After fifteen years of seeking, I’ve finally figured out what makes a yoga class right for me. Here’s a check list to consider before your next sign-up.
Teacher: There’s a reason why top tier yoga teachers (those who tour like rockstars) are so sought after. Charisma, lifetime experience and overall expertise absolutely make an enlightened class, but plenty don’t own studios. They may even teach in the gym! I remember the 12:15 Tues/Thurs class at Crunch had a terrific teacher who led a juicy vinyasa amidst the clanking of heavy weightlifting next door. Don’t pass on a class because it’s not in the inner (yoga) circle. There are inventive instructors bending backwards to share their knowledge. A little exploration will uncover the gems!
Style: I was introduced to yoga through vinyasa. Then I tried my hand(stand) in an assortment of styles. By studying Ashtanga, Bikram, Kundalini and Iyengar I discovered my body finds stillness in motion, particularly when connecting movement to breath. So I’m a vinyasa girl. Discern your specific style by experimenting with a variety.
Devotion : As someone considered impatient, the spiritual discourse and chanting starting some classes used to bother me. I’d anxiously await to get moving, and found the pre-yoga stuff a bore. As I delved deeper into my practice with more classes and insightful books, I learned that yoga goes beyond moving my body to a sweat. It’s a whole-life experience and offering. By participating in devotion, I allow my heart into the practice.
Music: Sometimes in class, I find myself going through the motions– body doing one thing, mind somewhere else. (I know, so NOT yoga!) Then a certain song comes on calling me back. I return to my asana. Whether it’s the melody’s lull, or the primal energy of the beat, music makes me present. You may find concentration comes easier in silence. There are classes that rely on the breath as soundscape. Personally, I like a little Radiohead with my surya namaskar.
Schedule: When in tune with your natural body-clock, your yoga practice is fully supported. For me, that means taking the 7am class. That’s when I’m at my peak performance. You may not care about your natural body-clock, but you want yoga before heading to work. So that 7am class may suit you too! Decide when your body is strongest, along with what makes sense in your day to determine what time you’ll commit to your practice.
What are the most important components to your yoga class?
Elysha Lenkin is a body, mind & soul blogger. She writes about how movement ignites and inspires the human spirit. Click here for more information.