So you've heard the buzz, and decided to drop into the world of Kombucha teas, rock gardens and raw vegans. Now what?

From the needs analysis of your current posture, breath, and stress levels, choosing the right yoga studio can be a little confusing.

Don't worry! Today, we'll go over the stretch points for your first ever yoga experience.

With the push of yoga and its benefits over the last 5 years,  new studios have been rising up on every corner. You've seen the signs for a “FREE CLASS” or “Beginners Welcome” but how do you know which studio is best for you? When choosing, one has to truly weigh the options if you are seeking to lose weight. If you want the best teachers, then you have to do some research. Bend down and read on for what to consider when coosing the best yoga studio for you.

Below are the top 5 ways we'll get you motivated to join a new studio, and along the way, save you from accidentally having to sit on a dirty pillow and breath like a lion, while the guy next to you who smells like lentils tries to hold your hand in shavasana.

1. What do you want from your body?

If you are truly seeking weight loss, your best bet is to find a local studio that offers an eclectic selection. With your best interest first, be selfish, and focus on what you are trying to accomplish with your body, rather than how you might be perceived. Narrow down your true “want” and pick a studio and class schedule that align with that. Don't worry about taking a C1 when all your friends do C2; everyone who mastered something was once a beginner like you. Make sure your new studio has frequent nutritional workshops, varied intensity classes for scaling difficulty, teacher biographies on-line so you can gel with a leader you trust, and an open mind to your specific goals. If you try to explain what you want to the person across the counter and they look at you like you are a coconut, keep searching.

2. What is your vibe?

There are agressive studios and there are pillow puffs. Make sure you are open to embrace change and move outside your comfort zone, but don't be caught up in being accepted by the current culture at the studio. If you need a  more strict flow, try finding out the teacher who makes you hold postures longer. Bikram yoga runs for exactly 90 minutes, and consists of a set series of 26 postures if you want to step up your heat.  If you feel like you want to ease into yoga with more of an feminine energy, try taking a non-heated entry level class to make you relax. In most studios, they be sure to have a fantastic beginner class. If they don't, I'd run. Above all else, if you get a bad vibe from the space, or you aren't feeling like you're happy to be there, don't fight it and move on.

3. How hot is too hot?

If you get cranky when it's sunny out, you might not want to start with hot yoga. Know yourself, and decide exactly how hot you are comfortable with before you go to class. All you need is to have one bad experience, and it'll be locked in your sense memeory for quite some time.  Most hot yoga studios will keep the temperature around 95-100 degrees F with Bikram at or above 105 degrees F. In a typical hot yoga class, you will gain extended range of motion, detoxification, and lung capacity expansion if you are focused on breath and not distracted by too much heat.

4. Community or commune?

Does you studio have a community resource or is it a clique from high school? From day one, you should feel welcomed, supported, and never judged. No Lululemon top? Cool. No $40 eco-friendly water tote with matching ring that turns colors when you feel happy? Perfect. A true yoga community excepts people and meets them where they are without expectations. Make sure the studio you choose has a reputation of actively particpating in the businesses, people and welfare of your town.

5. Cult or tribe?

Choose a studio that runs itself like a tribe. Tribes look out for one another, they share, love and send positivity to each other with support and camaraderie. If you research a studio and all signs focus on the “leader” as an authority, it is probably a cult, and you might not want to drink the punch in the red cups. Try getting involved in a local studio with an open mind towards yoga as practice. Advanced yoga teacher Tracey Stockapler weighs in on what makes her San Diego studios unique-

“Yoga Tropics is a family-owned and operated studio just a quick walk from the beach. The warm vibe has created an atmosphere where, as a practitioner here, one can experience a deep sense not only of well-being, but of community. Yoga Tropics philosophy is that a yoga practice is and should be accessible to any and every body, and provides a non-dogmatic approach to the practice.”

Check out Tracey's studio in Encinitas and Pacific Beach, CA at www.yogatropics.com

In a world of down dogs, tree poses and sweaty yoga mats, finding the right studio is as simple as knowing what you want and telling them. Don't be afraid if you don't know what you want either, because if the studio is truly accepting, they'll welcome you regardless. Yoga can add years to your life, relieve back and neck pain, and open your mind to feelings and emotions you haven't seen in a while; but only if you're willing to do the work.

Are you up for the challenge?

Questions? Start here 

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