I was inspired to write this post because one of my students couldn’t afford his yoga membership anymore. Whether you’re a starving student, transitioning between jobs, or out of an unhealthy relationship, I think a lot of us have been in a situation where we couldn’t afford yoga and usually that’s a time when you need it the most.
Thankfully Vancouver, a city consistently rated as one of the best places to live in the world, is also a mecca for yoga.
- Lululemon Community Classes: Every week, lululemon stores and showrooms push their products aside, unroll yoga mats and turn their spaces into instant yoga studios. Classes are complimentary and lead by instructors from local studios in your community. Click here to find a store near you: http://www.lululemon.com/community/giftofyoga
- Karma Yoga Classes – Some studios such as Semperviva, Yyoga & Unity Teahouse will offer free or by donation classes with proceeds going towards charity. Keep an eye out for these types of classes on the schedule at your yoga studios.
- Passport to Prana – If you want to try different yoga studios, Passport to Prana is a great value. For only about $30, it gives you one class at several studios across the lower mainland. This is my second year buying P2P – the first year my classes ended up only costing me about $2/class. To see a list of the participating studios and to order you pass on line, click here: Passport to Prana
- Intro Passes – Many studios will offer wicked unlimited trial offers if you are new to the studio or haven’t been practicing there for at least a year. Check online to see what they are.
- Social Shopping Sites – If you haven’t heard of Groupon, Social Shopper, Ethical Deal, and Living Social. You have a lot to look forward to. I’ve been seeing a lot of great deals come up for yoga passes on these. One thing to look out for is that if something looks too good to be true, it usually is. I once worked for a studio that was selling passes for cheap, but ended up going under within one month. Make sure that when you are buying that the business looks established, legit and is not selling an excessive amount of these online coupons all the time as there’s a chance they may be looking for ways to float their cash flow.
- Working as a Karma Yogi – Some studios may be looking for karma yogis who work in exchange for free yoga. The arrangements will vary depending on the needs of the studio and your relationship with them, but tasks could include cleaning, laying out mats, crowd control, or working behind the desk, etc.
- Communicating with your studio in hardship – If there is an extenuating circumstance that is leaves you in a position where you can no longer pay your membership dues, (I.e.. Accident, job loss, poverty, etc.) make sure you talk to your studio. Studio owners are yogis and they tend to be willing to help where they can. This could mean working out a payment plan, deferred payment or even karma yoga until you get back on your feet. The Robert Lee YMCA, where I teach offers financial assistance to people who meet a certain number of qualifications. 1 in 8 members are being assisted in some way to ensure our community is getting the exercise they need.
- Internet Yoga – Amazing how fast technology changes. A few years ago I would have recommended a yoga DVD. but if you want variety you can subscribe to yoga websites who feature a lot of our favorite local yoga teachers. And yes, some of them have free and/or cheap trial offers. When I was a new yoga teacher, I used to study teaching techniques off the net. Here are a few that I like: Myyogaonline, Yogaglo & Yogotv.
- Personal Practice – Saving the best for last, personal practice is definitely the most convenient and cheapest way to practice. Even if it is only 15 minutes a day that you are coming to the mat on your own, there is a lot you can learn on your own. And if you haven’t cultivated the discipline quite yet, just call up one of your yogi friends and see if you can organize a session together in each others homes, on the beach or anywhere you can imagine.
Hopefully this post is of use to you or someone you know. If there are any other free or cheap ways to yoga in this city that I haven’t covered, please feel free to share them here.
I am teaching a free 2 part workshop at Lululemon Lab starting this Tuesday.
Mats are provided and no registration is required. If this is something that interests you, I would love to see you! More information provided here: