Having a Yoga Practice on a Budget
Nowadays the health benefits of yoga are no big secret. From reduced stress, increased flexibility, improved brain function, relief from chronic pain…with yoga you can’t really go wrong. Even traditional medical doctors are prescribing yoga to their patients as a holistic way to ease health conditions or just increase patients’ well being.
No doubt, yoga is the bomb. But what can be frustrating, especially to students just starting out is that it can be darn right expensive to get your zen on.
The average cost for a yoga class can range anywhere from $10-$20. In Austin, yoga classes lean towards the pricey side (lots of eager yogis to serve 😉). Being on a teacher salary, it isn’t realistic for me to pop $17 down at a local studio every time I want to bend it like Buddha. So I’ve come up with tricks over the years to have a regular practice without breaking the bank.
Here are 8 tips to have a regular yoga practice on a budget:
1.) Youtube it – Isn’t that the answer to everything nowadays? If you’re just getting started, well why not begin where everyone begins to learn something new from regrouting their tub to building a website? Sure, youtube has videos of all kinds of varying quality. But there are some really good ones on there that are a great place to start if you dig around. Yoga with Adriene seems to be a favorite, and over the years I have gone through phases doing youtube classes with Melissa West, Esther Ekhart, and my personal fave these days Tara Stiles. The nice thing is that since a lot of the videos are short and can be done in your own home, so you don’t have to commit a couple hours of your day to your yoga practice. Win win!
2.) Round round get around… – Many local studios offer introductory deals to new students with unlimited classes for the first month. Usually these intros are a steal compared to the cost of a traditional yoga package. Take advantage of this and get around to lots of studios. Then you’ll also get to know which teachers you dig so you can justify the $17 class in the future.
3.) Go to a meetup – If you aren’t already a member of meetup, well now’s the perfect time to join! Many cities have local yoga meetups with free or low cost classes. Often they are in fun outdoor locations too. Nothing better than feeling the breeze and sunshine when you’re in tree pose.
4.) Get a Gaimtv membership – This site is fan-spanking tastic and has a huuuuge online library of yoga classes ranging in difficulty, length, style, led by some of the world’s best teachers. There are also a lot of interesting documentaries available, but honestly I just use it for the yoga. At $9.95 a month a Gaimtv membership is a steal and less than the cost of one live yoga class. My absolute favorite yoga teacher on Gaim is Clara Roberts-Oss. If you get a membership, check her out! All her classes are amazing.
5.) Download it – Once you’ve had a chance to get a feel for the yoga teachers out there and have found some of your faves, see if any of them offer digital classes to purchase on their site. A really good $15 digital class is the gift that will keep on giving. I am a big fan of Tara Stiles‘ yoga philosophy and have purchased a few of her classes from her site and highly recommend them. My absolute favorite class of hers that I go back to again and again is this one.
6.) Donation time – The lack of affordable yoga has gotten some attention over the years, and thankfully has caused a wave of donation based studios to pop up across the country. Do a little research in your city and you may find some hidden gems that are just under the radar. If you are an Austinite, this site has a great list of local classes that are free or donation based. Black Swan Yoga is a local studio that is entirely donation based that not only has quality teachers, but some pretty fabulous music as well.
7.) Freestyle it up – The nice thing is once you’ve had a chance to try out different teachers, styles, and classes you’ll get a feel for what you like and how your body wants to move. It takes some time to get there so learn from your teachers as long as feels right. Once you feel you’re ready, make up your own flows based on how you’re feeling that day. Maybe your lower back is tight and you’re craving some hip openers. Or maybe you’ve had a stressful day at work and are in need of a few restorative poses.
If you are intimidated at the thought of making up your own routines, then I would highly suggest checking out Tara Stile’s book Strala Yoga. It allows you to approach yoga from a very easygoing way of tuning into your body and moving how feels good, without all the rigid rules that have a tendency to dominate a lot of yoga.
8.) Get some good tunes – This again is one to try once you’ve had a good amount of exposure to yoga, but once you are ready to freestyle your own routines, find some yoga playlists to inspire your practice. For me the music can make or break a flow for me, so I love looking for good yoga tunes. Find some good spotify playlists you dig or even better get creative and make up your own. I have 4 yoga playlists I made up on Spotify that you are welcome to…just search for mindypalmer and they should show up. 😀
I hope this helps you yogis out there! And just for fun I’ll leave you with some yoga humor from JP Sears: