Ever wanted to try yoga? It seems to be all the rage these days…
What holds you back?
For me it was busy-ness. As a college student, stumbling into a yoga class as the least-graceful, least-flexible, most-clumsy was at the very bottom of my to-do list. My first experience may have been a bribe. Work in the church nursery for a semester, and get a free yoga class twice a week. Well, babies are fun (most days) so of course, I signed up. I had nothing to lose. Oh, but let me tell you what I gained.
This intro level class sparked a curiosity to become more culturally engaged. In yoga, one of the main themes I love is how each teacher, each studio, each day is totally different. If you compare it to life, it’s the same! Each day, each week opens up a new set of problems, opportunities, people to connect with. Yoga creates a mindset of being present. Taking each pose, each breath and each pause with intention.
Over the years, I’ve learned to prioritize my self-care amidst a culture that embraces constant busy-ness.
Anyone else relate to this? If it doesn’t make it on the calendar, it’s not happening.
Cue me scheduling time for Netflix and baths….
Yoga has created intentional space. It is “my time”. Focusing on poses that reach muscles groups I didn’t know I had teaches self-awareness. It teaches you that each downward dog is different. Sometimes the right and left sides of your body feel differently. Sometimes you feel more awake or more tired.
I also learned balance. For a girl that trips on everything, this is life-changing!! I pat myself on the back when I can get into and out of a balance pose with grace.
When I moved back to Fresno a few years ago, I knew I wanted to find yoga studios that fit my lifestyle and personality. So I checked a few out, and have been constantly trying new ones every now and again to keep things interesting. Here are a few of my favorites, and why you should try them.
The first class I went to in town. It was a yin (read: meditative, calm, relaxing) class, which is a great place to start for beginners or for an escape from the stresses of life. With a dimly lit studio, the soft scent of incense and essential oils, colorful wall tapestries and soft music, this was one of my favorites. Shoes come off at the front door, and the teachers were very welcoming and took time to get to know you before class. They assessed your aches and pains, why you came to class and what you were hoping to get out of it.
Winning all around.
They offer monthly packages and one class passes starting at $15. The location is central, close to Fashion Fair and the 41, making it accessible from many parts of town. More info here on their Facebook page.
This studio has a more modern vibe, with a variety of classes. I love that they embrace partner yoga, yoga athletics and traditional classes. I’ve taken a couple of community classes here and have never been disappointed.
If you have friends who think yoga is for sissies, take them to Gwint’s yoga athletics class. This yoga-based cardio circuit will have them eating their words in no time. Or, if that heart-pounding rush isn’t for you, try any of their other teachers, or one of Marie’s classes. She’s one of my favorites, and much more towards the calming, yin, meditation style practice.
These classes are competitively priced ($12 for a drop in, $79+ for an unlimited month), but worth it for the variety in type and times during the day/week. More info here on their Facebook page.
Fulton Yoga Collective
This studio is in the heart of Downtown Fresno. When I called on the phone to schedule a class, they were so kind and calming that I was skeptical it was too good to be true. But, my visit was just as impressive. At this studio, I had the chance to expand my horizons! I tried using a Tibetan singing bowl, which is a sound immersing experience used to calm your mind just before beginning a class. It’s magical! I love this studio for its Eastern influences and strong incense.
The staff exemplified the “collective” part of their namesake as they really seemed like a small family rather than co-workers. These classes are truly a great deal (starting at 2/$10) for a drop-in, so take a friend and try it out!
More info here on their Facebook page.
Old Town Yoga
This studio is right downstairs from my work, so I had to try it out and support a new local business. By far, this is the most unassuming and fun place to practice. I went to a few classes during the one week trial and loved them all. The music is popular fun songs, and the teachers are funny and you can tell they love to teach yoga as an individualized practice in a fun environment.
The one downside is that it’s always so crowded, but that means it’s a popular place and people love it, right? A great place to meet people and walking distance to other Old Town Clovis eateries to grab a bite to eat after. Plus, monthly prices are the cheapest I’ve seen in town, starting at $69.
They also have recently introduced community classes occasionally on Saturdays, check out their Facebook page here for more info.
Of course, one of these studios had to be a hot yoga (Bikram) practice. After hyping it all up in my head, thinking this would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I actually enjoyed it! Not for the faint of heart or beginner, but after taking a few classes elsewhere and getting familiar with the poses, this is a must-try. The 105 degree and high-humidity environment makes for an, umm, sweaty hour, but it also made me super flexible and made my skin soft after, sooo…. worth it?
Still debating on that one…
Anyways… they’ve got a $20 new client special for one week of classes, and monthly subscriptions starting at $60. More info here on their Facebook page.
Along with these few I visited, there are others I haven’t. Which are your favorites??
List of studios to try soon: Fig Garden Yoga Studio and Yoga Center of Fresno.
You ready to get started?!
Grab a friend and try a studio or two. Each one will cater to different activity levels, schedules, and price points, so trying a few would be my best recommendation.
In case you’re still not convinced, there are legitimate studies of how yoga with cats, goats etc. is good for the soul. So if you don’t try yoga, at the very least YouTube
Cheers to new experiences and intentional time just being present.