Sometimes I tend to use the term “gym yoga” in a rather casual way, as if it were its own entity, or, if interpreted by someone who doesn’t know me, not “real yoga.”
I’ve come to the conclusion, however, that there is no such thing as “real yoga.” Even the oft-repeated “2000 years old” history of yoga is sort of sketchy. The documents are difficult to track, and the evolution of the poses themselves seems to have been vastly different from teacher to teacher to teacher in the realm we consider “traditional yoga.” The people who brought yoga to the west brought equally different styles and varieties, and the teachers they spawned have themselves made a mark on the evolution of yoga.
“Power yoga,” for example, was greeted with great skepticism in the yoga community at first. I actually remember reading an interview with Baron Baptiste in Sassy Magazine when I was in high school. No kidding. Even Sassy seemed to be a little unsure of the ideas of “power” and “yoga” being combined.
But look at it now. Most every yoga studio in America has some version of power yoga in it now, as do most gyms. Yoga evolves, and changes, and western individuality and creativity is creating space for our western minds to calm down and relax our western bodies… so to speak.
I loooove gym yoga. I am passionate about BodyFlow, as you probably know. BodyFlow is amazing. I love the music and choreography. I love how it makes me feel strong and empowered, helps me tune into what’s going on in my head, and to help me let it all go.
Also, due to the variety of backgrounds of yoga teachers gyms hire – from those trained in small studios to those trained by gym-oriented YogaFit – members can learn a lot about several different styles of yoga without having to hop from studio to studio, or sometimes, even travel to another city.
I would never be the one to say gym yoga is secondary to studio yoga. Gyms can have pricey memberships, but it’s affordable to most people. When you compare them to studio prices, they are super cheap. I love being able to spread the yoga love to everyone, not just those of the upper-middle-class and beyond.