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I've practiced at a lot of studios — probably hundreds. For all the painted Ganesh images on the wall, a great studio is built on a foundation of excellent people and attention to detail, particularly when it comes to the basics.

  1. The Teachers. First thing’s first. There is no class without a teacher.  Even in Bikram Yoga – where the postures and even the words are the same – the teacher can be the difference thing between a poor class and an excellent one. This does not necessarily mean an experienced teacher. Everyone starts out somewhere (teachers and students). Often it is just the teacher's attitude that it comes down to.
  2. Cleanliness. A good studio should be cleaned daily — sometimes even more regularly. Clean bathrooms. Clean towels. Clean yoga room. Sure, sometimes a cleaner may miss a shift or the studio is out of something but if the studio is not being cleaned, you can tell.
  3. Lighting. I’ve practiced under bright lights and, if the class was engaging, I was working hard, the lights were something in the background. But staring up at the ceiling in sevasana, a bright fluorescent can really harsh the vibe.
  4. Air flow. For me, this is a must.  In order to create physical health, the space in which you are practicing must be a healthy aerobic environment. A space with sealed windows, doors and no ventilation means you are breathing other people’s CO2 all class. Anything they got, you’re gonna get if the space is anaerobic.
  5. Welcome. This one may seem a bit intangible. But think about it. When you step into the space. Does it feel like a space that is full of love, warmth and positivity? How are you treated? How do the students treat you? The teachers? The owners?

What is vital for you that makes a studio great?