or maybe the connection remains in the confines of the yoga studio, but the union is undeniably real.
Then there is the yoga connection we make with complete strangers--that instantaneous “click” when you realize you both practice yoga regularly. At Yogaja, we say we’re all part of the herd, and it’s true. We are one big yoga family.
When you practice yoga long enough, you will eventually hit a plateau. It’s easy to feel you aren’t improving your flexibility or mastering additional poses. We know yoga is not SUPPOSED to be about the poses, but sometimes it’s hard to remain positive when we don’t see progress despite regular practice.
The yoga community provides inspiration during those times of frustration. Whether it’s witnessing a fellow mom make time for her own practice despite numerous hurdles, or watching your ample-bodied instructor perform inversions that you thought were reserved for the young and thin, or experiencing the dedication and fervor or a fellow practitioner that inevitably wears off on those around him/her, coming to yoga class is an inspiration.
Let’s be real--yoga and all of its accessories can get expensive. Belonging to a yoga studio provides you with a plethora of resources--teachers, props, practice space, and unlimited classes--for minimal cost, especially when compared to other fitness facilities. Try out that Dharma Yoga Wheel, practice on the Jade yoga mat, or meditate in aerial silks suspended from the ceiling--all part of the resources at Yogaja Yoga.
While an inviting practice space and multiple props are helpful, the most important resource is our teachers. Your yoga teacher knows you, your practice, your body, and your struggles. You may get frustrated because a certain pose seems impossible, but your instructor realizes it’s simply your tight hamstrings or your anterior pelvic tight. Our bodies are all built differently, with various strengths and hindrances, and your teacher can help guide you safely through your practice, offering advice and tips tailored specifically to you.
Arguably the most significant benefit to belonging to a yoga herd is the support of that community. Advancing through the asanas is all well and good, but leaning on the support of friends, acquaintances, and your yoga family is indispensable.
Yoga is partly about the poses, breathing, and meditation, but it’s also about the connections we make and the support we receive. We support one another in our yoga world, but also in the greater community. We support the businesses of our yoga community, we strengthen one another during difficult times, and in the simplest way, we encourage one another in our individual practices.
HOW TO BEGIN...
If you’re interested in joining our yoga community but hesitant about walking into your first yoga class, Erin’s Gentle/Beginner class on Sundays at 9AM and Tuesdays at 9:30AM and Julie’s Basic Flow on Wednesdays at 5:45PM are great places to start. The classes move slowly with various options to make the poses your own. The focus of the class is mobility, flexibility, and full relaxation.
Any Basic or Beginner class is ideal for those new to yoga or for those who would like to perfect their form. Basic classes can still be a workout--teachers merely avoid advanced poses or teach them with modifications and props. Even our Yogaja teachers attend Basic Flow classes!
New students pay only $25 for their first 5 classes.
Gena will also be teaching a 4-week series on yoga fundamentals on Sundays, starting in mid-October. Take all 4 workshops or just 1 and gain the confidence and knowledge to begin your own yoga journey.
*Photos by Mary Wyar Photography.