Deciding: “I want to look for yoga classes near me” is step one. Finding the best yoga course for your needs is the next step in the sequence. But how and where do you start?
With so many adverts in the paper, posters in supermarkets, suggestions on Facebook and, of course, listings on phone directories for personal yoga trainers or group classes, it can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
About half of the UK population is physically active, and of those, more and more are turning to yoga, hence why the fitness regime is becoming so popular.
We refer to it as a regime, because yoga is actually an activity situated between physical exercise and personal growth. It is a discipline, an outlook, a way of life.
But how to choose the right yoga teacher? Keeping the above in mind, it is really important to find a tutor who is in tune with you and your aura or soul, as the idea of yoga is to get in touch with your spiritual side.
As such, you may have many criteria to take into consideration if you want to start on your spiritual journey right.
The first step when looking for beginner yoga classes is to choose the right yoga course for you.
There are several types of yoga that offer very different benefits, so be sure to think about your aims and objectives when starting to practise yoga. You’ll find some tips and suggestions below to get you started.
Not everybody wants to start yoga for the same reasons. Though some do it to learn to relax and de-stress, others see it as a way of doing sports and improve their health and physical fitness. Both aspects are part of the benefits of yoga practised on a regular basis, which means that the clientele is very varied and broad.
So you first have to determine your personal needs.
Different people choose to practise yoga for different reasons. It is important to find a yoga style that suits your needs. (Photo credit: United Nations Photo via VisualHunt)
A quick Google search of Yoga classes near me will give you an idea of what is available in your local area.
A lot of people want a gentle introduction to yoga. In this case, Hatha Yoga is the best bet. It initiates you to the basics of yoga without being too strenuous.
Others will find a new way of de-stressing with Vishranta Yoga’s different relaxing postures.
Pregnant women will want to try out Prenatal Yoga to learn proper breathing techniques. It also helps relax your muscles and improve your flexibility. Remember, if you haven’t practised yoga before falling pregnant then you should always join a class rather than trying to do moves, poses and stretches on your own at home as your body won’t be used to it.
Others prefer to practise yoga for the exercise. Once you get to a certain level, the benefits of yoga are the same as for football or fitness. It can also help you lose weight and stay fit.
Vinyasa Yoga is good for exercise junkies. It is based on Ashtanga yoga, the loftiest and complicated form of yoga. It is not recommended as a beginner yoga course.
For those wishing to learn meditation techniques, Kripalu Yoga is perfect. It uses breathing exercises to teach you to live in the present moment.
But beyond the choice of what type of yoga, you also need to ask yourself: how do you want to learn yoga?
Do you want to try a yoga institute or yoga studio, or go for private lessons instead? Each has its own advantages.
While yoga studios and institutes are ideal for meeting other people passionate about yoga, private lessons are more flexible and easier to adapt to your timetable – and often cost less. Some people feel daunted by the idea of a one-to-one yoga class because all of the attention is on them, but it can be so much more beneficial to have the tutor’s undivided attention. That doesn’t mean to say that you won’t get any help during a group session, you may just have to listen more and observe what others are doing right or wrong.
If you lead a very active life, why not choose the hours of your yoga lessons yourself by arranging them with your private tutor? Yoga is supposed to bring a sense of calm and inner peace into your life, so why should you be rushing around trying to make the start of a class if it isn’t particularly convenient a time or a place? You don’t want to enter the studio feeling tired, overwhelmed or stressed before you have even begun! With private lessons, you can choose what is the best time for you to stretch and relax, which means that you can bring it seamlessly into your lifestyle as opposed to fitting your life around the class.
What’s more, you won’t be constrained by the usual ‘after work’ hours that are so often offered – and won’t abandon yoga simply because you don’t have the time or don’t feel up to after a long day at work.
There are more, of course, but here are some of the main types of yoga and their main highlights.
|Hatha||Basic, gentle, for beginners|
|Prenatal||For healthy pregnancy|
|Vinyasa||Advanced, more complicated, more strenuous|
It can happen that you don’t get along with a yoga instructor or are disappointed in him or her. Perhaps you don’t feel as comfortable as you’d like in their company (and remember that the coach will sometimes be required to touch your body to help you to achieve the right poses, as well as help to manipulate your body during stretches, warm-ups or your cool-down), or maybe you don’t agree with the fact that your fitness instructor smells of tobacco when they enter your class?
This needn’t mean that this person is a bad teacher, but simply that he or she doesn’t quite synch with your needs and desires. This is nothing to worry about. You are paying for their expertise so you should feel 100% happy with what and who you are getting in return. As with most things, unless you have good inspiration and guidance, you’re unlikely to keep at it.
This is why it is important to take the time to choose your yoga teacher.
There are several criteria to take into consideration when choosing. Your yoga instructor should possess certain qualities:
But how can you know all this if you have never met the teacher?
Furthermore, if your yoga teacher is really passionate about the discipline, they may go on training or spiritual journies in countries where yoga has a rich history and is a part of their culture. This means that they can bring back valuable new lessons to invigorate their classes and students more, or they can arrange for your group to set out on a trip together to reap the benefits.
Some of your friends might have heard of a good yoga teacher. This is one of the best ways of choosing a yoga teacher because someone likeminded has experienced their tuition and been satisfied with it.
If not, the Internet can help you there as well, with students, customers, and clients leaving feedback for their yoga instructor.
Have you heard about that excellent yoga teacher? Listen to yoga-practising friends to find the perfect yogi for you.
Photo via VisualHunt.com
There are specialised forums for this sort of thing. You can simply post a thread asking for advice on ‘yoga classes near me’ and wait for the Internet to respond. Particularly in close-knit communities like villages or small towns, people want to help each other. Facebook is especially good for this too as you can now use the recommendations options to ask for your friends’ advice, or you can simply post that you are looking for a tutor and see if any of your friends on there can suggest individuals for you to contact. Moreover, local Facebook groups like ‘Mummy groups’, for instance, are designed to help each other out with queries just like this and share one another’s experiences.
Finding the right yoga instructor is essential to your progression.
Remember that here at Superprof, students are encouraged to post comments on their instructor’s profiles. Looking them over is one way to get a better idea of the person and reassure yourself. And, most importantly, to see if their teaching style suits you.
Another solution is to interview the yoga tutor before committing yourself. You might want to ask him about his training and how long he has been teaching.
In the UK, there is no state-recognised or official qualification to become a yoga teacher. Some institutes, such as the British Wheel of Yoga, are well-known and respected. Some yoga teachers have even studied in India. This can help reassure you as to the quality of teaching. The act of travelling abroad to learn about their passion is also an indication of how strongly they feel about the discipline and how effectively they will be able to teach it to others.
Some yoga instructors have studied in India, the cradle of yoga. Photo credit: Klavins | Artmif.lv via Visual hunt
Though word-of-mouth works very well, it’s sometimes useful to fall back on other resources.
The good old classified ads might be the right solution for you. But in this age of technology, many sites offer to pair students with teachers. Superprof, for example, lets you see the yoga teachers’ profiles before contacting them.
Superprof does not take a commission off the prices asked by the tutors. However, prospective students are asked to pay a one-time contribution to contact one of the teachers on our site. Once this fee is paid, students have one month to contact any or all of the tutors on the platform.
But what do the teachers’ prices mean?
They are, quite simply, the price of a yoga lesson with that particular yoga teacher. They are based on certain criteria such as:
The criteria vary somewhat depending on the yogi’s status (student, professional yoga instructor, retired). If they are teaching yoga only as a hobby, they won’t have the same financial needs as if they need to earn their bread with it. But whatever their motivation, a wish to share their passion remains an essential criterion.
Students regularly comment on the site, giving their opinion based on their own personal experience – to help future students orient themselves in the sea of available tutors.
But whether at an Institute or a yoga studio, yoga London or Birmingham, prices can vary greatly. Indeed, prices can also change depending on the yoga professor’s geographical location.
But why not take advantage of London’s more advantageous fees in the country?
Some yoga tutors offer online yoga classes via webcam. This allows students to save and yoga teachers to increase their student base. An ideal solution for both parties.
But an on-site professor has its own advantages. To benefit from this while still saving, you can take advantage of some of the yoga instructors’ special offers: the first hour for free, or a 10-lesson discount card.
If you are looking to learn yoga at a yoga studio, remember to factor in inscription costs or administrative fees. Any intermediary between teacher and students also raises the price.
Yoga is a very ancient practice that originated in India about five millennia ago. It aims to help people harmonize mind and body. Thanks to the various exercises, the body learns to relax.
Stretching, balance, muscle tone, deep breaths, positive thinking, relaxation – you will find all of this in a Hatha Yoga class (or, indeed, any other yoga style.)
The benefits of yoga for physical and mental health have been well-known for a long time.
Among other things, yoga will help you:
Whether through acrobatic yoga poses or breathing exercises on the yoga mat, yoga instructors help students develop their mindfulness over the course of their lessons.
And yoga cannot be learned in a day.
Many yoga sessions will be necessary to truly appreciate its benefits.
In any case, most yoga classes, whatever the type of yoga you choose, unfold as follows:
First, you will need to relax. You will have to learn to forget the day’s troubles and focus your mind on the here-and-now. This meditation is invaluable for the rest of the yoga session and will make your lesson more effective.
Meditation is an important aspect of yoga lessons. It’s a time to re-connect with yourself and free your mind. The goal is to concentrate on the present moment. This technique can also be applied to fight stress in everyday life.
Then, progressively more complicated yoga poses help tone the body. Amateurs of professional-level sports will get their fill: certain types of yoga offer exercises that are very difficult for beginner yoga students.
Some asanas are physically challenging and require a lot of practice. Photo credit: TinyTall via Visualhunt
To return to a state of calmness, the yogi will also propose breathing exercises. This is an important aspect of yoga.
Breathing plays an important role in physical and mental health. It controls the input of oxygen and energy into the body. You will need to learn to control it in a certain way.
Finally, your yoga class will end with a final relaxation exercise to bring you back into everyday life. A good chance to relish the last minutes of this de-stressing session.
It would be absolutely impossible to list all of the yoga courses out there, so here’s just a snippet of classes and workshops that take place in different regions across the country. The list includes various types of yoga and contains a mix of small and larger groups.
See for yourself just how much is on offer – and if the below don’t work for you then try to look around for better options taking into account what you now know is available!
This company, founded by Matt Ryan, offers 45-minute dynamic yoga classes for people on the move, from beginners to advanced yogis. Located in the city centre, Yoga Express offers a workout designed to build strength and flexibility, providing the benefits of a 90-minute class but in half the time. All of the classes are drop-in, so no need to book up weeks in advance. Also, yoga mats are provided. You can find one of these classes, which are scheduled at various times from Monday to Saturday, on Church Street and you can expect to pay £6.oo a class.
This is one big yoga business, with all of the following taking place on just a Tuesday alone! If you live in the Birmingham area, you are sure to find a class at the perfect time for you, and what’s more is you have the choice of all of these different styles of yoga.
45 mins – HOT SHOTS with Anita 12:30pm to 1:15pm
60 mins -HOT YOGA with Raman 5:00pm to 6:00pm
90 mins – ASHTANGA with Dave 6:15pm to 7:45pm
90 mins – DHARMA with Ambra 6:15pm to 7:45pm
60 mins – HOT YOGA with Raman 8:00pm to 9:00pm
60 mins – FORREST with Ambra 8:00pm to 9:00pm
Southampton Yoga Classes
Meeta teaches classic Yoga classes in two different locations in the city on Tuesday evenings, Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Classes are an hour long and cost £9.00 a session, or you can get a saving of £10 if you pay in bulk for 10 classes.
Not only can you sign up to one of these classes, the company also offers yoga workshops and retreats for those who are really passionate about yoga. You can find out more on their website.
Merchant City Yoga
This fitness establishment offers a wide range of yoga classes designed for all levels and all interests.
On a Thursday, for instance, you can choose from the following sessions:
6:00am – 8:00am, Ashtanga Yoga
12:40pm – 1:20pm, Yoga Basics
6:00pm – 7:15pm, Ashtanga Yoga
6:00pm – 7:15pm, Yoga for Men (Beginners welcome)
7:30pm – 8:45pm, Forrest Yoga Level 1/2
Bikram’s Beginners’ 90-minute class is suitable for all ages, and all levels of fitness and flexibility. The postures are the same in the 1 hour and 90 min classes, but the 90 min class has a slightly slower pace so will be easier to follow for your very first time. You need to try more than one class to truly appreciate what this yoga can do for you.
The company offers a 30-Day Intro Package, along with details on their website concerning their schedule, yoga etiquette, FAQs and things to bring with you to a class.
Forrest Yoga is an inspiring, grounding and deeply healing yoga practice which makes it perfect for those recovering from specific injuries. Guided by the breath, the intelligent sequencing offered by the tutor will build your flexibility and strength while relieving tension.
Forrest Yoga is taught at a temperature between 25-30 degrees and has a strong focus on core strength. Expect to work with unique postures, breathe deep, hold the poses for that little bit longer, release stress and truly connect to yourself with compassion and interest. Classes take place every day of the week except Monday, as you’ll see below.