In today’s infinitely-connected world, it sometimes seems like there’s no need to ever step foot outside. Groceries can be ordered with one click, work can be done remotely (hello sweatpants, good-bye business casual!), and Skype sessions ensure you’ll never forget what your best friend’s face looks like.
This shift has transcended into the world of yoga, too: social media is flooded with videos and tutorials for all yogis: beginner yoga, 10-minute sessions, lunch break routines, morning flow – you name it, you can find it!
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But what does this mean for practicing yoga at a studio? Is there a need? Or, on the other hand, is practicing at a studio somehow superior to an at-home yoga practice?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of an at-home yoga practice versus joining a yoga studio.
The Perks of an At-Home Yoga Practice
1. It’s Free Or Low Cost
Do one simple YouTube search for “yoga” and you’ll find an endless plethora of options (downside: you may have to watch an advertisement, depending on your YouTube subscription).
Some platforms offer additional content for a fee, but there is no shortage of low-cost options (many costing less per month than a single class drop-in rate at a yoga studio).
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2. Practice On Your Own Schedule
Going to a yoga studio means adding time for your commute to and from, and also fitting their class times into your schedule.
Are you a morning bird, a night owl, or a little bit of both? An at-home practice means access to yoga anytime, whether it’s a quick meditation to start the day or a restorative practice to soothe you off to sleep. And if 4am yoga is your thing, then hey – go for it!
3. Go At Your Own Pace
Maybe there’s one yoga pose or sequence that you need more time to access or want to spend more time in.
If you’re following a video, you can pause and rewind as many times as you’d like to ensure you understand before moving on to the next portion of the sequence, without feeling as though you’re holding up the rest of the class.
Speaking of which . . .
4. No Insecurity Or Comparisons
Especially for beginner yogis, stepping into a studio for the very first time can be nerve-wracking. Is everyone looking at me? What if I do something wrong?
Of course, it’s not likely that any of the other students are watching you – more often than not, they’re focusing on their own practice. Still, there’s something to be said about the ability to stumble out of a Warrior III pose in the comfort of your living room as opposed to in front of a room full of yogis.
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5. Class Is As Long (Or Short) As You Want
Maybe you work two jobs and only have short breaks within your day and no time to make it to a 60-minute yoga class. You can opt for a 10-minute video, or start a longer practice and finish it later when you have the time. Online yoga is the most flexible for your schedule.
6. No Commute
When you practice yoga online at home, you don’t have to factor in time or worry about transportation – you only have to go as far as your mat! There are no worries about traffic, parking, or how you’re getting to the studio. If you’re running late, the only person you’re waiting on is yourself.
The Perks of Joining a Yoga Studio
Now that we’ve established the benefits of an online yoga practice, let’s explore and compare the benefits of practicing at a yoga studio.
1. Meet New Friends
Like with most hobbies, it’s nice to have friends with mutual interests. It may feel like the first day at a new school when you go to a new yoga studio.
But before you know it, the faces will become familiar, and soon you’ll begin meeting other members at the studio. Even if it’s just a friendly face to roll your mat out next to, a yoga studio can be a great way to socialize.
2. Yoga Instructors Guide You
Teachers who post videos online should ideally give a lot of verbal cues and be as descriptive as possible. Still, a cue that works for some may not be as well-understood for others.
In a yoga studio setting, a teacher will be aware of this and can try explaining a sequence or pose in a different way or depending on the teacher, help with a physical adjustment if needed.
3. You Might Learn Something New
Some people who practice at home may find themselves returning to the same channel, teacher, or videos each time they want to practice. And while this will still provide yoga’s numerous benefits, eventually, your practice growth could become stagnant.
Teachers at studios come in with fresh ideas each week, and most studios have different teachers with varying styles. All of these factors will help culminate your own unique yoga style.
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4. Easy Access to Yoga Props
While yoga props are not required to practice yoga, they can be a useful way to diversify and deepen your practice by changing or making certain poses more accessible. Most studios will offer props (and usually yoga mats to borrow or rent) for their clients to use during class.
5. Practice In a Different Environment
Yoga studios are designed with one thing in mind: yoga! Most studios aim for a calming, tranquil environment to give their students the best experience they can provide. Plus, it is nice to have a change of scenery once in a while.
6. Class and Instructor Variety
Some yoga studios may be known for their unique “style” (aerial yoga, flow classes, alignment-based instruction, etc.), but they will offer different types of classes led by different instructors. Many online yoga channels are led by the same instructor, but to be fair, there are also online platforms that offer a wide range of class types and instructors.
Online Yoga vs. Yoga Studio: What’s the Verdict?
At the end of the day, practice preference is a personal choice. If you are autonomous, crave your own setting and want to do yoga on your own terms, online yoga may be your best option. If you thrive in social settings and want the personal connection with your instructor, a yoga studio may be ideal.
The most beneficial yoga practice will likely combine a combination of these elements – the guidance of a passionate instructor may spark some inspiration of your own, and you may be eager to practice what you learned in the studio on your yoga mat at home.
Of course, if money is an object, there are plenty of free and low cost online yoga resources. So wherever you are, roll out your mat, and let’s get to yoga!
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With Denelle Numis
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