In the US alone, more than 15 million people practice yoga, and this number is thought to be growing by around 20% each year. Of course yoga is far more than just an exercise routine: it’s a set of lifestyle changes aimed at improving mind and body condition, and includes multiple philosophies.
While it’s possible to do yoga pretty much anywhere on your own, it’s far more rewarding to join a group and enjoy your yoga with others. Especially during the early stages of your yoga, having an instructor on hand will help you to develop better form and avoid injury, as well as helping to increase your versatility and range.
These days, most towns have more than one yoga group, and choosing between them can be quite hard. Teachers tend to fall into different schools depending on their own preferences about what is important in their yoga. Followers of more traditional forms of yoga may include more of the spiritual elements of the discipline into their classes, while modern dynamic styles may eschew this spirituality and focus almost entirely on the fitness elements of the yoga.
Attending a yoga school long term will benefit you, because your teacher will get to know your capabilities, and work with you to achieve your goals, however if the style and philosophy of the teacher aren’t the same as yours, then your sessions won’t be balanced with your own aspirations, and you won’t get as much out of it as perhaps you hoped.
There are always practical elements to choosing a yoga school – sometimes as mundane as the night when classes are offered, or the proximity of the school to your home, however if you really want to get the most out of it, it’s worth speaking to the different teachers in your area about what they focus on with their training. Think about what you want yoga to give you, and tell the teachers, and they will tell you whether their school is for you, and be able to point you in the right direction if it isn’t.