Yoga’s popularity in the western world makes it a natural cash grab. As many as 15 million Americans and 1.5 million Canadians practice yoga on a regular basis. With that many people willing to spend money on the activity, we’re going to see it get more and more expensive as the years go on.
It is for this reason that I would like to share with you some advice on how to practice yoga without breaking your budget. I have heard so many of my friends say that they want to start doing yoga but cannot justify the cost. I’m not going to lie, it’s expensive. I currently spend about $100 a month on my yoga classes. The only way I can justify the expense is because I get some of that back from a wellness program at my work.
However, if you’re willing to get creative, yoga can be much, much cheaper than you might think. You just have to do a little bit of research.
- Introductory packages: My best friend once proposed the idea of ‘yoga-hop’. No that is not a combination of yoga and hip-hop (though yoga and hip-hop is apparently a thing) it refers to hopping around various studios in the city to use their introductory packages. Most studios have a first time deal of one week to one month of unlimited classes for next to nothing. If you find 12 studios in your area (there are way more than that in Toronto) you can hop around the city for u up to a year taking advantage of these deals. You’ll enjoy regular practice for pennies!
- Energy exchanges: Many yoga studios in the city have an ‘energy exchange’ program. That means that they allow you to volunteer at the studio for between 2 and 4 hours a week in exchange for free classes. I’ve heard of a lot of people doing this. I know it might sound like a sort of indentured servitude, but you get to be an active part of the community at your studio without having to pay for a single class. If you have the time to do a few hours of cleaning each week, you may as well offer your services in exchange for yoga. Even if your studio does not have a formal program like this, it can’t hurt to make the offer anyway.
- Wellness programs: Most companies offer some sort of wellness reimbursement program, or access to free classes or gyms. Ask your HR department about what types of wellness programs are available to you. If your firm does not have a wellness program, it can’t hurt to suggest it. Wellness programs are rapidly becoming common place.
- University and college gyms: If you are a student, ask the fitness centre at your school about cheap or free yoga classes that they offer. I did a lot of cheap yoga classes while I was at University of Toronto. If you are a U of T student, check out Hart House and the Athletic Centre for more information.
- Yoga at home: You can always do free yoga videos in the comfort of your own home. Here is a great site with a lot of free classes to get you moving. I do however, suggest that you attend a few classes at a studio before practicing at home, just so you can get the hands-on interactive experience of a class setting. Also, if you do a yoga video that ends up being too advanced for you, you can risk injuring yourself.
- Community classes: Kula yoga studio and Yoga Tree studios each have weekly economy classes for those who are on a budget. Check out various studios in your area to see if they have something similar. Also Lululemon offers free weekly yoga classes. Talk to the Lululemon in your area for more information.
Don’t let your budget stand in the way of your health. There are lots of ways to get active without breaking the bank. Don’t be afraid to get creative and ask questions about ways to get moving. If you have any questions or suggestions please share them in comments.