I just started a subscription at a yoga studio here in Paris since early last month. Ever since I moved here late July, I’ve been looking at what my fitness options there. There is actually a range of options – from aquacycling, to the free ‘fitness machines’ available on the streets, large parks where you can even meet with a group and exercise together, as well as a number of gym offerings and other sports centres. They are not usually in large ‘warehouse style’ buildings like you’d expect in North America or Australia, usually quiet smaller buildings just off the street or tucked away in a private driveway.
Whenever I looked for options, I usually considered the following (and is applicable beyond studios):
- How close is it to me? Can I walk? Or take a bike? I want an option that does not take long for me to get to, especially during the colder winter months.
- What are the subscription options? For one month? 6 months? It’s really unfortunate, but I have noticed that many gyms will offer low subscription options but they tack on high fees to join, to be able to leave flexibly, to use the lockers and so on.
- What is the facility like? I’ve seen gyms that look quiet upbeat, and others that are more depressing such as actual doors that had been broken into and dark rooms.
- What are the people like? If you are about to spend an hour or so in a centre, you might as well also gauge the community vibes.
- What is the area like? Paris is a very built up city, with many different personalities. It is an extra plus if the area that you go to happens to have a lot of activities or things to do before our after your practice, or if it’s a central transport hub.
Late in September, I was browsing along and noticed an ad that a yoga studio near me is offering yoga in English classes. Not only that, but the classes were free. There was no option to sign up, so I had all the dates in my calendar and I ended up attending to quiet a few free yoga classes in English.
If you are new to the activity and don’t know the language – starting in English is recommended
This is the case in yoga, but can be applicable elsewhere. The reason why is that you are doing a new intensive physical activity. If you are new, then you are not only unaware of the posture names being used, but also what the possible alignment is.
Instructors should be there to make sure that you are not overly straining your arms, legs, back and so on. Doing so can lead to some injuries or at least some discomfort after the practice.
If English is not available, learn the poses first (such as on YouTube) and learn the French language names of the poses.
There are some key terms and phrases that you need to know to get a grasp. Hopefully after taking a few lessons in French, you get an idea of the instructor as well as the French language!