Gym Yoga vs. Studio Yoga: What’s the Difference?

yoga classes at the gym

So, you’ve decided to give it a try: you’re finally going to sign up for a yoga class. Maybe you’ve heard all about the amazing wellness benefits or you’d like to give your mental health a boost with this meditation part of yoga. Maybe you’re just stressed AF and need an hour’s escape every once in awhile. Whatever your reason, we’re glad you’re making it to your mat! If yoga ends up being your thing, it’s a physical activity you can keep practicing for the rest of your life.

But just where should you start? Your gym offers yoga classes to members, but your chilled-out friend has been trying to get you to go with her to a hot yoga studio. So what do you do? Gym yoga or studio yoga? Well, it’s really all up to you, but here are some of the major difference between the two that might help you decide:

 

Costs

At the Gym

Generally, yoga at the gym is going to be cheaper, especially if you already have a membership. Some gyms will offer classes in with certain membership options while others may charge you extra for classes. Either way, you’re still typically paying a smaller per-class fee for any class you go to.

At a Studio

Since most yoga studios are independently owned and the teachers are making a percentage of class attendance rather than a set salary, you’re most likely going to pay more per class at a yoga studio. Classes can run anywhere from $12 to $25 per class, depending on attendance, length, and class type. Most studios will offer packages for a cheaper per-class rate and many have the freedom that gyms don’t to do less expensive karma yoga classes or free trials for new students.

 

Class Variety

At the Gym

While gyms tend to have more class times available, they don’t always have the variety of yoga styles a studio may be able to offer. Typically, gym yoga classes are identified by levels (Level 1, 2, or 3) and will focus much more on the physical flow and postures with very little (if any) mention of the other aspects of yoga.

At a Studio

Once you learn different styles of yoga, you’ll learn that there’s a studio for just about each type and some that offer a variety. Vinyasa-focused studios, for example, may have a mixture of Hatha and Ashtanga classes and may even provide slower yin-based yoga classes. Bikram studios, however, like other more specific yoga styles will only offer their strict, hot yoga-style classes.

 

The Teachers

At the Gym

At the gym is where you’re going to see your asana-focused teachers. Additionally, since it can be hard to start off in a yoga studio for new teachers, you’re likely to run into less experienced teachers. This isn’t to say they aren’t fully qualified, as gyms will have vested interest in making sure all of their instructors are fully licensed and capable.

At a Studio

At reputable studios, you’re likely to find instructors who tend to have a bit more experience. Since a studio staying open depends on the quality of its teachers, studios are more likely to have teachers who’ve been at it a while and have had time to build up a larger student base. This means teachers at yoga studios are also more likely to spend time deepening their knowledge of yoga with more advanced teacher training.

 

Atmosphere

At the Gym

When you’re in a yoga class at the gym, you’re very aware that you’re at a yoga class at the gym. You’ll have mirrors, fluorescent lights, and maybe even equipment from other classes in the room. Yoga classes at the gym are also much more focused on getting a good workout, so you’ll miss out on the spiritual aspects of yoga and may experience more than one classmate skipping out on savasana or keeping their phone next to their mat all class. But, hey, if that doesn’t bother you, go for it! It’s a great workout!

At a Studio

Studios are designed to give you the full yoga experience. Even if you’re just dipping your toes into yoga, the studio owner and teachers live theirs all day every day and are hoping to help you get to that level. So, typically, you’ll have dim lighting, drapery, soft colors, and candles and incense burning setting the scene for your studio yoga class.

 

Of course, the most important thing about your yoga class, whether it takes place in a gym or a studio, is that it’s one (or more than one!) that you’re excited about going to, one you’ll commit to sticking with. So go ahead and take advantage of those new member discounts and passes at studios and gyms to find just the right yoga for you.

 

HealingRadius is here to help you start your yoga journey! Find and sign up for yoga classes, studios, and instructors near you with our website or app!

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