I loved this post from Chicagonow.com's BrokeAss Blog about how to get your yoga in without emptying your wallet. Of course, the suggestions are specifically for the Chicago area, but I think we can take their ideas and make them work no matter where you live. Yoga is expensive if you're willing to pay the fancy studio prices, but if you're a little creative you can get all (or at least most) of the studio benefits for a fraction of the cost.
1. Take advantage of new student specials. If you live in an urban area with a lot of health clubs and gyms, you can get your yoga on for free for a LONG time by simply trying out something new and taking advantage of the introductory offers. Many studios and teachers offer their first class for free or reduced rates, and gyms sometimes offer free weeklong passes for anyone who wants to give them a try. Does this compromiseyour comittment to asteya, non-stealing? I think not! Teachers, studios, and health clubs offer free trials to get you through the door and they know you might not come back.
2. Look for yoga in non-traditional venues. If you do a little research, you might discover there are affordable yoga classes at your local parks, libraries, or community centers. Ask a yoga teacher you know who is involved in the local yoga community, or just pick up the phone and call the city to ask.
3. Seek out work study programs. Many studios will agree to let you take classes for free if you agree to man the front desk, sweep the floors, or neatly organize their props at the end of the class.
4. Trade Your Services for Classes. Even if your local studio doesn't have a work trade program, you might be able to barter with individual teachers in exchange for classes. Are you a trained yoga teacher? Maybe you could offer to assist one class a week. Do you have marketing skills? Maybe your teacher needs help promoting himself. The possibilities are endless!
5. Practice at home. A home practice (whether you use your own sequence, a DVD, or a an online video) is not the same as getting guidance from an in-person teacher, but in a lot of ways it's just as important. Test your own boundaries. Really pay attention to your body's signals. Empower yourself to listen to your intuition and the practice you need.
What ways do you save money without compromising your yoga practice? Are there any creative programs in your area that offer yoga at reduced prices?