The Anti-Gym Membership: AFFORDABLE YOGA

Taking care of my body and mind is a top priority in my life, and yoga is one of the best ways that I accomplish this daunting feat. I love, love, LOVE yoga. It packs the one-two punch of quieting my mind and tightening my body simultaneously. In the world of a busy 26 year old girl, multi-tasking is invaluable. I want to come home from work and clear my mind, but I also want dance on the weekend with assurance that I’ve got more moves than my arm jiggle.  Yoga helps me sleep well at night, strengthens my core (goodbye back pain), decreases bloat, and keeps me mentally sane (which is important if you want to build and maintain healthy relationships with people). Unfortunately, everything comes with a price—and the price of a yoga membership is too high for me.  My goal for this post is to help you see that while there are positive aspects of attending a yoga class at a studio, there are also good reasons to exercise your yoga practice as a free agent.

Price: Monthly memberships to yoga studios typically fall between $95 and $150.  This means that having access to a yoga studio with a “real” teacher could cost you between $1,000 and $1,500 a year.

However, there are many yoga apps now that cost less than $5.00, and DVDs can be bought for less than $15.00.  You could purchase a variety to keep you entertained and meditating for the entire year using less money you would spend on one month’s membership at a yoga studio!

*Cost includes purchase of yoga mat

*Cost includes purchase of yoga mat. Also note that the “per year” price reflects the “discounts” that are sometimes offered when consumers buy a larger package, such as a 3 month or 1 year membership.

Scheduling:  When your yoga practice takes place at a yoga studio, classes and times are set. You will need to adjust your life to fit their schedule. You might buy a monthly pass and feel good about the price because you have promised yourself that you will go to class five times a week. Easy enough—but sometimes trying to mesh your life and all its components with the studio’s set schedule becomes a stressor in itself. What happens when the only class time that works for you is also the time that you were going to meet your girlfriends for happy hour, have dinner with your boyfriend, go to that concert you’ve been dying to see, or tailgate with your friends? If you don’t go to yoga class, you feel like you are wasting your money, but if you do go to class you might be missing out on some other really great parts of your life.

However if you are a free agent yogi, class happens whenever and wherever you want it to happen. You also have the option of practicing alone or inviting your friends to join you! This eliminates all potential for schedule-related stress, and you will likely be able to practice yoga more frequently and have more money left over at the end of the month to put anywhere you please!

How to Create your own Yoga Environment: You can build your own yoga studio anywhere using only three items: a yoga mat, a reflection (optional but I’ve found it helps me with my form—use a mirror or glass door—get creative!), and an instructor of your choice—DVD, app, fitness OnDemand, routine found in your favorite fitness magazine, or a talented friend—could all act as your teacher. If you need some recommendations, my favorite DVD is Body By Bethenny, and my favorite app is Yogastudio. Both provide me with a great out-of-studio yoga experience, and in case you are worried about my intentions, nobody is paying me for praise. I simply love using them and do so on a weekly basis.

Over the years I have successfully chair-posed and backbent in small apartments, my dorm room, basements, and patios. Right now it is over 100 degrees in my backyard, and my patio has become my sweaty yoga oasis.

Over the years I have successfully chair-posed and backbent in small apartments, my dorm room, basements, and patios. Right now it is over 100 degrees in my backyard, and my patio has become my sweaty yoga oasis.

Remember that we are all different, and it’s likely that each of us will find the most happiness in our own unique yoga environment. I know that I can’t have a phone within eyesight, and feel better if I flow outside. The key is to learn what works best for you, and find a way to make that environment your personal yoga studio reality.

Compromise: For those of you that love the atmosphere of being in the studio with an instructor and can’t stay out of there forever, compromise with your wallet. Many yoga studios will offer daily deals, new member specials, and Groupon features. If you value this experience, take advantage of the deals when they are happening. You can join class every once in awhile without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.



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