Back to School, Back to the Mat

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Milton neighbors invited to practice yoga

Yoga expert Fran Karoff

Yoga expert Fran Karoff

It’s that time of year when a collective sigh is in the air. People around town are settling their kids into schools, and although summer isn’t technically over until September 20, the frolicking has turned to work as kids and adults alike buckle down to school and work. It is also the first time in months many of us get a chance to re-evaluate our own self-care and exercise regimes. And it is a perfect time to start up with a yoga class.

As a yoga instructor I am often asked to guide people on how select a yoga class. Choosing the right class is akin to walking into Baskin Robbins. With 31 flavors to choose from, there is bound to be one just right for your tastes. That being said, many people abandon the idea of yoga after one or two experiences that are less than ideal. So this post can serve as a how-to for finding a good yoga class. I tell people if one class doesn’t work out, certainly another will.

Choosing the right class is akin to walking into Baskin Robbins. With 31 flavors to choose from, there is bound to be one just right for your tastes.

There are so many benefits to a yoga practice including improved strength, flexibility, lung capacity, and a sense of calm. I can’t count the number of times I hear how yoga has changed someone’s body or life for the better, so while I welcome people to my local classes at the First Congregational Church (info on my classes is on my website: , I realize I might not be the right “flavor” for everyone and encourage folks to keep shopping until they find the magical combination of class and instructor!

Here is a general guideline if you are “in the market” for a yoga class:

  1. Heat: classes range from unheated to hot (high 80s/low 90s) to super hot (like Bikram which is usually over 100 degrees) and decide what your body can comfortably tolerate. Everyone is different, bring a water bottle if you’re going to a heated class!
  2. Type of class (what do all those names on the schedule mean?). Here are some brief generalizations to help you select a class:
    1. Vinyasa: a flow class where poses, or moves, are linked together
    2. Hatha: more of a longer hold in each pose
    3. Power: generally quite hot and intense (some are flowing, some not)
    4. Restorative: using significant supports like bolsters, blocks, blankets and poses held for long periods of time; often “yin” yoga is restorative
    5. Kundalini: uses “krias” or repetitive movements throughout the practice, and there is usually some chanting
    6. Iyengar: longer holds, more attention to alignment, use of props

About our Expert:

Fran Karoff is a 500-hour Register Yoga Teacher (500-RYT) who lives in Milton and has practiced yoga for over 18 years. Through her yoga practice she has found a deep appreciation for and connection with the body, mind, and spirit. She teaches mostly vinyasa flow classes infused with intention, attention to alignment, and humor, and loves to lead students to experience the same joy she gains from the practice: an awareness of the body and mind, strengthening, acceptance, and the ability to bring the lessons of the practice off the mat and in to our daily lives.

As you embark on the journey of finding the right fit I’d be happy to help guide you along the way. Check out my website for the schedule: or feel free to email me at [email protected]. Namaste.

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