Sting and Madonna do it. Doctors recommend it. With celebrity endorsements, the promise of “yoga butt,” and $850 Gucci mats, it’s safe to say that the yoga industry has attracted big business. But does that mean you need to break the bank to get in on this popular body-sculpting fitness trend? Not if you exercise a few money-saving moves to find the most economical ways to practice yoga.
According to a 2008 Yoga Journal study, Americans spend more than $5.7 billion a year on yoga clothing, props, classes, vacations, magazines, and workshops. But with single classes averaging $17 to $20, can most people afford yoga? The ideal way to practice yoga is with the guidance of an experienced, qualified instructor. The ideal frequency to practice is every day. Assuming you practice just five days a week, though, that’s more than $300 per month! There are ways to afford yoga classes without draining your savings account. Consider some of the following cost-cutting options.
Seek Out Donation-Based yoga Classes and Studios
Some studios offer donation-based classes with no suggested minimum donation. The money often goes to a specified nonprofit organization. Additionally, there are studios that are entirely donation-based, such as Black Swan Yoga in Austin, Texas. Black Swan has a suggested donation of $10 to $15 per class, but students are asked to just donate what they can. Donations reimburse the teachers who rent the studio space. Be sure to look for community classes, yoga in the park series, and classes held at community colleges for more free or inexpensive classes.
Ask About Discounted Yoga Classes
Are you a college student or a senior citizen? Find out if your local studio offers a discount and you could save around 20 percent on a class pass (discounts vary–call around to compare costs).
Ditch the Single-Class Yoga Passes
It’s the Costco principle–buy in bulk to save more money. And it’s every bit as true with yoga classes as it is with cereal. The more classes you purchase, the lower the cost per class. Some studios offer unlimited passes that are great for daily practitioners.
Let’s consider the math using the following rate structure:
- Single yoga class: $17
- 8 yoga classes: $108 ($13.50 per class)
- 20 yoga classes: $229 ($11.45 per class)
- Unlimited yoga pass: $99 per month
If you go twice per week (eight times per month), the 20-class pass is the cheapest option, at $11.45 per class. The unlimited pass would come to $12.38 per class. But if you go three times per week, the unlimited pass is the most economical, costing $8.25 per class, less than half the cost of buying classes individually.
However, before you commit to buying in bulk, be sure you are likely to go as often as you plan – and be sure you understand the terms for class passes and unlimited memberships. If you buy a 20-class pass and rarely go, you might lose unused classes after six months (though in most cases, they will let you roll unused classes over to a new pass).
Work in Trade for yoga classes
Many studios offer work-in-trade opportunities, giving you credit for classes and workshops if you have a skill that they could use. Examples include graphic design, writing, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, and painting. It’s worthwhile to ask if your skill can earn yoga class credits!
There’s certainly nothing wrong with a home-based practice, but don’t give up practicing in a class without exploring your local yoga community to see how you can reduce the cost of classes. Yoga might be a billion-dollar industry, but you don’t have to break the bank to get feedback on your downward dog.