Why do people go to yoga class?

Why do people go to yoga class instead of watching an exercise video? asks Matt Yglesias on Slate.

The prospect of online education continues to attract a lot of interest and commentary in various circles, but I think the issue that people considering this need to ponder has nothing to do with convention and signaling and everything to do with yoga. Specifically, what is it that’s driving all these people to show up in person at yoga classes.

. . . When possible, people simply prefer to do this in person with a live human being standing in front of them.

At this point, online learning is like convenience food. It’s not as good as “slow” learning in a classroom, but it’s doable when other options take too much time, transportation and money.

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  1. Having done both (classes and in front of my laptop) i definitely prefer the class.

    I think people go to yoga classes for many reasons.

    It can be fun and is a nice social gathering we you become a regular among others. Also the atmosphere is a lot different, theres nothing like a classroom slowly getting hotter and hotter from everyones bodyheat. Sweat starts to pour, the smells and noises are actually quite comforting (ok nobody likes REALLY bad body odur ill admit)

  2. Supersub says:

    Social reinforcement

  3. While I prefer a good yoga DVD to going to a class, the reality is that sometimes you need a live person to watch what you’re doing and give you corrective feedback. Online learning isn’t there yet. Even if it WAS there, unmotivated students still probably wouldn’t get much out of it. So, while I don’t regularly attend any yoga classes, I do occasionally go to a few so that I know I’m still on the right track.

    As I am an introvert, I don’t need to be in a classroom with the group aspect that other people seem to enjoy. In fact, I don’t really care for it most of the time because I’m moving at a different pace than many of the people with me (either more slowly or more quickly). But non-introverts seem to like that sort of group environment. Eventually, we’ll all get the learning environment that suits us best. Or at least that’s my hope.

  4. People vary in their appetite for human company, so a wider range of options will better accommodate more people. Furthermore, the distribution of personality types is in part a function of the current institutional structure. That is, people for whom real-time live instruction outperforms virtual instruction compare options available today, not the enhanced options that a liberated market in education services will provide in a few years.