Yoga Factory’s flagship in D.C. seems to have caught the negative aura spreading trendy chain studios all over the country. Yoga Factory, with three locations in Baltimore, is exemplary. Faux yoga renditions masquerading their mass-produced “mantras” around are polluting such a peaceful industry. But who gives a foward-fold when people are willing to pay $31 a pop ($25 for class, $6 for a towel and mat)? As a yoga practitioner, a yoga-like factory line is not what I’m looking for.

Money Score: Needs improvement

My biggest pet peeve is when yoga places nickel-and-dime you (i.e., charge you for a mat). I hate how they take advantage of people like that. In the studio, they sell mats for $68 or $89, but rent them for $3 each?! It doesn’t make any sense. Are they replacing them after 30 uses? You’re paying enough for a class, so it may as well be highway robbery. Can you say greedy over generous (Ganesha tales come to mind here)?

And for my $25 down the drain, I had a horrible experience. Maybe there is a reason that if you buy a class pass, it never expires.

Consciousness Score: Stay Away … Seriously.

Do you have to ask? The “we love having you here” writing on the wall was ironic. Too many rules! I could not believe some of the things listed on the yogi “Code of Conduct.”

It was the most un-zen-like list of bull: “Unless you are instructed, please do not substitute the postures in the series with postures from different types of yoga during the class … If you choose to be in the front row, please remember you are an example to those behind you, please refrain from doing alternate postures … ” Any time you want to go into child’s pose, you should be able to, damn it! And no bandanas? Random.

A real yoga experience promotes you, the yogi. Yoga means “union.” It’s a safe community where you can practice at your own speed. We are there because we want to be with a teacher who inspires us to be our best self. What I witnessed here went against everything I believe about yoga. Zero freedom of expression, zero consciousness. #Namastebitches

‘All the Feels’ Score: Needs improvement

Well, the WiFi was down, so we had to use paper forms, and the instructor was late–which set the tone. The Saturday morning vinyasa was uncomfortably full. What’s the point of class limits anyway? Guess people don’t need their space here.

It was like a sweatshop: rows of people stacked mat-to-mat. There were approximately 60 people in a regular, studio-sized room that typically accommodates 20. Isn’t this the point of wait lists?


Overall: Needs improvement

“Factory” aptly applies here. There was zero interest in the individual experience. Here, it was about quantity and volume, i.e., packing people mat to mat.