Tara Stiles, owner of the popular Strala Yoga in NYC and teacher to yogis around the world, recently tweeted that she was capping her classes at 70 for “safety and best experience.” When does a big class go from wildly popular to mildly dangerous?  

No doubt about it – yoga’s finest teachers in New York and LA can pack the house. Mats are lined up mere inches from each other; sometimes a bead of sweat from your neighbor falls into your space. Is this what comes with taking the best classes from the best teachers, or is this a safety concern? We at alignyo have been fortunate to take classes on both coasts (and all the places in between) with some awesome teachers, but when the yogi next to us goes into a handstand and starts to wobble, we can’t help but fear being fallen on. 

Most studios will only cap a class when they physically can’t get any more mats in the space. For popular studios this is frequent, but for smaller studios struggling to make ends meet, this may be an instance for rejoice. After all, yoga is a business, and if your classes are packed, you’re doing something right! But studios may want to cut class sizes if it is hindering the student’s experience. While we aren’t sure what prompted Tara to decide to cap her classes (maybe Hilaria Thomas Baldwin’s recent lawsuit), some yogis may not feel like they have space for full expression of postures in a crowded room, and heated yoga studios packed to the brim can get extremely humid and stuffy. The last thing an acclaimed teacher wants is someone passing out in class. 

What do you do when you show up to class and realize there is barely room for you to unroll your mat? Do you squeeze into a class in order to get instruction from your favorite teacher or do you prefer to skip the sardine-like experience and attend a class that is less full?