How to select the right yoga studio

Yoga instructor Stephanie Blazi, right, leads a deep stretch class at Yoga Yoga in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Nearly 10 percent of American adults used yoga, according to the National Institutes of Health, which describe the practice as “a meditative movement practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy.”

In fact, many consider yoga not only a healthy substitute for the alternative styles of working out, and that within yoga, there are a variety of styles geared toward anyone willing to try.

From everything from goat yoga to brew yoga, private to group sessions, there’s a type of yoga out there for everyone, according to SCV experts in the field. And there are a number of studios that cater to each preference and/or choice of yoga workout.

The reason for the range in preferences is because, unlike a number of other workout styles, when practiced correctly, as Hot for Yoga instructor J.C. Gray would say, there is “no such thing as ‘bad’ forms of yoga.”

“I’ve been practicing (yoga) for 16 years and taught everyone from those the blind, deaf, semi-paralyzed, elderly people, young kids and professional athletes,” said Gray. “It doesn’t matter, (because) virtually everyone — literally every body — can benefit from yoga.”

So, if you’re in Santa Clarita and looking for the best yoga style or group perfect for you, the local experts say the following factors are what you should keep in mind for when finding the right place for you:

Facilitator J.C. Gray, left, leads a class at Hot For Yoga in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Who is yoga right for?

“Everyone,” according to Gray. “Everyone from 7-years-old to 77-years-old should be doing yoga. It’s a therapeutic practice that benefits everyone in terms of how the practice can work to decompress the body.”

While some exercise routines, such as extensive running and lifting weights can be harmful to young children and senior adults, yoga is a malleable practice, according to Gray, and is something that can be picked up at any point in an individual’s life.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, but the younger you start yoga, the more supple a person is and the more able they are to maintain to maintain the operating systems of their body.”

Doing yoga at a young age, a number of ailments people are dealing with as adults would not exist in terms of their health.

“Yoga isn’t just about being flexible and isn’t just about stretching. Yoga can translate into strengthening everything from your muscles, to tendons to cartilage of the body. And as you age, you’ll be able to maintain that same vitality and energy.”

Gray, who says he has taught yoga across the world over close to the last two decades, says that the type of yoga someone does should align not with their preconceptions, but what “resonates” with them when they sit down and speak with an instructor for the first time.

“As long as (the style of yoga) a person choses is done in the proper way, proper form and does not go beyond their means.”

For more information about J.C. Gray’s studio, Hot for Yoga, visit hotforyogascv.com.

Yoga instructor Stephanie Blazi, right, has students use a strap as they do an exercise to stretch hamstring, leg, ankle and feet muscles during a deep stretch class at Yoga Yoga in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

What type of yoga is right for you?

Finding out where you are at as a practitioner of yoga is something that everyone has anxiety about, according to Danica Lynch owner of Yoga Yoga studio in Newhall. But, that shouldn’t discourage people from going in and speaking with an instructor.

“Normally, I like to have a conversation with someone when they first come in,” said Lynch. “And something I’m always aware of — I’ve even had friends come in who tell me this — that there is an anxiety about being in a group setting. Or when it comes to your skill level in terms of yoga.”

However, yoga instructors will generally always ask someone one basic question.

“I always ask the question, ‘Have you ever done yoga before?’” Lynch said.

Based on your answer to this question, you can be put into a number of classes, Lynch said, and each one is sensitive to your skill level and what you’re looking for out of yoga.

“For instance, here at Yoga Yoga, we have a 16 different instructors on staff, and they’re all teaching a variety of classes and styles of yoga,” said Lynch. “Basically, you’re placed in a class where it’s geared toward what the student is looking for.”

From the most beginner level of “Gentle” to a more advanced “Deep Stretch” and “Vinyasa Flow” places such as Yoga Yoga offer a variety of classes that are available for everyone seeking different skill levels in their classes.

“When you’re looking for the right class for you, wherever you go, you need to know that yoga is not about hitting the pose or about forcing yourself,” said Lynch. “It’s about finding a class that helps you calm your mind and connect with your body and breathing.”

For more information about Danica Lynch’s studio, Yoga Yoga, visit their website at www.yogayogaonline.com

The lobby of Hot For Yoga in Newhall . Dan Watson/The Signal

Where do you find the right yoga class?

As Amanda Kimble, the owner of VIlla Vibes Yoga, will tell you, there are a multitude of opportunities for people to join a group yoga class or participate in a private yoga session of any variety here in Santa Clarita.

“The private yoga sessions can help address the specific needs of an individual as well as accommodate for their physical ability better,” said Kimble. “And the group or ‘pop-up’ sessions allow for you to make a connection with people and get different experiences.”

For instance, while the private yoga sessions may be more specialized, group sessions can offer you the opportunity to perform yoga at a brewery, or with a band or DJ, or even in a garden or relaxing public space.

“Whatever yoga is to you… It’s really about feeling better mentally, melding the mental and physical strength, and going beyond the workout,” Kimble said.

The most important thing, for wherever or how you do your yoga, according to Kimble, is to remember a central tenant taught in yoga studios across Santa Clarita.

“Yoga isn’t perfection,” said Kimble. “It’s a practice.”

For more information about Villa Vibes Yoga’s various pop-ups, private sessions and community events, visit their website at https://www.villavibesyoga.com/

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