How do you choose a new class to try? While I used to go off word-of-mouth, in the age of social media, things have changed. When I had a ClassPass membership, I took a lot of new classes based on location and availability. But I have also taken six workshops purely based on the fact that they were being taught by someone I follow on Instagram.
I have written about the classes I took with Beach Yoga Girl (Kerri Verna) and Laura Sykora. The above photo was taken at a class given by Kino MacGregor. I have also taken a class led by Rodney Yee at the studio he owns with his wife – Yoga Shanti. That class is the perfect example of what is wrong with how these all work. I LOVE Yoga Shanti. It is where I would like to one day take my teacher training courses. It is intimate and welcoming – both the physical space and the teachers and staff. They have locations in NYC and the Hamptons and it manages to be welcoming and aspirational at the same time. But then I took a class with Rodney. He is famous in the world of yoga, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. But the juxtaposition of what a normal class is like there – intimate, encouraging – as opposed to what it was like when he taught – tight and impersonal – was jarring.
The classes I took with Kino MacGregor were the most crowded. They were also the best of the lot. She had five workshops offered over a three-day span. I took two – one that broke down Sun Salutations making us concentrate on each and every movement rather than cycle through them mindlessly. The second was an Ashtanga class that proved just how demanding yoga can really be. The postures themselves were somewhat accessible – I was able to achieve the full expression of the first two-thirds. But we had to cycle through Chatarunga between each… And my weak arms and abs eventually exposed themselves. In a room packed with 100 people with one inch between us… In a room with three teachers trying to supervise the madness… I felt myself mentally disengaging, waiting for the madness to end.
The truth is, I never get as much from these workshops as I do from a regular, old yoga class. No matter the studio, no matter the teacher. Being in a room full of people with their phones constantly out, thinking more about which hashtag and filter to use than their alignment isn’t what I want from my yoga practice. Remembering that these are an experience, rather than a replacement for one of my regular yoga classes would serve me well. Except for when Kino comes to town. That woman is amazing and I had a hard time walking for a week after her Ashtanga class.