Monday, 23 July 2012

Yoga on the Cheap

David Swenson - my yoga hero.

Yoga and I have enjoyed an on again, off again relationship for the last 15 years. Getting divorced seemed like as good a season as any to get reacquainted with this old friend. The biggest barrier to attending classes regularly, for me, is cost. The yoga studio down the street, for example, charges $17 for a 90-minute drop-in session. You can get a bit of a discount with bulk passes, but it's still upwards of $12/class unless you sign up for a monthly unlimited membership. I had thought of splurging and doing just that, but when I crunched the numbers, I realized that the $90/mt price tag is just too steep for my budget.

So, I went on a quest to find yoga on the cheap. These are my finds:

1. Special new student offers

Many yoga studios will offer a significant discount on your first class. Others offer an inexpensive rate for your first week or month. The studio down the street for me has a $20 for 1 week unlimited yoga package. I recently took advantage of this offer, and managed to fit in 5 hatha yoga classes, 1 yoga nidra class, and 1 meditation class.

2. Passport to Prana

Passport to Prana (~$30, depending on your city) allows you to access one trial yoga class at numerous studios across the city. It's a great way to try out many new studios without needing to make a big financial commitment. The passport expires one year after purchase.

3. Check out your local gym

Many mainstream gyms (e.g. GoodLife, YMCA) offer yoga classes as part of their regular membership package. Often, the monthly gym fees are about half of what you would pay for membership at a yoga studio.

4. Community centres

Yoga is quite popular right now, and the demand means more and more community centres are offering affordable classes for the general public.

5. Yoga DVD’s

Yoga DVD’s can be a nice way to fit in an at-home workout at a convenient time. For a little variety, check out your local library's collection. My favourite yoga DVD is David Swenson’s Ashtanga Primary Series (completing the entire series is on my bucket list).

A word of caution: The primary concern with yoga videos is that the absence of a teacher can lead to potentially injurious posturing. If you are a beginner, it is worth signing up for an introductory class to learn the basics.


Two-week free trial advertised here. Members can stream unlimited classes while in the comfort of their living room. What I love about this idea is that it fits in very nicely with my chaotic work schedule. I haven't tried it yet, but a close friend subscribed a while back and just adores the program.

7. Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 DayExercise Plan

I bought my copy about fifteen years ago when I was a high school student who couldn’t touch her toes. For $11 and a time investment of less than 30 mins/day, it’s not a bad deal.
(And, yes, now I can touch my toes. In fact, I have become flexible to the point that people make comments while I stretch at the gym. Thank you, Mr. Hittleman.)


  1. Did my first Yoga on the Hill session today and thought of you :) Totally going to incorporate free/cheap yoga into my routine whenever I can :)

    1. I would love to try yoga on the hill! Maybe next time I am in town. :-)