Mention the word “Yoga” and your mind (unless you’re a Broga student) may conjure that classic Western misconception: rows of women stretching in colorful spandex while an instructor floats around the room, gently instructing the students to breathe, and open their hearts, and radiate positive energy. While this is accurate for some Yoga, there are many different types, varying from the cold (snowga), to the hot (Bikram), to the esoteric, to the spiritual, to the novel (laughter yoga), to the accessible (Broga), to the athletic. Seek information about “Yoga”, online or off, and you’ll be catapulted into this vast world of options with no map and no compass.
So, with new yoga teachers opening new yoga studios and offering new yoga styles all around the world, everyday, how do we, the students, find the yoga that will be best for us? I mean, how do we efficiently sift through the websites and Yelp reviews and Facebook pages to find the right style, with the right teacher, at the right location, at the right time?
Alex Klein, Alex Jaton, and Sven Ernst decided to answer these questions for all of us, by making the world of yoga more transparent and easier to navigate. They founded a site called YogaTrail, a site where yogis are able to “share their experiences and opinions, whether they’re looking for places to practice, people to practice with, teachers, resources to learn from, or just information.”
I took some time to check out the website for myself, and was not disappointed. The YogaTrail team has done a beautiful job of displaying information: looking up a yoga studio nearby in Toronto, I was given a small excerpt about the studio, along with a clear display of the prices of classes, amenities, class styles available, and the level of classes that are taught. I was able to glance at the checklist and see if I needed to bring my own mat, if they offered a Mysore class, and find out how much it would be for a drop-in class.
Teachers are rated on their articulation, friendliness, attentiveness, experience, personalization, and spirituality, so I was also able to make an informed decision about which teacher’s class to attend based on my preferences.
YogaTrail’s one minor shortcoming, if it has one, is simply its relative nascency. While they’ve done an impressive job aggregating tons and tons of information on Yoga Studios and classes around the world, the site’s major value for users will lie in the reviews and ratings provided by others. We all know that power of reviews as we make online shopping/purchasing/planning decisions, so in honor of the phenomenal work being done by the YogaTrail team and as an investment into the future usefulness of the site, review, review, review! If you have an experience, good or bad, share it (with honesty and equanimity of course), on YogaTrail.
Overall, YogaTrail is a brilliant idea (that I wish I’d thought of!), a tremendous tool that I’ll be sure to use in the years to come, and a great collection of information and ideas.
Oh, there is also a great subsection on yoga retreats, teacher trainings, and events, all of which are neatly presented and well organized you should be sure to check out.