I had a conversation with a co-worker the other day about how he was interested in starting yoga but was deterred by the cost. This conversation seems to come up often, and it’s a fair point when you see how much money some people pour into the clothes, the gear, and monthly passes. But I assured him that there are ways to do yoga affordably.
While some people try to get into yoga completely on their own through online videos, I do encourage making a small initial investment in beginner level classes. This is mostly for safety but also for learning the terminology. Yoga uses your body weight to build strength. Just as you need to learn the proper way to lift free weights, you need to learn proper form in postures to prevent injuries. Having an experienced teacher provide initial guidance will have continuing benefits beyond trying to figure it out on your own.
Thankfully, there are always deals through Groupon, Living Social, and other daily deal websites locally that make the cost of entry much more affordable. I’ve seen deals like 10 classes for $50. And then, some studios offer an introductory price with unlimited yoga for a week at $20.
Now, if you can swing $100, there are beginner’s series that meet twice a week for a month. This is the perfect opportunity to be learning the ropes with other beginners to get the proper introduction to the practice.
One of the many great benefits of living in a yoga-friendly city like Austin is you can always find some kind of free yoga event or community class available throughout the year.
Free Day of Yoga already passed on Labor Day, but there’s usually another one in the spring. Lululemon stores regularly host free classes each month. Athleta stores (I’m waiting for them to come to Austin!) also host free weekend classes. Austin Parks & Recreation hosts Yoga in the Park downtown in the spring and fall.
Once you get a few classes under your belt, there are a couple ways to maintain a practice affordably. Buying a regular pass at a studio brings the cost per class down to the $10-$13 range. If you don’t want to or can’t commit to 20 classes, there are some donation-based studios who recommend $10 a class that you can pay at the door.
The other way requires self-discipline. You can practice at home with the help of podcasts, books, and online videos. Finding good free ones are the tricky part. But it can be done!
As more time goes by and you become more experienced with different postures and flows, you could take your practice completely independently. The only cost then would be your time and maybe replacing a worn mat from all the yoga you’re doing.