3 tips for choosing a yoga studio
You’ve read all about the benefits of yoga and you’re ready to give it a go. Now comes the difficult part: choosing a studio for your yoga practice. With so many yoga studios popping up, you’re spoilt for choice. Here are 3 tips to help you decide which yoga studio is right for you:
1. Look at the classes and styles of yoga offered.
Bikram yoga. Hatha yoga. Zen yoga. Power yoga. Those are just a few of the different styles of yoga offered in yoga studios. If you are completely new to yoga, chances are you may not know which yoga style is for you.
Take a look at the class schedule and see what classes and styles of yoga are offered. If you are keen to experience a buffet of yoga styles, choose a yoga studio that offers the styles you’re interested to try.
You should also note the class timings, and whether they fit into your current schedule. For those with after-work commitments, weeknight classes may not be as important to you as weekend classes. Make sure the studio you choose offers enough classes during the times most convenient for you.
Some successful studios may have more than one branch, which can up the convenience factor for you. More branches may mean more classes and class timings to choose from, or even a shorter commute from your home or office.
2. Read reviews on the yoga studios
If you’ve already got your eye on a handful of studios, the next step would be finding out if they are any good. You can Google for reviews, find them on Yelp or check out their Facebook page to see what their customers think of them.
Things that you can look out for include how long the studio has been around, whether there are any complaints on classes being too crowded, feedback on the sales tactics (if any) or comments on the facilities.
A glut of negative reviews is a clear danger sign that perhaps you’ll be better off considering other options.
3. Take a trial yoga class at the studio, if possible
Some yoga studios offer new students a trial class, so take advantage of this! Even if they don’t offer trial classes, it is still worth it to take a single class before committing to an expensive package of yoga classes. After checking out reviews, it’s good to see for yourself what the yoga practice at the studio is like. Nothing beats first-hand experience!
Take a look at their facilities, speak to the staff at the reception, or even other students, check out the vibe of the studio and class. Speak to the teacher after class and get advice. Taking a trial class lets you know if you will feel comfortable and motivated practicing yoga at that studio.
After doing all the above, you should be ready to embark on your yoga journey! And while most students tend to remain loyal to their studio, as you immerse yourself in your yoga practice, you may find your needs changing.
If you find yourself not feeling comfortable or motivated in your current studio, don’t be afraid to seek out new studios to practise in. Sometimes a different viewpoint from a new teacher may be all you need to further your yoga experience.
How to meet people when travelling solo
If you’re travelling solo, chances are you’re doing it by choice because you enjoy it. But no man’s an island, and half the fun of exploring the world is meeting different people, chatting with them and finding out about their life experiences.
How do you do that when you’re travelling solo, especially if you’re shy? Here are some tips:
1) Consider staying in a hostel
If you’re above a certain age (say 25), staying in a hostel may not be your idea of fun. However, if you’re travelling solo, a hostel may not only be a great way to meet people but also economical. These days, travellers of all ages use hostel accomodations during their trips. If the thought of dorm rooms, make you shudder, most hostels also offer private rooms at reasonable rates.
The key is finding the right hostel for you. Reading reviews will be useful in finding out more about the vibe of the hostel, the facilities provided and any activities they offer. Often, smaller independent hostels are a great choice because they provide a more intimate homely atmosphere compared to bigger hostels.
Hostels are a fantastic way to meet other travellers, and share travel stories.
2) If a hostel is not for you, try Airbnb
Airbnb is another great way to meet people, particularly locals. Often your Airbnb host is a local who will be able to share with you insider info on the best cheap eats, that little-known cool bar everyone hangs out in or the place to get the best shopping deals.
Some Airbnb hosts go beyond their duties and may invite you to dinner or drinks, or introduce you to their friends.
3) Just smile or say “hi”
People are never as scary as they seem, and whether you meet people on your travels will depend on you. Breaking the ice is the toughest, but once the ice is broken, you’re golden. If the other person is an extrovert, they may do the work for you. Sometimes all it takes is a smile, or a “hi” or “how are you?” or just a random observation, and that can get a conversation going.
So the next time you’re alone having lunch or passing by someone in the hostel hallway, just smile and say “hi” to people.
If you see someone else by themselves too, you can try “approaching” them. It’s easier to speak to other solo travellers instead of trying to “get into” an established group. And often other solo travellers will be happy for the company too!
4) Do some guided tours/activities
There’s nothing like doing an activity to bond strangers together. Maybe you’re interested in a bicycle tour. Or maybe that ghost tour of the city is on your to-do list. Whatever it is, breaking up your solo travel itinerary with some guided tours or activities can be a good way to meet new people.
Sharing an experience helps break the ice, especially if you’re shy when it comes to meeting new people. If the activity is physical and involves teamwork in some capacity, even better! The “forced interaction” makes it easier to speak to people, and offering help to someone who needs it is an excellent way to make a new friend.
5) Remember that no one knows you in this new place
Maybe in your normal life, you’re more reserved and quiet and find it extremely awkward to talk to strangers. Think of your travels as a way to get out of your comfort zone. Tell yourself that no one knows you, so you can be “out of character” (ie extroverted and talk to people!) and no one will care! Worst case, you embarrass yourself a little bit but better to try than not try. And when in doubt, go back to Tip #2 and just smile and say “hi”.
Travelling solo doesn’t mean being alone all the time, and interacting and getting to know people from different backgrounds with different life stories can be just as enriching as exploring a new country. So on your next solo trip, try the above tips and meet new people!