Studio Review – True Yoga Vermont, Rutland, VT

At the end of June 2019 I traveled with my husband to Vermont, for me it was for the first time, to attend a training for work. We extended my work trip into a little mini-vacation, renting an adorable Airbnb on a lake, riding bike trails, visiting farmers markets, and of course going to yoga classes. The first studio I visited in Vermont was in Rutland, a small city south of Burlington by about an hour and where my work training was held. I found True Yoga Vermont online and signed up for their new student deal which was just $20 for a week of unlimited classes.

There is something that you should know about True Yoga Vermont before going – it’s a hot yoga studio. They have hot pilates, Bikram, and flow classes. It’s my opinion that hot yoga is not for everyone, but many people love the experience of doing yoga in a very hot room. True Yoga Vermont certainly believes that hot yoga is for everyone as they outline in their FAQ section. Just know that hot yoga is demanding, so take it at your own pace, even experienced yoga students will likely struggle with the stress of the heat if not used to it. The heat may also cause some to feel dizzy, be sure to rest if you’re feeling fatigued – trust me, teachers don’t mind at all if you rest in child’s pose for a while or a long time, we understand that you are listening to your body.

Regardless of the heat, or because of the heat?, True Yoga Vermont is a fantastic studio in a old renovated bowling alley with tons of character. The owner, Liz, does a great job of making new students feel welcome whether they’re just new to the studio or they’re new to yoga in general. The studio’s website has guidelines of what to expect, how to make the best of your new yoga practice, and how to safely see results from practicing in the heat. Better than just a great website, True Yoga Vermont’s staff are friendly once you arrive and there’s even a sweet little goodies bag for new students after their first class, a detail that gave me the warm fuzzies.

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As mentioned, the studio is in an old bowling alley on the second floor. There are two studios in the space and a spacious welcoming area complete with merchandise for sale – clothes, mats, and more. There is also a big changing area that has two showers which are vital after a class in which simply entering the space makes sweat bead on the body. Honestly, during the flow class I attended I saw sweat on my arms where I’d never noticed sweat before, it was quite interesting and obviously a detoxifying and purifying experience. For sure it felt effective.

Liz’s welcome statement on the homepage of the website states that it’s normal to feel nervous and excited when trying yoga or hot yoga for the first time, but that the studio is there to support and guide through the experience and that there is no need to know what you’re doing or to be flexible in order to attend. She also says that True Yoga Vermont is a community, I love that. It is a ethos of mine to learn my students’ names, to learn about their lives outside of the studio and to mold unique classes that will aid them on and off the mat, clearly Liz and everyone else at True Yoga Vermont have similar sentiments. I definitely noticed during class that Liz knew her returning students and gave them coaching throughout their practice. She spoke to me before class as a new student to gauge my level, not out of judgement, but to see how much aid I would need. What every good teacher should be doing.

Unfortunately I did not get to maximize my new student special of a week of unlimited classes. I was planning to return the following two days that I was in Rutland, but I can’t have all of our vacations revolve around yoga, so spent quality time on bike trails and eating ice cream with my husband instead. If you live in Rutland I encourage you to try the new student special and to get to as many classes as you can. If I’m ever back in quaint Rutland, I will for sure be returning to True Yoga Vermont.

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(expensive!) Yoga Gear

Previously I used to scoff and pity those yogis who bought expensive yoga gear to practice in. It seemed very absurd to me to spend a lot of money on a hobby that can literally be practiced anywhere, at anytime, and in any clothes, ok well maybe not a great idea to float into bakasana in a mini skirt, but you know what I mean.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always practiced in typical sweats bought at any box store, and I never had any personal complaints. The clothes I practiced in never really had any positive or negative effect on my practice. All was well.

To a degree I still feel that way, with a few exceptions. Primarily, practicing in the heat. Whether you love that odd feeling of “it hurst so much it feels good” that you purposefully attend yoga classes at hot yoga studios and practice in the heat and humidity that is pumped into the room and then increased by the twenty other yogis sweating it up next to you, or if you find yourself practicing in a naturally hot and humid atmosphere, say for example, in Costa Rica (where I first deeply fell in love with my practice,) in those cases technical wear might be the best option for you. Clothing made out of material that won’t retain the heat and in which sweat can “wick away” can really make your practice much more comfortable. And nobody likes to be the girl with the visible sweat soaked T-shirt after class!

However! Let me interject here with another strong belief that I hold: I try my best to be aware of the materials that I wear during practice. Spandex and similar materials are great for stretch and advanced technology has made yoga clothes comfortable, stylish, and breathable, but those synthetic fabrics are chemically made and our skin is a living, breathing organ that absorbs. For that reason, I try to practice in cotton (organic cotton even better!) or merino wool in the winter (a very light weight, movable, breathable wool that wicks away moisture.)

Another product to consider using is a yoga towel that stretches the length of your mat and soaks up the drips that you drop. I’ve been using my towel regularly for years now and it’s made a huge difference in my ability to not slip ‘n slide during asanas. I have no brand preference and microfiber yoga towels with rubbery pads on the bottom that adhere to your mat or the floor can be found online or in a lot of shops that sell yoga accessories. My towel was found and purchased from TJ Maxx actually and it works just fine.

You may have gotten the vibe that by no means am I a loyalist to any brand or label. In fact I have never actually purchased any top names of the yoga clothing industry. I have been fortunate enough to have friends hand their gently used items down to me; I am oh-so-grateful to those thoughtful friends, too, by the way! Reason one why I haven’t purchased on my own is that I don’t see the value in spending over $50 on a tank top. To support a great company that uses sustainable materials and ecofriendly methods maybe, but I haven’t found that perfect company yet to fall in love with. Reason two is that I am making an effort to consume less, but more details on that in a coming post.

When it comes to a milder climate practice or winter practice, then I say wear whatever you feel comfortable in. During my winter practice I wear yoga pants, sweat pants, leggings, whatever. I’m much more conscientious of my outfit when I teach however, for it is important that students are able to see what’s going on with my ankles and knees when I demo poses, so no flowy pants. On top a track style neckline on a hoodie or sweater are most preferable because a hood can become annoying in Downdog or other inversions or forward folds. A simple crew neck sweatshirt is another viable option.

My last recommendation on yoga products is about the surface of practice itself- the practical yoga mat. For years I practiced on a standard Gaiam mat. I never had any complaints, loved the print and color, and it held up after more than three years of practice, albeit with some stains. The reason why I upgraded to a Manduka ekotravel mat is twofold. Primarily, I wanted to practice on a natural material. Throughout the practice we stick our noses right down in our mats from all the chaturungas and work on the belly, and if the mat you practice on is made out of plastics or chemicals, then it straight up stinks. I hate the idea of deeply inhaling those chemicals throughout my practice, so I upgraded. Yes, the mat is made from natural rubber and therefore had a unique stench to it itself, but I quite enjoyed that smell and anyway it dissipated after about two months. Plus, it was designed to travel with so it folds up to a remarkably small size and can be taken with me anywhere.

To conclude, there’s no need to spend a fortune on your yoga practice. I really dislike how commercial yoga has become and how much of an industry rather than a lifestyle it is marketed as in the west. There are times and reasons to require technical yoga gear, and once you buy a quality piece of clothing or mat, then it is more than likely going to last you years. Even better if you do some homework and find companies that produce eco products in a sustainable manner. To be even more sustainable, give a friend’s hand me downs a second home or shop from a consignment shop. Recently I learned of this site where you can buy and sell all sorts of clothing online. And if you like to treat yourself to nice pieces of yoga clothing, then great, there’s nothing wrong with that, just let me know when you tire of them!

Here’s a small gallery of myself in practical, everyday wear.