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Yoga studio vs. the gym

May 8, 2011

Ever wonder if there is a difference between the yoga taught in traditional yoga studios and the yoga taught in sweaty, iron-pumping gyms?

Well, I have an “industry” secret to share with you. The yoga instructors you see teaching at the fancy-schmancy yoga studio? Well, they also teach at your local gym. More often than not yoga teachers teach at more than one studio or gym.

Area gyms like Gold’s Gym© and Washington Sports Club© require their instructors to be certified in their respective fields of expertise just like your traditional yoga studios. In the United States that certifying body is Yoga Alliance®. They are the national education and support organization for yoga. Some instructors have the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) while others have the 500-hour YTT in a variety of styles be it Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Bikram or Hatha (to name a few!).

If you are like me, yoga is not the only thing you like to do. I prefer a more well rounded workout regimen which includes weightlifting, kickboxing, spinning and Zumba® just for good measure (and a good laugh!). And like most people, I have neither the time nor the financial resources to belong to a yoga studio AND a gym. Fortunately, my gym is filled with fantastic yoga and pilates instructors who teach with the same dedication and caring that they deliver to their yoga studio students.

Admittedly, yoga studios offer a wonderful atmosphere for your practice. When you walk in and smell the incense, your stress and blood pressure level instantaneously drop as you are enveloped in a world of Zen. Better yet you are joined with like-minded folks looking to deepen their practice. You also have access to a lot more instructors and varying types of yoga. You will be sure to find a yoga style of your very own. There is absolutely nothing like a good yoga studio.

BUT if time or money simply does not allow you to be part of a great yoga studio community or if you have never tried yoga before, I urge you to try the yoga class in your gym. Chances are they have more than one style and the class will be as challenging and fulfilling as any yoga studio can offer. If you are lucky enough to be part of a gym that has a dedicated space for yoga, then even better. So don’t let cost deter you from starting your very own yoga practice. NOW is the best time to start!

Include a yoga practice in your new year and jump in. The water is nice and warm.

Photo via Flickr (Creative Commons) by Mimar Sinan.

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From → Yoga

3 Comments
  1. Hey there, finally getting through checking out all of these great YIOM blogs!

    I just wanted to chime in and agree with you that just because it’s “gym yoga” doesn’t invalidate it. My first experiences with yoga were at my gym, and the three teachers whose classes I attended were some of the best instructors I’ve ever had, and that’s including teachers with their own fancy yoga studios and Sanskrit names! The pointers and hints they gave me 5 years ago are still with me today. Granted, I did have a bad experience with a gym teacher who used phrases like “that little doggie pose” for downdog, but otherwise my gym has done a good job recruiting knowledgeable yoga instructors and even created a special mind and body studio so classes no longer have to take place among barbells and Bosus.

    • Thank you so much for that great input, Jennifer! Not to mention that I’ll surely laugh tonight when we do downdog and I think “that little doggie pose.”

      I think gyms are really getting it, you know. They are investing a bit more in their Mind and Body studios and I think it’s great!

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