“Yoga near me…”
the words you type into Google’s search engine when you decide to try a yoga class. Perhaps your best friend suggested yoga because it has reduced her stress and could reduce yours too, or your doctor has recommended it because it can help your low back pain, or your boss has all but demanded it because you’ve been lacking focus at work and you need to get your mind right—no matter the situation, yoga has the super power to aid in any area of your life.
However, searching this phrase “yoga near me” does not provide Google enough information to know exactly what your needs are, and the four letters arranged as y-o-g-a has many meanings to many people. As a result, your search will indeed populate with the yoga studios (and gyms that provide yoga) near you, but it’s important to know what to look for before attending your first yoga class. So today, we break down today’s world of yoga so that you can find yourself in the yoga class to fit your needs and fall in love with yoga as much as we have.
Sustaining yoga history…
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, but the practice we know and love in the United States is many evolutions from what the ancient yogis practiced, and it continues to evolve. The majority of yoga’s life cycle was founded on meditation, prayer, chanting, and mantra. It wasn’t until about 150 years ago that yoga asana, the term we use to describe yoga poses or postures, was introduced into the yoga practice. Nowadays, you’ll find a wide variety of beliefs and approaches to practicing and teaching yoga, but one thing should hold steady regardless of the style of yoga practice–the experience of a shift, be it mental, spiritual or both.
One day I was in a boot camp class and I overheard a woman talking about attending a yoga class. She explained how she liked a certain yoga instructor’s class based on the physical practice but didn’t really get into “all that spiritual stuff.” The woman didn’t know my background as a yoga practitioner, instructor and yoga studio owner, and, as it’s my livelihood, my ears are honed for this information. It’s unbeknownst to me how her yoga classes were being instructed, but it is my opinion that if you’re bypassing the “spiritual stuff,” you’re either exercising or stretching, not doing yoga.
I’m sure someone out there may disagree, but hear me out. Spirituality lies across a broad spectrum. It includes:
- mantra, meditation, and chanting
- reading the Bible, Koran, or other sacred text
- learning from Tony Robbins how “the secret to living is giving”
- feeling your own heartbeat
- trying to be a better person
- listening to silence instead of noise
- simply watching your breath
Spirituality, as defined by dictionary.com, is “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” When you become concerned with the human spirit, life becomes more rich, more vital, more connected, more alive; and even within all it’s various styles, that is what yoga is about. And to some degree, it is a relevant theme likely occurring in every yoga class. The degree to which spirituality occurs is likely to depend on the style of yoga class you attend. If you know that you want to sit still, breathe, and forego movement, then you’ll look for meditation or pranayama (breathing) classes rather than yoga classes. These classes are called Meditate on Ignite Yoga’s schedule and can always be accessed at Ignite Yoga Virtual Studio.
If you know you want some movement in your yoga practice, keep reading to learn about the vastness of yoga asana.
Understanding yoga asana…
Asana is the Sanskrit word that most easily translates to the English word “postures.” Therefore, yoga asana always implies making shapes with your body. The yoga postures vary in their degree of difficulty from fairly easy seated postures, such as Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), to postures that require an enormous amount of strength, flexibility, and body awareness, such as Vrschikasana (Scorpion Pose). Sometimes yoga is practiced by holding the postures for a certain amount of time before moving onto the next pose. Each yoga pose is treated as its separate entity which typically allows for plenty of time to transition between the postures. This method of teaching does not have a specific name but is described by the idea of holding static postures. You’ll find a handful of yoga styles that hold static postures, such as Hatha yoga practices (but not all), as well as Yin and Restorative yoga. At Ignite Yoga, you’ll find this style of teaching in our monthly Rest class. This is 90-minutes of pure bliss! Check the events schedule for our next offering.
The most popular form of yoga practiced in the United States links yoga poses together using breath to create a more fluid practice called vinyasa yoga. It’s important to note for your search purposes that the phrase “vinyasa” is interchangeable with the word “flow.” If you see a class titled “yoga flow,” “Gentle Flow,” etc, this means that the class will move more fluidly by connecting your breath with your movement and is the same as vinyasa yoga. This style of yoga is often more dynamic because of the internal heat it can generate. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not accessible to all levels of practitioner. Vinyasa yoga can range across a spectrum of physicality from gentle (Zen) to powerful (Power), it just depends on the level of difficulty inherent in each of the instructed yoga poses included in the vinyasa practice.
The most important thing to decide before taking your first yoga class is how much you want to move in your yoga class and how difficult you want the movement to feel . Here is a list of yoga styles and phrases to include in your next “yoga near me” search.
Yoga styles and keywords that include static yoga poses
(from least to most difficult)
+ Restorative Yoga
+ Yin Yoga
+ Hatha Yoga
+ Bikram Yoga (heated)
Look for the temperature of the room…
Regardless of whether you hope to practice a more static yoga style or a vinyasa style of yoga, you must look for the critical words hot, heated, or warm. This can have a significant impact on your yoga practice, for better or worse. When you add an element of heat, it immediately increases the intensity of any yoga practice. The temperature of a hot yoga room can range from 90-108°F depending on the yoga style being taught. Yoga studios are typically very good at advertising this heat to their patrons, so if you don’t see the obvious descriptors of hot yoga, heated or warm, then you can likely expect the room to be comfortable regionally, here in Dayton, Ohio 72-78°F. Below are the most common forms of hot yoga from least to most challenging.
+ Bikram Yoga (100°F+)
+ Hot Yoga (temp varies)
+ Ashtanga Yoga (about 80-85°F)
+ Power Yoga (about 92-98°F)
You can learn more about hot yoga in The Many Faces of Hot Yoga.
Find the yoga class to meet you where you’re at.
If you search “yoga near me” in Dayton, Ohio (or any big city), you will easily discover over 50 Google search results, providing you options from yoga classes held in gyms, studios dedicated solely to yoga, to yoga in someone’s home, community center or park. The options can be overwhelming, but with the guidance above and the guidance below, you’ll likely find yourself in just the right yoga class. As you search for your first yoga class, I encourage you to consider more than just your physical ability or temperature of the room. Over the years, I’ve seen students come and go because their first yoga class was too slow, too hard, too fast, too hot, etc. You certainly want to consider your physical ability and how much movement you want to partake in, but you’ll also want to consider how your mind works, the types of spaces you feel most comfortable in, and the kind of people you like to be around.
Nowadays, most individuals have a very fast-paced mind. If you take anything fast moving and put it up against something still, you have a collision, or dissonance, if you will. Imagine asking a race car to be put in a game of bumper cars. It would be totally out of place and, if race cars had feelings, it would feel incredibly uncomfortable. Similarly, putting someone with a fast-paced mind in a Yin or Restorative Yoga class creates much dissonance. They’re often very uncomfortable because although they’re trying to physically be still, their minds simply can’t settle. Sometimes a better fit is to physically stimulate the body with a vinyasa yoga class, which then in turn moves energy through the body and allows the mind to settle. Alternatively, I’ve seen individuals that are slow moving physically and mentally, find themselves in a Power Yoga class, only to leave disappointed because the class far exceeded their comfort zone. A good rule of thumb is to assess your physical ability and your mental characteristics and find a class that meets somewhere in the middle. For most individuals at Ignite Yoga, we often recommend beginning with an Awaken1 yoga practice.
Lastly, decide on the environment and type of people you like to surround you. For instance, classes in gyms and fitness centers are convenient and inexpensive, however, oftentimes the yoga room is cool, individuals arrive late to the yoga class or leave early, and there are gym noises such as grunts and shouting that are audible during your yoga practice. In a yoga studio, you’ll find a variety of experiences depending on the studio. Some studios, such as Ignite Yoga, focus on generating community within the yoga studio, whereas others focus on maintaining peace and quiet. You’ll invest more to practice at a yoga studio, but typically the instructors are well trained, you receive personal cues to help your practice grow, and the environment is overall welcoming and supportive. If you find yourself fearful of entering a yoga class of any sort, practicing via a private session may be the way to go. This is a one-on-one session with a yoga instructor where they can curate the session to your specific needs.
Yoga is for everybody…
It bears repeating, Yoga is for everybody… but not all styles are for every body. We hope that we’ve done the brunt of the work so that when you search for your first or next yoga class you can find one that will meet your needs, your body, and your mind, so that you can fall in love with yoga the way we have. Often students tell us how practicing yoga at Ignite Yoga has changed their life, and it’s a small hope that with the help of this blog, you can find a yoga practice and/or yoga home that can change yours too.