Ahh, yoga, you’re so good for us but you can be so downward-dog-darned expensive. If I had a ten-class card for every time someone’s asked me for tips on how to do yoga on the cheap, I’d be yoga-rich! Let’s face it, yoga classes at $15-$20 a pop can really add up, especially if you’re trying to oblige those doctors, chiropractors, and health practitioners pushing you to start a daily practice. According to a 2015 study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga’s popularity has experienced a sharp incline in the years since 2007 — about 10 percent of American adults now practice yoga — and it wouldn’t surprise me if those numbers were higher in the Valley, where yoga studios abound. As yoga moves increasingly into the mainstream wellness world, more and more people grapple with ways to make it work for their wallets, so here are some tips for doing yoga cheaply in the Valley.
∎ First, find an inexpensive yoga base.
Gyms and community centers can be a fabulous resource in the affordable yoga department. Memberships at local YMCAs, gyms, and athletic centers cost between $35 and $50 a month, but the memberships typically buy access to unlimited classes. With many of them now offering at least one yoga class a day, if you milk that membership for what it’s worth then that averages out to about $2 a class.
As far as these options go, you get what you pay for — ambiance and available yoga equipment take a hit. Sure, you may have to tune out the two guys chatting about what they’ve just benched as you’re working on your savasana, but yoga is, after all, about making peace with what you have and you’ll still leave class feeling far better than you did before.
Some of us have been doing yoga long enough to get along with a home practice, but even still, it’s good to get out of the house sometimes and get a mental refresh on yogic best practices. That brings me to my next point.
∎ Use community classes to supplement that base.
Many turn to yoga for stress relief. The right lighting, music, and atmosphere can
help to ease tension, and in this area the studios certainly have the gyms’ yoga classes beat. Luckily, several local studios offer community yoga classes, which provide a weekly opportunity to take a class in their space at a much reduced rate. If money is tight I suggest relying on your most affordable base, but once a week — or as finances allow — venture out so you don’t get stuck in a yoga rut.
Here are some community classes to take advantage of: 5:30-7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Saturdays at Ananda Yoga in Hadley (class by donation), 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Sundays at Shiva Shakti in Northampton ($8), 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Fridays at Breathe in Wilbraham ($6), and 12-12:45 p.m. on Wednesdays at Green Fields Market in Greenfield ($5)
∎ Also, take advantage of the Valley’s more inexpensive classes to supplement your at-home or in-the-gym practice.
I often measure affordability in increments of large pies — I know I can afford a yoga class if it costs about the same as a cheese pizza.
Class cards and memberships at yoga studios can be too much of a financial commitment for many of us, so a studio’s drop-in rate heavily impacts its accessibility. Here’s a list of Valley studios that offer drop-in classes for under $15 per class:
Serenity Yoga in South Hadley (drop-in rate: $14), Ananda Yoga in Hadley (drop-in rate: $14), Karuna Yoga in Northampton (drop-in rate for one hour class: $12), Breathe Yoga in Wilbraham (drop-in rate: $14), and Karma Yoga in West Springfield (drop-in rates: $8-14)
∎ Ask a studio about work exchange.
Studio owners and yoga teachers probably have nightmares about cleaning yoga mats. Make their dreams come true by offering to help after class in exchange for discounted rates!
∎ Bring your own mat, towel, and water.
Some studios, like Shiva Shakti, charge extra for mats, towels and water bottles. Sure, $2 isn’t a lot, but it adds up over time, so be sure to invest in a mat of your own. And don’t forget a towel and your water bottle if you’re heading to a hot class!•
Did we miss something? Chime in with your suggestions online, or contact Amanda Drane at firstname.lastname@example.org.