Yoga Studio Types
YogaDawg will now present a breakdown of studio designs and types that you are likely to run into in your yoga studies.
The Purple Haze
The interior design of the Purple Haze studio is a drug-induced, psychotic, psychedelic nightmare that will pound your retina and brain into submission. Upon entering, your field of vision will be assaulted by a jumbled, visual cacophony. You will close your eyes a lot in a studio like this simply to provide a safe haven for your vision. When you are able to peek around, you will find all manners of mandalas, Hindu art-work, day-glow posters of Ravi Shakar, funky hand painted peace signs, paisley wall hangings, and tie-dyed statues of Buddha, Shakti, and Jimi Hendrix. You might see Tibetan prayer flags hanging from the ceiling along with Mardi Gras beads dangling from the walls. Expect to find a gong and perhaps a bong in a corner of the studio. A couple of cockatoos may be flying overhead along with a pair of swinging trapeze artists.
The Purple Haze studio follows a very predictable evolution. Established during the 1960s as a head shop, it will have morphed into a meditation temple, as the owners were busted for pot or subversive left-wing activity, and then into a yoga studio to cash in on the yoga craze. The Purple Haze studio will always feel kind of groovy.
The I Have a Dream
This funky wave of yoga studios was thrown together by burned out yuppies from the corporate world. Many of these studios were established in the days following the dot-com bust. With a year of yoga practice, a 200-hour teacher training class, and an arm full of stock options, these ex-corporate yogis felt that the time was perfect to get involved in the next trendy thing—open a yoga studio. They want to own a part of the yoga dream and are grateful for the yoga boom and celebrities standing on their heads in the gossip rags to help make it all possible.
The I Have a Dream can be identified by the do-it-yourself décor. You’ll find funky paint jobs with harsh and mismatched colors. Interiors will be slammed together by the owner’s friends or work exchange students. There will be Buddhas and other statuary purchased from a chain import store, candles from the supermarket across the street, and Indian inspired wall art from Wal-Art. The owners are clueless about interior design, but they know what they like. The I Have a Dream studios will look pretty much like the condos the studio owners live in. There may be several cats running around and occasionally a dog.
The I Have a Dream will eventually sell the studio to the NirvanaPranaOneWorldYoga SuperStudio chain as the owners are always looking to cash out in their search for the next big thing.
The Lavender Haze
The Lavender Haze is a frilly variant of the I Have A Dream style studio. Do not confuse it with the Purple Haze style. Though the names are similar, they are of a completely different esthetic. Whereas the Purple Haze seems stuck in a time warp, the Lavender Haze is stuck in an age warp—the age of about 12.
The color lavender is everywhere in the studio. (Other studios of this type may use colors like Bubble Gum, Rose Puff, Teeny Bopper Blush, or Baby’s Butt.) There are lavender walls, lavender floors, lavender mats, and even the teachers and students wear lavender colored clothes. The front desk and computer are lavender, and when they manage to use another color, say green for example, it looks like lavender. Soft pillows and furry stuffed animals in the shape of elephants, Brahma bulls, and water buffalos may be lying about. Also be sure not to miss the cute furry lavender colored stuffed Buddhas.
You will know when you are approaching a Lavender Haze by the lavender glow emanating from the studio as you approach it from down the block.
TIP for Men - There is a tendency for males to become severely nauseous when practicing in a Lavender Haze. Remember that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
TIP for Women - It is suggested that you bring a mat that is a different color than lavender. There is a tendency to lose a lavender mat as it blends into the Lavender Haze.
The Showboat yoga studios are designed by an elite group of Vedic yoga studio designers. These studios are the fantasies that yoga studio owners dream about. They are written up in Architectural Yoga Studio Magazine and Om Studio Magazine. The Showboat is designed in big, open, loft-like spaces with clean lines and art that has been imported directly from India.
All the interior design tricks will be in full play here. There will be mirrored walls with spaces cut in the walls that open into other spaces. The space will have a clerestory of alternating sizes and panels of glass that fills the space with light. The color of the Showboat will be white unless the architect chooses a more daring color statement. You will then see vibrant tones of mango and saffron, saffron and persimmon, persimmon and cantaloupe, cantaloupe and guava, or guava and pomegranate. The studio will also incorporate an aromatherapy nuance, which will make it smell slightly of anise, cardamom, or turmeric.
There is no clutter at the Showboat, as it must always be prepared to be photographed. Unfortunately, this prevents the studio from ever being used as a yoga studio. The owners of the Showboat have invested so much time, money, and energy into the studio that they refuse to let sweaty, smelly, nasty yogis in to befoul it. Consequently, the Showboat will only be open for tours sponsored by the Om and Garden Club or the Society of Yoga Studio Designers.
Hell is hot and so is this steamy, tropical space smelling of stale perspiration from too many sweaty bodies. You will have no doubt as to where you are when you walk into a Hell studio. The walls will be dripping with moisture, and the floors will be slimy with sweat and possibly other body fluids. Molds and fungus flourish in this fetid environment. Moss and algae will be growing in the corners and on the walls and ceiling. The Hell studio is a room-size petri dish for breeding all kinds of unfettered bacterial growth. You may find your mat deteriorating after a few classes as there have been unconfirmed reports that a species of mat-eating microbes have adapted to this environment and are flourishing in Hell studios.
TIP: Make sure you are in tip-top health with no cuts, scrapes, or open sores on your skin as there is a chance that you may attract a species of skin sucking fungus.
The Suburban Redux
The Suburban Redux owes its existence to the Lavender Haze, its spiritual sister studio from the city. As the owners of the Lavender Haze studios get married and head to the suburbs, they adapt the Lavender Haze to their new environments. This essentially means adding a New Age element to it and tossing out the cute stuffed animals and Buddhas. There will still be lavender walls, ceilings, and floors, but in place of the stuffed animals, you will now find lavender crystals. The furry stuffed Buddha will be replaced by huge lavender plastic Buddhas sitting prominently on a kind of New Age dais. There will be a lavender waterfall sculpture emitting smoky lavender mist. Look for dream catchers on the walls and prisms hanging in the windows.
The parking lot outside the Suburban Redux will have SUVs sporting bumper stickers that say things like, “I love Yoga” or “I love Dalai.” The studio is a hangout for housewives stressed by the daily grind of family and shopping exhaustion. There will be lively conversation before, during, and after the class between students and the teacher as they excitedly chatter away regarding the latest sales at the GreatTrancendentalYoga Superstore.
TIP: You may occasionally confuse the Suburban Redux style with the Lavender Haze as both Yoga décors tend to overuse lavender. So remember: the Lavender Haze is found in the city. The Suburban Redux is outside of it (i.e., the suburbs).
The Eco Haven
The Eco Haven follows the guidelines set forth in the EcoYoga Association’s guide to green, ecologically sound, and sustainable resource yoga studios. The walls are constructed of hay bales and compressed corncobs, which make it smell a bit like a barn. It also has a roof planted with soybeans or alfalfa. The Eco Haven utilizes passive solar design and may be dug into the south side of a tenement or condo building. The studio features rain water collection barrels on the roof, integrated wastewater treatment for the sink and toilets, photovoltaic electrical systems, solar hot water heaters, passive solar heating, and a bio-climatic, eco-cycle heating and cooling system. There are also sweat reclamation devices along with idle-inner chatter channelers, negative vibes converters, and colon cleansing stations.
The Eco Haven is proud to offer a variety of eco-safe products that have been branded with the studio’s logo. Expect to find the new and exciting EcoHaven Yoga Mat whose innovative design is fashioned from the floor debris collected in the studio, including lint, mat droppings, and assorted hairs and dead skin of yogis mixed with recycled bits of unclaimed mats.
The studio is usually arranged according to the principles of Feng Shui. Otherwise, it will be aligned to the cardinal points of the Great Pyramid in Giza, the equinox head stone at Stonehenge, the sacrificial alter in the Jaguar Temple at Chichén Itzá, or the apex of the orbit of the ex-planet Pluto.
The Name Brand
The Name Brand studio is the spiritual home of the Yoga Star. These are temple like environments that have posters and sayings of the Yoga Star hanging on the walls, which are designed to inspire you to take more of their overpriced classes. Though the size and interior style of the Name Brand studio is not all that impressive or memorable, its yoga shop shines in a large and professionally designed area of the studio. Expect to find postcards, framed pictures, CDs, DVDs as well as books written by the Yoga Star in the yoga shop. The shop also attracts brisk business with their autographed yoga trading cards, stupas containing bits of hair or fingernail clippings of the Yoga Star, and a rare collectable collection of Yoga Star bobble-heads contorted into many yoga poses, such as the “I am a Yoga Star, buy me” or the “I am the greatest, look at me” pose. You can also buy trendy new yoga clothes that have been branded, endorsed, and blessed by the Yoga Star. This type of studio is all about name and game, claim and fame.
TIP: Though you will not see the Yoga Star in person, as they are busy cashing in on the yoga boom through out-of-town workshops and conferences, you can purchase mementoes of the Yoga Star while you sign up for his latest high-end yoga cruise.
The I Don’t Know what the F@%$ I Am
This type of Yoga studio is in search of its identity. What had started as a humble yoga studio has now blossomed into a center for yoga, healing, the arts, beauty, wellness, good food, fine drinks, fat cigars, discount bras, used cars, and, psst, you wanta’ cop some weed ‘mon…! You’ll know you are in this type of studio, because suddenly you won’t know where the f*%@ you are.
You may go there thinking that you are simply going to take a yoga class, but upon leaving you will find that you have not only participated in a yoga class, but have gotten a pedicure, purchased a new wardrobe of yoga clothes with coordinating mats, signed up for a trip to India, purchased a couple of trashy romance novels about famous yoga stars, and even gotten the oil changed in your car. The only service not offered is the manual How to Maintain Peace and Tranquility Once You Get Your Credit Card Bill.
TIP: If you happen to spend more than fifteen minutes in an I Don’t Know What the F@%$ I Am studio, be sure to take advantage of the studio’s credit counseling service.
The Leave Me the Hell Alone
Mystery surrounds this type of studio as it is widely unknown what goes on in it and what it looks like inside. There are typically grainy, out-of-focus photos of the studio on its Web site, which lists an address and a vague indication that they offer yoga classes. The only way you really know that it is a yoga studio is because the Web site says it is. If you actually go to a Leave Me the Hell Alone type of studio, the door will be locked. You will feel like an idiot by following the suggestion of the sign on the door to “knock hard,” and no one will open the door.
TIP: Any yogi who stumbles onto a Leave Me the Hell Alone studio that actually has someone open the door, please e-mail Guru YogaDawg so he will finally have a description of what it looks like inside.
The As Is
The interior design of the As Is Yoga studio is as is. The style is identical to that of the previous tenant and will continue to be that until the demolition of the entire building. There is a bit of a Zen feel to it as nothing is added or taken away from the interior. It just is.
The studio owner of an As Is either lacks any sense of design or was too much in a hurry to cash in on the yoga boom. In their haste, they overlooked doing anything to the space they rented before opening the studio. The decorations left over from the previous occupants will still be on display, giving you something to ponder during your yoga class. For instance, you might find magazine clippings of glossy landscapes in cheesy frames, calendars dated from before you were born, pinups from girlie magazines or even a stuffed moose head hanging on the walls.
You will have fun at the As Is as you pick up visual clues to the identity of the previous occupants. If the space was a garage before it became an As Is, you might find an axel or transmission lying in a corner. If it was a butcher shop, you may see blood on the floor and bones in the bathroom. If it was a warehouse, expect to see shipping crates and pallets strewn about.
The As Is studio style of design is most potent when it is established in an office building designed in the late 1960s or 1970s. It has linoleum floors, Venetian blinds, institutional green walls, and florescent lighting, all popular during that period. You have to leave the studio to use the bathroom, as it will be located somewhere down the hall next to the elevators. Expect to have other occupants of the building ask if you are one of those “freaks from the yoga office” as you make your way back up the hall to your yoga class.
The NirvanaPranaOneWorldYoga Super Studio
The NirvanaPranaOneWorldYoga Super Studio is the thousand pound gorilla of the yoga studio world. With its fire-breathing statue of Kali gracing the roof of the studio and its eight foot wooden Buddhas sitting next to the receptionist desk, the NirvanaPranaOneWorldYoga SuperStudio is a wonder to behold.
This studio's intention is to gobble up other yoga studios. The more financially vulnerable, the better. As these studios enter the NirvanaPranaWorldYoga SuperStudio chain, they are repainted pumpkin orange and mutton gray. This is an attempt to make the studios match the Web site, which is really the driving force of the studio. The Web scheduler is the most prominent feature of the site as the idea is to jam as many yogis into a class as possible. Expect to be inches from your neighbor’s butt when practicing at one of these studios.
This studio shows up in ads in EternallyBlissfulYoga Super Magazine. The full-page glossy ads displaying beautiful babes (and dudes) doing yoga poses with eyes closed and beatific smiles are designed to make you unconsciously seek out a studio such as this. The name of the studio is often artistically and strategically placed behind the smiling yogis in the ad. Getting a fix on their particular décor is difficult, but their marketing is unforgettable.
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