Although yoga is practiced in gyms, churches, recreation centers, community parks, and warehouses, it primarily is practiced
in a studio, ashram or gym. Trying to figure out which type of yoga class will best suit your needs can sometimes best be determined by where you practice. As with many things in life: location, location, location. The geography of your class can make a big difference in the vibe, style and quality of the teaching you receive.
Gym yoga has its benefits and drawbacks. It becomes the most obvious choice for many people because classes at a gym are usually already included in the total cost they pay for their gym membership. This makes them cheaper than many yoga studio classes, which can be as much as $25 for one class, depending upon the city. This can also; however, lead to large classes, leaving even a highly competent yoga instructor with little availability to correct poor form or teach the alignment and more subtle sensations that are essential to a good yoga asana.
When everyone is looking for yoga on the cheap, it can often mean you get quantity but not quality. If you are already well versed in proper alignment and just want to go through the practice in a group setting, gym yoga can be great, but if you are just starting out, you will miss out on lots of important details about how to practice yoga poses and progress your practice swiftly if you never go to a proper yoga studio.
Studio yoga is meant for those who are completely dedicated to yoga practice. While people who join yoga studios are usually going to pay a higher premium for smaller classes led by well-established or highly skilled yoga practitioners, they may also participate in other forms of physical exercise. The bottom line is they see yoga as an overarching practice which informs all else that they do, so they don’t mind paying more than if they just dropped into a class every once in a while at their gyms.
The down side to studio classes is that they can be over-stuffed – due to the constraint of physical space and high commercial rents, and some are a bit ‘elitist’ in their attitudes toward yoga. A great studio will be open, both in its physical manifestation and through the attitudes of the owners and teachers. A true sangha – or community, is often established ad many people meet like minded individuals who enjoy yoga as a means to uplifting their minds, and spirits.