Founded in 1630 and part of the original 13 colonies, Boston doesn't alone boast a rich history, but it's a hit with tourism for the wide range of things there are to do.

The Freedom Trail, a 2.5km trek that passes sixteen sites from Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument, is known to be one of the most visited attractions for those unfamiliar with the city.

Also, you don't have to travel too far to find one of the world's most accredited universities, that being Harvard... of course.

Yes, there is clam chowder, and that marathon that happens every year, but what about yoga?

Well, there was a time when 'Boston' and 'yoga' wouldn't be found in the same sentence. However, the times they are a-changin'... once sang a young Dylan, and his words are certainly poignant when it comes to the growth in popularity of this 5000-year-old practice.

With over twenty-nine studios across the city, Bostonians are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the right place! Although Boston doesn't quite experience the same summers as Los Angeles, there are still some opportunities to partake in yoga classes in the great outdoors!

But firstly, why is it this has become such a popular form of physical activity?

Multiple studies have shown that regular practice can not only develop physical wellbeing but improved mental health and an overall, holistic development upon the individual.

What else draws people to yoga is the calming atmosphere that is created in the studios. It is integral that the instructor creates an atmosphere that is free of competition, and those involved should be made to feel supported and content with the atmosphere.

Over the past few years, people have also been using technology as a means to complete their exercise.

Yes, yoga DVD's have long been a thing, but now qualified and experienced instructors are composing lessons on platforms such as Zoom and Skype. In doing so, this means the student doesn't have to travel to and from classes and can instead remain in the comfort of their own home.

This article will aim to address some questions to ponder before reaching out to studios/instructors in the Boston area.

The Boston city skyline
Yoga has risen in popularity and more studios are opening across the city every year! (Source: Visualhunt)

Finding The Right Studio

There are several considerations to make when it comes to deciding on a studio, and there are different ways of going about it! Not alone in Boston, but there are hundreds of new studios popping up across the country, and other cultural hubs like Houston and Chicago are experiencing rising levels of demand. Let's have a look at some ways to help find the perfect place to do yoga!

Identifying Goals/Motivations

For what purpose is it that you have decided to embark upon this particular practice? As discussed earlier, there are a range of benefits associated with regular yoga practice, so is it the physical, mental, or social element?

If it is to enhance flexibility to complement an additional sport/activity, then there are classes which specialize on the physical developments associated with the practice.

If it is to reduce stress and anxiety, particular practices incorporate meditation and various breathing exercises during the sessions that will apply to those looking for a little more 'Zen'.

So, it is important to identify personal motivations before you begin searching!

Locality

Finding a studio that is conveniently placed helps to reduce travel times and therefore makes it more accessible to the student!

With over 29 studios across the city, likely, a studio won't be too far away from your home or workplace.

The issue with this however is that if the student is looking for a specific/particular yoga practice, fortune may not necessarily favor and this could result in the student having to travel to the other side of town to get to their favourite studio!

In this case, a level of compromise must be reached to ensure a student's goals and motivations are being met.

Research/Background Checks

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing... (Werner Von Braun)

Online isn't the only platform when it comes to research.

Usually, one of the most powerful tools for finding out information is through word of mouth. Identifying the best instructors who specialize in areas that may be relevant to a student's motivations is a great way to get results.

In doing so, a student will also create bonds and connections with others that may have similar goals. This may enhance social aspects also and people often work better when they are reaching toward a shared motivation.

A green yoga mat.
Ensuring you have appropriate equipment for your first session is also important! Usually, studios do provide yoga mats but many students opt to purchase their own. (Source: Visualhunt)

Private Instructor or Group-based Practice? The Benefits & Downfalls Explained

Opting for a private instructor is certainly suited to some, but doesn't apply to others. Here we have listed the positives and potential pitfalls of both:

Positives of Private Yoga Teaching:

  1. It's intricate - Having one-to-one sessions with an instructor means you have a trained eye looking over your every move, offering distinguished insight into developing particular techniques.
  2. It's personable - It's much easier to build a rapport with your instructor when it is just the two of you.
  3. It's easier to track progress - In group sessions, you may feel that you have not spent enough time with your instructor. Therefore, you will have to rely on personal reflection to identify development.

Potential Pitfalls of Private Yoga Teaching:

  1. The expense - naturally, and rather expectedly, private sessions are known to be considerably more expensive than group sessions.
  2. The social factors - if you are looking to make friends and socialize, then private lessons won't be the right thing for you.

Positives of Group-based Yoga Teaching:

  1. Variety - If a student prefers to 'mix it up' and explore different styles with alternate instructors, group-based yoga allows this.
  2. Community - Building a collective with people of similar attitudes and dispositions can create great energy that may help you improve at a quicker rate.
  3. Price - it is significantly cheaper compared to partaking in private sessions.

Potential Pitfalls of Group-based Yoga Teaching:

  1. Consistency of progression - in private lessons, you will work antagonistically with an instructor, focusing explicitly on personal growth. If you haven't this support, especially as a beginner, you may find self-improvements beginning to stagnate.
  2. Lapses of concentration - similar to sporting activities, those who choose sports like tennis, badminton, and running often focus better alone. If a person is more inclined to participate in individual sports, then exercising in the presence of others may result in unnecessary distraction.

Power Yoga - What is it and Where Can I Do it?

A female student performs a pose.
Both private and group lessons are conducted across the city. (Source: Visualhunt)

Power yoga focuses mainly on the fitness benefits associated with yoga. It is linked to Vinyasa practice, which derived from the popular Ashtanga yoga.

This has increased in popularity over the years for participants who focus on improving their stamina, strength, and flexibility.

It is considered to be a rigorous workout and participants will often leave red-faced with an aching body! The movements associated with traditional yoga are incorporated yet the speed of transition and movement are increased.

CorePower Yoga, situated on Commonwealth Avenue, is an establishment that specializes in power yoga activities.

Boasting strong reviews online from previous and present customers, the studio offers single sessions at a fixed price as well as monthly memberships with unlimited access to sessions that take place seven days a week!

Similar to other yoga studios across America, from New York to Philadelphia, CorePower Yoga also offers an 'At Home Membership' for those looking to take part in activities remotely. This allows unlimited access to online resources so all you require is a yoga mat, internet access, and enough space in your lounge to perform the activities!

Based on Harvard St, Brookline, Baptiste Power Yoga offer an introductory membership to incentivize new customers to join!

The gym welcomes students from all levels of ability and experience, and the sessions are described as an hour of power. Incorporating fundamental practices into invigorating and power busting movements - this gym will have you fit and healthy in no time that's for sure.

The capital city of Massachusetts has a lot to offer budding yoga enthusiasts. Reflecting on motivations as mentioned will help in the path to finding the right environment and the right teacher.

With such a decorated history of sporting and active excellence, it is no wonder why Bostonians are following suit like so many others across America and becoming infused in this high-principled, historical practice.

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Christopher