Yoga is becoming increasingly popular these days, with mounting numbers of people benefiting from attending a class on a regular basis. As a beginner, choosing a class can be a daunting business. With such a range of styles and teachers to pick from, where on earth do you start? if you are thinking of joining a class in the New Year, here are five things to consider before you take the plunge:
1. Location. I have found that many people look for a class that is close either to their home or their work. This makes sense as it means you will be more likely to be able to attend on a regular basis. It’s wise to choose a venue you can get to in plenty of time. If you are always dashing in at the last minute you will waste the first part of the class because you are still trying to slow down.
2. Venue. Classes can be found in gyms, sports centres and local halls, with all having their merits. Having taught both in gyms and in local halls, I have found that the latter are likely to be relatively quiet (there are always exceptions!) and attended by a regular group of students. This can make it easier to concentrate and the teacher is more able to become familiar with the needs of the group. In a gym the group is often more variable from week to week and there may be noise from the other gym activities, but equipment may be provided. Classes may only be open to gym members, but if that’s you they can provide a good opportunity to give yoga a try at no additional cost.
3. Drop-in or block-booking? If you prepay for a block of classes it can increase your commitment to attend on a regular basis. You gain consistency by working with the same teacher and classes may be planned to build on the teaching from previous weeks. This is ideal to get you off to a good start as a beginner, or for the person with a regular space in their diary. Paying in advance can increase your incentive to attend, even though you would prefer to stay snuggled on the sofa because its chilly outside. On the other hand, a drop-in class is ideal if your schedule can be hectic, particularly if you have previous yoga experience, and there’s no reason why you can’t still attend regularly when possible.
4. What style do i choose? To a large extent this depends on what you hope to gain by attending the class. Yoga styles can vary hugely, from a gentle mindful approach that helps you to relax to a strong physical workout. I have found that the majority of my students indicate that they come to class to either improve their flexibility or to relax. I hope my classes help them with these goals!
5. Which teacher do I choose? In the UK there is no statutory regulation of yoga instruction so it is important to ask about your intended teacher’s qualifications. There are a number of organisations accrediting this training in the UK. For example, my own accreditation is with the British Wheel of Yoga, which offers a Teaching Diploma that can be studied part-time over several years, in a variety of yoga styles. All members with teaching status are insured and there is an annual requirement for continuous professional development and possession of a current First Aid certificate. Ultimately, as long as you are assured of your teachers accreditation, this choice comes down to personal preference, as even teachers with the same qualification can have very different styles and ways of teaching. Ask if you can attend a class to try it out before you commit to a longer booking.
Interested in joining one of my classes? if you have previous experience then come along to my drop in class on Tuesday evenings. Alternatively, get in touch to find out about spaces in my other classes, where you pay per half term.
Hope to see you soon!