Thursday, 3 January 2013

We’ve all been there, right?  Those moments when money is tight and you have to carefully consider your priorities.  For me, yoga has always been a priority.  Despite the expense, I’ve forked out the cash again and again and forgone that new pair of shoes, or the much needed haircut, or eating for a few days.  When I got an email reminding me that my monthly yoga pass was about to expire, I looked at my bank account and realised that I wouldn’t be going to a yoga class today. 

So what do you do when you can’t afford to go to a class?  Yoga is expensive, I know, especially at studios where membership is not an option and you find yourself paying anywhere between $15-22 per class, even if you buy a package. 

Options for the poverty-stricken yogi!


Youtube is amazing, don’t you know?  There’s everything on there from 10 minutes clips by Tara Stiles to full classes over an hour long by some great yogis.  Best of it, it’s all free.  Roll you mat out in your living room, tell you partner, or housemate, or children that you need a bit of time to yourself (that’s if they can’t be persuaded to practice with you!) and put the pets in another room (trust me on this, cats have a sixth sense about the unfurling of a yoga mat and they will find you).  All you need is your computer and your mat.  Heck, you don’t even really need a mat – even a nice bit of carpet will do!  Search for a particular style of yoga or your favourite teacher and see what can find. 

Myyogaonline and Other Paid Wonders

Myyogaonline, Gaiam TV, Yoga Glo and Yoga Vibes are all available to you for a very small cost.  For as little as $10-$20 per month you have access to professional videos by a wide range of yoga, pilates and dance teachers.  If you can’t afford $10 a class, but can find $10 extra in your clothing/booze/party budget, give it a go.

Community and Volunteer classes

A number of studios offer free or by donation classes led by student/new teachers, or simply good souls who want to donate their time to the studio.  Also look to your local community centres to see if they have similar options. 

LuluLemon Free Classes
Let’s face it, LuluLemon is slowly taking over the world.  With multiple stores in Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Australia and NZ, if you live in a major city, there’s a good chance there’s a Lulu near you.  All LuluLemon stores offer free community events including running clubs, pilates and yoga.  If you don’t mind doing your Downward Dog in between rows of brightly coloured tank tops, take advantage and get to know some local yoga teachers.

You Most Likely Know a Yoga Teacher

If you are well acquainted with a yoga teacher, ask them if they will teach you, either at your home or theirs.  Offer them baked goods, a massage, a beer, babysitting – anything that you can afford to offer them in thanks for the generous gift of their time.  Or get your friends together and chip in a bit of cash each for a group class. 

You Are Your Own Teacher

Just practice. Roll out your mat and just practice.  You can do it.  If you’ve been to just one yoga class you can do it.  This may involve simply doing Sun Salutation A for 5 minutes followed by a bit of stretching and Savasana, but you’re still practicing. 

Never forget, yoga may be constrained by finances, but it need not be sacrificed to limited time.  If you’re a hard-core student of Ashtanga, I know you’d really prefer to dedicate at least 2 hours a day to practicing the full series, but for everyone else who doesn’t have that kind of time, allow yourself to acknowledge that a 20 minute practice in the morning before going to work is totally acceptable.  An hour’s practice is great but don’t bash yourself up if you only fit in 45 minutes before you have to rush out to that party or dinner date.  If your child naps for half an hour and that’s all the time you have to get on the mat, you have still practiced yoga, so take it and be grateful for it.  

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