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You’ve read about the benefits of yoga: more flexibility, strength, energy, vitality—and less anxiety, stress, and injury. But even with all this good stuff, you’re concerned with the hefty price tag. With some private studios charging expensive monthly membership fees, it can be hard to rationalize the financial commitment to a regular yoga practice. The good news is there are lots of free, discounted, and valuable resources that exist for you to start getting into yoga.
1. Find Low-Cost Classes
Many yoga studios offer community classes at discounted rates. Community classes typically range from $5–$10 and and are often scheduled during off-peak hours. Some yoga studios offer special class rates to full-time students, school teachers, and seniors. Donation-based studios continue to pop up, with many asking students to pay what they can to attend class. Outside of a yoga studio setting, you can also seek out low-cost classes at gyms, community centers, universities, and churches. When the weather is nice, see if yoga is offered outdoors in a local public place by staying connected to local studios and upcoming community events.
2. Score Membership Deals
Check out daily deal and discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial to see if any nearby studios are offering steeply discounted membership deals. It’s also a good bet to call around to studios and see if any offer a new student promotion. New student promotions can sometimes include up to one or two weeks of unlimited yoga classes for not much more than the average cost of a single drop-in class. Once you’ve passed new student status, consider buying class packages. It’s a big up-front cost, but packages will drive down the cost of each regular class by at least a few bucks.
3. Work for Free Yoga
Do you have a little extra time and energy to work in exchange for free yoga classes? Ask nearby studios if they have a work exchange program or would consider starting one. As a volunteer, your work would include tasks like checking in students before class, cleaning the studio, and tidying up after class. In exchange you get free classes!
4. Go Digital
Digital resources including yoga apps, online classes, and on-demand TV offerings have major benefits such as being inexpensive, private, and available whenever you want. But note that if you’re new to yoga these tools really can’t replace the benefits of learning from a knowledgeable teacher or the community created in a class setting. If digital classes are your jam, consider signing up for a beginner workshop series or taking at least one beginner yoga class each week to build a solid and safe foundation for your at-home yoga practice.
Once you have a solid, safe foundation for your practice, there’s enormous value in just unrolling your mat, turning on some music, and moving through whatever poses feel great in the moment. If you listen to your body carefully, you’ll realize you have a lot more to teach yourself than you expected. And, of course, that sort of learning is completely free!
This piece was originally published on Wanderlust.com on April 2, 2015.
Emily O’Brien is a writer, student, and yoga instructor based in Boston. She practices and teaches yoga from a place of inquiry, connection, and humor. When she’s not on her own mat, she’s working on her graduate degree, writing, and embarking on nature adventures with her dog.