What Do You Look For in a Yoga Studio?

Via Alden Wicker
on Dec 29, 2010
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I used the last class on my yoga studio card late last week. When the girl asked me if I wanted to renew, I sadly told her, “No, I’m moving to Brooklyn.”

My studio on the Upper West Side, a mere six blocks from me, is awesome. I love doing a back bend and gazing at the fairy lights glowing through the fogged up window. The very sight of the paper lanterns softly casting pink light on the plaster ceiling makes me feel grateful for the opportunity to practice. I can say namaste with all sincerity after a challenging practice from the former dancer Amanda, the dimpled and endlessly detailed Danielle, and the exacting April.

A year and a half ago I was sitting in my first class going “Oh my God, what is this chanting? Is this a cult?” Now I feel the vibration from 20 voices collide with my om and smile to myself. It helps that each class is accompanied by smell of fresh baked bread from the bakery below.

More practically, it’s got two studios which means I can pop in for a class at hour intervals. This place is it.

I’m giving Life in Motion – that’s the name of it – a glowing review here, but honestly, I have no idea what a good studio really is. I’m fortunate enough to be very happy with one ten blocks away from me. But now that I’m moving to a neighborhood called Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, I’m a bit lost. Before that I practiced above my University’s basketball court. I am a yoga baby.

Here is my question to you, dear Ele readers: What do you look for in a studio?

What kind of questions should I ask? Are there red flags that I should watch out for when I take a first class? Are there deal breakers? On the flip side, is there something that makes you say to yourself, “This place is it!” And what’s a reasonable rate for a class or a ten-class card? How far would you go for the perfect studio?

Hopefully, with your help, I can pick out the perfect studio to help me down my yoga path to awesome inversions and ego-less living.



About Alden Wicker

Alden Wicker is a freelance journalist and founder of EcoCult.com, a blog about all things sustainable in New York City and beyond. She also writes about electronic music, personal finance, and yoga for publications such as Well + Good, Refinery29, LearnVest, Huffington Post and Narratively.


9 Responses to “What Do You Look For in a Yoga Studio?”

  1. Masterman says:

    It hurts to lose your yoga home and yoga teachers. I've never asked questions although I have researched yoga studios via their websites. A professional website says a thousand words. I frequently take classes in different cities while I'm travelling and would go back to many of these same studios. However, I would never jump into a class pass without first "testing" a few of the teachers to make sure it feels welcoming, to make sure the teacher seems knowledgeable. Above all, trust your knowledge – trust your inner voice. If it doesn't feel right, trust yourself!

  2. Yogini33# says:

    Read non-filtered reviews on yelp.com. Really, the reviewers are mostly young and/or mostly non-affluent and 100% fussy. There may be some frivolous reviews, but mostly they see through a lot of the hype and b.s. and look for value in a studio (YES … these are commercial enterprises). What could a testimonial on a web site tell you but that the love affair with a studio is in its infatuation stage and/or partial rebounding from a soured "relationship" with another studio. I should know. I've written BOTH!

    And then do a field test … you might be surprised what you find. You sound as if you know what you are looking for, anyway …

    I also find I can learn from the worst and could have mishaps with the best, if that tells you anything. Then again, I use a yoga studio to supplement, not supplant–and not necessarily to complement–my home practice.

  3. daniella m says:

    Hey Alden

    Welcome to the neighborhood!! I’m a yoga instructor and I live by ditmas park as well. I also used to live in the city. I understand your predicament. Its very hard!

    I give very affordable private or semi private yoga lessons. Maybe that could be an option for you. Otherwise I would love to meet you help you find a studio and help you settle in!

    I’m not sure if you can see my email but you can find me on twitter @daniellamata and well get in contact from there. Or let me know how I can email you.

    Wishing you peace love and blessings in the new year.


  4. AMO says:

    DON'T go private. It's not what touched your spirit in your studio. Go find a studio that touches you. That doesn't mean the same way, when I move I try not to get attached to my vision because it's usually based on what I'm leaving behind. Lots of different teachers is one thing I look for. The more teachers, the more styles the better. I actually enjoy moving around, having a card at more than one studio, at least for a while. It gives me a broader understanding of yoga. A clean well lighted place to do real yoga is a wonderful thing to find, and I wish you fortune and joy in the search…

  5. Nancy A says:

    Hey Alden… I think finding a studio where you feel comfortable and can find a community is most important. I go to and teach at several studios and while there aren't really advanced classes that I need, they are wonderful places to be. I feel like students can do yoga at home or while watching a video if they just want the asanas. Coming to a class is for connecting with others and getting some guidance on your asanas.

    So I say, try the studios that are close… check out who goes there and what the teachers are like. Do you like the energy? Do you like the style of classes? Is it a clean place? Do they offer classes at the times you need them? Can you do a work/yoga exchange (good for cheaper classes).

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  6. Rando says:

    I look for comfy chairs, a well-stocked bar and a big screen TV. oddly, I never see one with these attributes.

  7. indrapendence says:

    Looking for a new yoga home is like finding someone to have a long term relationship with You need to find the one that you click with.

    I have found the descriptions on Yoga Sleuth to be very helpful and accurate. http://www.yogacitynyc.com/yoga_sleuth.php

    While not as extensive in their coverage yet, Well + Good NYC has some solid, unbiased reviews too: http://wellandgoodnyc.com/

  8. Lyndi says:

    There is a new yoga studio opening down the road. Went over there yesterday to check out their space. The doors were locked during non-class hours yet every question I had was beautifully displayed on a poster on the window. Pricing, times, instructors, website, what I should bring. The inside was beautiful, designed with both the convince of student and instructor. The promotion they have going on is $20 for 20 classes for all new students. (has to be used within 45 days) is more than enticing, I can't wait to try out 20 classes.

  9. Michele says:

    I love trying a new studio when I am in a new place and am always open to a New experience.
    As for a Yoga teacher, I try to find one who inspires me to find my personal Yoga path.