You don't need to pay for expensive lessons

Yoga on a Budget

by Joanne Guidoccio

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Yoga is big business. According to a 2012 "Yoga in America" study conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys USA:

  • 20.4 million Americans practice yoga (8.7 percent of the adult population), an increase of 29 percent from the 2008 figure of 15.8 million.
  • $10.3 billion was spent on yoga classes and products, up from $5.7 million in 2008.
  • Of the current non-practitioners, 44.4 percent are interested in trying yoga.

The study didn't focus on the reasons why these non-practitioners have not tried yoga, but procrastination and finances are likely to be at the top of the list. When people tighten their budgets, health clubs and hobbies are the first to go. And if they haven't tried a particular sport or activity, they may table it indefinitely.

You can pick up a book or DVD and learn yoga, but you are missing out on invaluable advice and direction from a qualified practitioner. She will demonstrate proper breathing and guide you into poses correctly, preventing unnecessary frustration and injuries. But this yoga instruction can be expensive.

If you are not ready or able to make any financial commitment, sign up for free introductory lessons. Many studios will offer a free lesson to visitors at the beginning of each season. In fairness to the studio, you should inform them that you don't have the resources to buy lessons.

Related: Low Cost Fitness in Retirement

Visit stores that feature sports, exercise, or yoga clothing. Ask if they know of any free or low-cost classes. They'd rather see you spend your money on clothing than on lessons.

Search for donation-based studios in your city. In addition to running fee-based classes, these studios will offer several weekly sessions that have no set fee. Sometimes there is a recommended donation of $5, but most studios will gratefully accept whatever you can offer.

When you feel comfortable with your breathing and postures, start a home practice. Aim for two to three sessions weekly. If you need further reinforcement, search for free DVDs and downloads. Google "Free Yoga Downloads for Beginners" and you will get over five million results. Alternatively, you could borrow yoga DVDs from your local library.

Once you make the decision to take up yoga, share your intention with everyone in your circle. You will be amazed at what follows:

  • A phone call from a friend informing you about a summer or holiday special for unlimited yoga.
  • A flyer about "Free Yoga" offered by a newly-minted instructor.
  • A yoga pass or punch card for ten lessons slipped into your birthday card.
  • A stack of yoga DVDs at a garage sale.

Reviewed November 2017

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For 31 years, Joanne Guidoccio taught mathematics, computer science, business and career education courses in secondary schools throughout Ontario. Her articles, book reviews, and short stories have been published in newspapers, magazines, and online. She has bachelor's degrees in mathematics and education and a Career Development Practitioner diploma. Visit her website at

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