Workshops are typically longer and more expensive than regular classes, for example 2-3 hours and twice the price of a class. Often they also have a more specific focus that is announced in advance.
For the longest time I avoided them, because I had doubts about the value, and 20-30 pounds can seem like a lot to pay when you don’t know what to expect. But I’ve tried a couple recently, and I’ve partially changed my opinion: I think workshops can be really worth it in specific circumstances.
What Are Workshops?
First of all, a few general notes on how workshops are run based on the examples I’ve seen.
Expect a slower pace and more attention to detail than in a normal class. Instructors understand that most students can’t operate on the same intensity for 3 hours as for one, so there will be breaks or opportunities to rest.
It’s likely there will be more theory, detailed instruction, and information on best practices and why they’re important.
Very much depending on the size of the workshop, you might get more personal attention. You might also be introduced to new and more advanced concepts than you would see in regular classes.
Should I Try One?
Here’s the main criteria that would make me sign up for a workshop in the future:
- knowing & liking the instructor and wanting to learn more from them. If they know you, you will also get more attention and value from the class.
- small group size. This often won’t be known in advance, but you can try to guess based on the studio/room size. If there’s more than 20 students, I’d seriously hesitate before signing up again. Of course that might affect the price.
- focus on a specific topic that is hard to come by otherwise. For example, I signed up for a workshop about transitions between arm balances because I’d never seen that covered in detail before (sadly there was a topic mix up, but that’s not the main point here…).
What makes me regret signing up for a workshop is if it essentially turns out to just be a longer and more crowded class, and I don’t learn anything new. This is much more likely to happen if you aren’t familiar with the teacher and their work.
The other thing to be watchful for is the target level of the workshop. This can change on the day depending on the level of the audience. For instance, the teacher might come prepared with different plans for an inversions workshop: if most people can already do a handstand, you’ll be looking at interesting variations, otherwise just foundations. Check the description of the event for any useful information, or perhaps even ask the organizers directly.