It’s hard not to roll my eyes as I see them easily dropping $15 on a gourmet coffee, designer cupcakes, or a ridiculously overpriced cocktail. Not there’s anything WRONG with that. I love’s me a cupcake or cocktail now and then.
But I think it’s more accurate for people to say: “I choose not to make yoga a priority”. Let’s be honest here: it’s a lot easier to grab a few cupcakes and head home to watch True Blood than it is to take 75 minutes to face that yoga mat in class. yes! That little yoga mat is an unforgiving mirror, reflecting back at you all the you’ve been neglecting to do for your mental, physical and spiritual health. It’s probably harder to face up to our psychic junk on the mat than it is to pay the $15 for the class.
Throughout 2011, I ran my own yoga studio full time on Melrose Ave. Our software at the studio had a report you could run called “Big Spenders”. You’d be surprised to see who those people were. They were not wealthy executives. They were younger and not earning a lot of money. For example, our top spender on class passes, a mat and drinks/snacks was actually a younger, 20-something guy with 4 roommates, waiting tables and riding a bike to the studio because he couldn’t afford a car. I think that perhaps people who are truly living on less, with less, somehow see the value of the yoga classes even more. They understand the value of the mental clarity, the immune system boost, the increased strength/flexibility, and most of all, the ability to soothe anxiety about wavering income or employment.
I have a close friend was down to her last few dollars, couch-surfing at friends’ houses, but continued to stick with her yoga classes because of the peace and community they offered her. Yoga kept her mind sharp and clear, kept her spirit up, and probably helped her excel in an interview for a great job she got later.
It’s true–yoga is a big, multi-billion dollar industry. But the designer clothing, gear, yoga teacher trainings (especially those with “celebrity teachers”) and exotic retreats are expensive aspects of the industry, not the average class. Distill things down to just you, your t-shirt/sweatpants and your local studio. You could structure things a lot of different ways to keep your costs down:
- Limit your attendance to just 4 classes per month. Studies show that even taking one yoga class per week has shown to make incredible improvements in health and well-being.
- Almost all yoga studios have class passes you can buy in bulk that discount the price of classes considerably. They also have great introductory offers for new customers that make those passes even cheaper. A multiple class pass gives you the chance to try out a lot of different teachers until you find the one(s) you like the best. Chakra 5 had 5 and 10 class passes as well as a $50 introductory month of yoga.
- If you have your own business or work freelance, you can easily write off yoga classes as a health expenditure. We have lots of people who ask for an email receipt to be mailed to them for tax purposes.
- Check your local studio’s schedule for discount/community classes at certain times of the day or week. For example, Chakra 5 offered a $5 lunchtime yoga class. Many studios offer cheaper classes at off-peak times.
- Many studios offer a free or discounted first class. If you signed up on the Chakra 5 mailing list, we rotated out either a free class pass or $5 off products as our thanks to you for signing up.
- If you’re really and truly broke, ask your local studio if they have a volunteer program. You could earn free classes in exchange for a few hours of your time cleaning the floor or the mats, or answering phones.
- Look into asking your HR Manager to offer office yoga classes, which are a great write-off for companies. See more about Chakra 5’s “mobile approach” here: http://www.chakra5.la/#how-it-works
Reflect on a time in your life in which you were doing yoga regularly and how great you felt. Many people tell me about “better times” when they were earning more money and “splurged” on regular yoga classes. Ask yourself if your reluctance to take yoga again might have less to do with finances and more to do with your self esteem. Perhaps you got laid off and are now working a less-than-desirable job, or you foreclosed on your home. Now is the time to “cut way back” and scrutinize carefully “where I’m putting my pennies”, you say. If you find that you could include some yoga classes in your life again, what’s stopping you? Don’t you deserve to treat your body and mind as well as you did before? Perhaps you need yoga now more than ever.
So the real question is, how can you not afford yoga?