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Yoga is Too Expensive, Or Why It Should Be Free

in Business of Yoga, YD News

Is yoga too free to be expensive? Or is that the other way around? Author and yoga dude Neal Pollack’s latest article could make an argument for either.

NP comes right out, though, and says yoga is too damn expensive, what with all the memberships, doodads, bootie pants and wonderlands we yogis spend money on each year, when the teachings are essentially free. A loaded word, free. Are we spending too much on yoga?

Via Yoga Journal:

Yoga is too expensive.

Classes at the top studios run $16 or $17 for drop-ins. In big cities, the $20 class is pretty common. I once paid $25 for a “master” class in New York City. Even if you go exclusively to donation-based studios—which generally means crowded, sweaty, impersonal classes, often taught by substitutes or trainees—you could still easily spend $100 a month on yoga. Day-long workshops run anywhere from $60 to $150, and weekend ones cost more than that. There are $800 conferences, $4,000 teacher trainings, and $1,500 retreats, not to mention clothing and mats to buy. Suddenly, you’re looking at a lifestyle that no one but the quite well-off can really sustain.

I know the reasons are many.  When practiced consistently, patiently, and well, yoga makes you feel better than anything else does. So, naturally, people want more. In a capitalist society, institutions will arise to profit from that desire. The corporations, moguls, and rock-star teachers who make millions off yoga are just working the system as best they can.

On a lower level, you have your neighborhood studios that are just trying to pay their bills. Yoga studios don’t tend to operate in low-rent areas. So they have to charge more. Some of them profit-share with their grunt yoga teachers better than others. Regardless, many teachers, at least the ones who are actually trying to do it for a living, end up working way too hard, offering too many classes while neglecting their own practices and forgetting the delightful reasons they took up yoga in the first place. I’ve seen it happen many times.

At the bottom of the food chain are the students, hungry for enlightenment or exercise or an end to back pain. Sometimes, they just need an excuse to nap in public. Especially when you’re first starting your practice, the benefits outweigh any costs.

NP adds that eventually, though, paying for yoga is like “filling up your gas tank” because it’s something you get used to doing to get you where you need to go. But maintains that the true teachings of yoga (at least philosophically) have always been free and that we should all be ashamed by our commodification, noting that even he, too, is guilty of the charge (he has his own yoga memoir on sale).

[…]the true teachings of yoga, at least the philosophical ones, always have been and always should be free. Exercise classes are one thing. But we should all be ashamed of abetting a system where so many people get priced out of the core principles. Tranquility of mind, the ability to let go of attachments, a feeling of empathy toward all things: these should be as cheaply absorbed as fresh mountain air.

The slope here is as slippery as the glaze on a factory-fresh yoga mat. As a yoga blog, we know. Perhaps yoga as an industry and as a culture will never be free, but we agree with Mr. Pollack that practicing alone can and will always be free for all.

Do you feel priced out of yoga? How do you stay in your yoga “budget”?

——

Earlier

75 comments… add one
  • At one point (a couple of years back), I estimated the many thousands of dollars I had spent on yoga classes over the years. All money well-spent, of course! But I look at those many, many classes as preparation for a lifelong skill I now possess, a skill I mainly choose to use to create my own flow at home. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going to class more than most things, but home practice is one of the best ways to keep yoga free.

  • Andy

    Yeah or practice the Ashtanga Primary Series by yourself at home and be set for life.

  • Amber

    I am absolutely in the arena of not being able to afford classes!! I don’t even own a car because the gas and payments, insurance, is just too much. I don’t own a big screen TV, I sleep on a bed that was given to me for free, my couch is a sofa we found next to a dumpster. Greyhound lost my bag of clothes so now I have only 3 pairs of underwear, which were on sale at Zellers thank goodness. All I have left are my “fat” clothes. I have been wearing out my summer dresses since that trip in march, which I paid for using my child tax money. Never would have been able to afford the yoga course I took there without that lump sum, so thank you revenue canada for losing my taxes and not sending me child tax for a year! I manage to do yoga one simple way: doing it at home. Anyway, I’d rather not go to the one studio in my town which is where they sell the lululemon that mostly non-yogis seem to wear…where the people going there are so fake they are gossiping about how awesome their green Buddha head statue is when they wouldnt know the difference between the real Buddha or the Hopi Buddha if you gave them the wiki link to read up on… I pray to be able to fundraise enough money so that I can become trained so that I can do things like offering FREE yoga classes to people like me. Unfortuneately I live in Canada and my parents were not rich, in fact they are still struggling to this day to pay their bills. In our society this means that I never had a very good chance at being successful. It is sad but true. Sometimes I really wish my parents had sent me to university instead of taking out my 700 resp to use for gambling debt, wish they could have put me into dance instead of selling my clarinet… I wish that they could offer me some support in the present as well… but I have to do it all on my own, without a regular class to attend, without a job because I am a dedicated stay at home mom. And I will do it and I will be amazing and BETTER than all the crazy price hiking instructors out there!! Yes, I give and I give and I give and then I cry and collapse and then I give some more and I dont care what anyone says, I will keep doing it until it kills me because through it all my parents did one thing right, they taught me to treat others how I want to be treated. And gosh darn it, I want affordable yoga!!

    • I highly recommend taking the path that I took: work study.

      Go to a teacher or studio — whomever you can find — and ask to take classes in exchange for work. In all of my days, I have done this. I’ve never paid cash for a yoga class. I have paid for a few workshops over the years (by saving up for them and paying cash), but I rarely go.

      I have always done work-study. At first, I cleaned the studio in exchange for classes. I was able to do 4 classes per week in exchange for cleaning after class. Later, I did greeting/desk work (taking money, counting up students and reconciling the money, and so on) and clean up in exchange for unlimited yoga.

      When I started training with my teachers, I was also assisting classes for free and later on, subbing classes for free. I was able to start a ‘community class’ and ‘yoga club’ at my university, too, which provided opportunities for me to practice teaching without having to worry about income. I took donations in order to pay for the venue, and I put a note on the box “The cost of this venue and the print outs to attract people to our class costs $30 per week. Please help me raise this amount so that I can continue to hold classes. Thanks!” Some weeks, I would have $50-60, which i *saved* to be able to pay for the weekend when I made $5-10. This is how I first started to understand how ‘business’ works in terms of yoga. Without a venue, I couldn’t teach (and it was too cold to use the park, though I would use the parks in Summer. 🙂 )

      You can do this without needing money. My “certification” was never an official program, but I can tell you that I learned a heck of a lot more than a program can provide. Working side-by-side with your taecher week in and week out is an amazing way to learn. You not only learn the breadth of yoga, you learn the depth.

      It’s fabulous.

      I highly, highly recommend it.

  • The focus of this article should really be:

    EVERYTHING IS TOO EXPENSIVE.

    For instance: I was watching Risky Business the other day and there’s a line where Joel & Miles are waiting in The Drake for Lana the call girl and Miles remarks about having to pay $4 for a hot chocolate. That’s about the right price if you get it in even your local boho coffee shop these days.

    Everything you do costs you money somewhere along the line. And everything’s getting more expensive. Thus it costs to do yoga because it costs to produce yoga.

    As a studio owner I struggle with the frustration of wanting to make yoga as accessible to all as possible (we have several $7 classes on our schedule) and knowing that my landlord, gas company, electric company and Vitacoco vendors like to be paid in USD$ and not good intentions or karma. For now, anyway.

    Another thing is this: Yoga used to be available only to men and boys of the brahmin class back in the olden days. Not women or girls. One thing Americans did was make it available for all. And in America you have to spend money to get things. For now, anyway.

    Also while plugging/shilling his own book with a little bit of shame, Pollack makes the point that most studios are just trying to get by. That is definitely the case with mine and all the studios I know of. I should really be pricing my single classes at $32 instead of working hard to hold them at $16. Any lower and I can’t pay my teachers let alone myself. Anything higher is just ridiculous especially in a poor, rural state like ours. We’re already the most expensive studio in Portland, Maine and not because we wear gold-plated lunghi’s into class. It’s because we’ve got the best teachers and staff and in order to stay open we have to pay the piper. And CMP. And Unitil. And Portland Water District.

    You know, I always tell people when they balk about paying for yoga to look at how much they spend for other things: booze, smokes, clothes, music. At the end of the day if you don’t have your health you can’t enjoy any of those things. A strong 401K doesn’t mean diddly if you can’t walk without limping, breathe or sleep. Yoga allows people to live their lives better and is an investment in the future not an exercise plan or get rich quick scheme (I love when people think I’m making mountains of cash off yoga. I showed them my car payments alone and they clam up pretty quick. I’m honestly wondering how to pay for tires for said car as well).

    I always tell people it’s up to them to make it a $16 or a $16,000 class. They heal themselves by doing yoga and making getting to their mat a priority. For the amount of time it’s actually a small investment in that it allows you to get the most out of the other 23 or 22.5 hours of the day.

    In all, it’s kind of a trivial article that fails to take in the bigger picture. But I’m glad I read it.

    Namastizzle!

    • Mmm… I just realized that we’re focusing a lot on demand, but too much supply (in terms of studios) is also part of the problem. Too many studios with too many instructors means that many of the classes are sparsely attended, which forces the price of the class to be higher to pay a living wage.

      There’s probably a natural ideal attendance rate of ~15 students in a class. Not so many that the instructor can’t still track of all of them and provide adjustments but not so few that the rental space isn’t paid for.

      I’ve actually been seeing downward pressure on studio classes due to the proliferation of studios where I live. I don’t think the current number of studios is sustainable. Eventually we might see some bankruptcies and then some more reasonable attendance rates.

      • Andy

        Too many teachers clamoring to get paid too. Studios need to make money so they put on these teacher trainings so there is a glut of teachers out there.

        • Honomann

          Too many poorly trained teachers f-ing up students via injury, poor ethics, and guru complex. Too many teacher training programs that spew out flow power core flavor of the week 24 hour fitness grade instructors.

      • This — and the number of teachers issue — is really a matter of the given market.

        Certainly, there are areas where this is an issue — the competition is truly *fierce* and it’s difficult to survive.

        And there are two areas where a studio needs to look at it’s market: retaining current students (and providing for them in the process as their practice progresses) as well as attracting brand new clients (who have never done yoga before). And then of course, really focusing in on those particular markets.

        In addition, most people bite off more than they can chew when starting out. Instead of ‘making do’ they ‘do up’ first. It happened to a studio here — which ultimately folded.

        Lets look at jivamukti for a moment — one of the most successful yoga businesses around. If you actually look at their history (they have spoken about it), they started by renting a relatively manky basement after their in-home classes got too full. They were able to rent it on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis, and Gannon was once quoted as saying she would go to class extra early to hang up saris on the walls and so on to make the place “decent” to practice in.

        As their class sizes grew, and they started to require more classes, they found another small basement which they could rent out and run as a small studio. As the classes continued to grow, they moved from the basement studio to the second-floor studio which was their first “fancy” studio. After several more years, their made it look really nice. And then several more years, they built their super-fancy pants place.

        Do you see how it was a progression? Start simple, then build up?

        Today, a lot of studio owners want to jump from nothing to fancy-pants, center-city place. They don’t understand their market (they might not even have a following or a sense of their market), and they don’t really understand the process of growing a business.

        I have seen business after business fold because people assume that if you build it, they will come — rather than really looking at how successful businesses are made by keeping costs *low* and providing a high value experience to the client (as well as how to attract the right kinds of clients to your business to begin with — and by “right” I mean the kinds that you want, not meaning that there are “right and wrong” people for yoga).

        As far as I can tell, there is only one studio here in Wellington whose costs are lower than mine, which increases her profit margin and her capacity for success. Since she only runs a yoga studio (classes), her model is different from mine, so I can’t complain. 🙂 Nevertheless, I planned the studio (and holistic health center itself) to have the lowest possible expenses so that the business could more quickly become sustainable.

        And, of course, the biggest hurdle was attracting the market, so it was really my marketing strategy that lead to this success — in combination with low over-head — that made the business *work* in as short a time as it has (which, mind you, surprised even me).

        So, while it is often an issue of supply/demand, the reality is that even in a very competitive market, it is possible to succeed and quickly reach sustainability with *good planning*. The problem is that most people aren’t planning, and even studio owners who do plan are not necessarily as adaptable as they may need to be.

        For example, I would say that offering several (more than one) $7 classes in a studio where classes generally cost $15 is a practice that undermines the value of classes in total. Those less expensive classes will grow, meaning a loss of income across other classes. A alternative idea would be to discern for yourself the best possible price for classes that bridges the gap — say a $11 class price — and see whether all of the classes would then normalize and grow at that price point.

        Say, for example, the $7 classes are always full at 20 students, earning $140 per class for the studio. The $15 classes are always lower — say 10 students per class — earning $150 per class.

        The desire of the studio is to have all classes running at 15 people. If the class cost $11 across the board, then the class of 15 people would earn $165. This way, you have two classes earning $165 rather than one earning $140 and one earning $150 based on price point.

        The price point overall is lower, but the number of students then gets higher. As the students then begin to fill the classes 9as the studio grows to 20 people per class) then the earnings per class goes to $220.

        If you have 20 classes across the schedule and 5 of them are $7 classes earning $140, and the remaining 15 are running at 10 students paying $15, then the weekly income is $700 plus $2250 = $2950. If you have all 20 classes at $11 at 15 people, then you are looking at $3300 per week.

        So the reality of the pricing here is that none of the classes are de-valued really, and the income increases overall because more people can afford to attend — or feel that they can because, hey, $11 is a good price.

        The client feels good about that price point, and the studio can make costs. If you can’t sustain your studio on $13,200 per month, then you need to reduce your costs.

        Which may mean moving to less expensive premises, finding ways to use less power (we moved our power bill from over $450 when we took over this business to $120 just by using the most simple measures), or having fewer teachers on staff and teaching more classes yourself as the owner (unless you cannot teach classes). It might also mean getting a real hold on the monetary “leaks” in your business — such as I notice many businesses don’t have clear “marketing budgets” and they just “pay for things as they need them” rather than really budgeting what they need when, and also noticing which marketing techniques *work* and which do not (ie, printing a ton of fancy schedules may not work or have a return on investment as high as the investment actually *is* whereas free marketing through online or print event listings will bring a massive ROI).

        I’m not saying this of this business owner. This is just throwing out a ton of ideas based on things I’ve seen and done — what I’ve learned.

        It is possible to be successful in a competitive market, offer high value, and also keep the price point work-able for the market *and* your business.

        It’s just that we keep getting hung up on what other studios do or don’t do, or hung up on our own ideas of “what must be done.”

        A community class or low cost class is a great thing, but if it ‘takes away from’ your regular classes — then it’s not helpful for the studio OR those students. If we think creatively about how to brdge those values, we can create a infinite number of options that will meet the needs of both the students and the business.

        • abbylou

          I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but what about the fact that students who want to attend 4 classes a week might be turned away because they don’t have $60 a week to spend on yoga. Work/study situations and free and low-cost classes are not always realistic for people like me who work full time.

          • But this comes back to the question of how many classes you want and can afford vs what you need and require.

            One class per week is a good number to keep the practice consistent and grounded (and get valuable insights from a teacher), and then you could practice the rest at home using a recording or whatever you’d like.

            Everyone needs to understand their budget — business owners and students alike. All 4 of my work-study people work full time, and I both worked part time and was a student full time when I did work-study. It was what I could afford, so it’s what I did. And when I couldn’t afford anything, I practiced at home.

            That’s just life.

          • abbylou

            I don’t know, Jenifer. Wouldn’t it be a more sustainable business model for a studio to have 200 members paying $80 – $100 a month to take several classes a week than for a studio to have say 50 people paying $15 per class taking one class per week? It seems like when people pay per class, they are more likely to skip classes, weeks, etc. I don’t own a studio but when I do go to the smaller studios or the community classes, there are usually never more than 7 people in the class.

            I don’t live in New Zealand, so I can’t comment on the work week. Here in the U.S., I think my schedule is pretty typical. I work from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. That really doesn’t leave a lot of time for a work-study situation.

            For students who want a purely physical practice that can be done in the comfort of their own homes, a video may be effective. The more time I have with my teacher, the better. I love the community aspect of attending classes. It’s sad to say, but yoga is really my only community outside of work.

          • abbylou

            Jenifer, my intention is not to discredit everything you say. I am an attorney for a government agency. My days are spent analyzing these kinds of matters.

          • I’m from the US myself, so I am clear on the work-week there, and was at the time when I was working part time, going to law school full time, and apprenticing as a teacher via work-study. (See, we have stuff in common!)

            Here, I work in the main down-town of the capital city. People work diverse hours depending upon their work and position, just as in the US. In fact, I don’t have *more* work-study people because they would rather pay to come and not have to worry about the commitment of arriving for a specific class day/time.

            In so far as analysis of how to have clients, it depends upon what the individual studio feels that s/he can build.

            In my own case, my primary focus is having people come one time a week, regularly. IN order to make the basic costs of a given class, I need 4.5 students per class. With 20 classes a week, the number of students I need to make this “break even” is 90 students.

            Is it difficult or easy to create a consistent, 90-client list for a studio? THat depends, doesn’t it?

            And of course, you have to understand the +/- attrition/retention rates for your studio. This is really about understanding your market and creating a consistent client base.

            If you notice that clients dont’ come weekly in a given pricing model, you can change the pricing model to encourage that behavior, or you can increase the number that you need — utilizing different marketing strategies.

            I have also noticed over the years the difference/functionality of a given mailing list vs the actual attendance. It’s usually 1/10th of the list in active attendance at a given time. Which means if you need 200 students, you’ll likely have 2oo active students when your mailing list (people who have taken a single class or workshop at the studio before) sits at 2000.

            The alchemy of hte price point is often what the market will actually bear.

            Regardless of the article, people/students *are* willing to bear these prices, and so those who feel comfortable working within these current market paradigms (i strive to work creatively as an extension out of these to reach un-tapped markets) follow that particular model.

            But, there is still opportunity for those who would do things under new models and creatively, really payign attention to *their own* market as opposed to “what other studios are doing” or “how it’s always been done” — which is what I see a lot of when I do business mentoring for yoga teachers and studios.

            Tht is to say, they charge $15 per class because such and such studio does. But, questions arise — how much are you as a teacher worth (new? experienced? should a student pay top dollar for someone who doesn’t really know what they are doing yet?), what sort of market do you seek to develop and work with, what does that particular, individual market look for in a class experience, price point, and so on — what do their lives look like and how do you best meet that market’s needs? From there, what price point *works*, what schedule *works* and how do you make it work for them, while also making the income that you need to cover your costs and create a sustainable business, and then from there, to pay yourself so that you can continue?

            I work a lot with these different ideas — getting the teacher/studio owner to uncover their underlying values, who their market is, and how they can best meet that market needs. Then they have to reach the market, attract them, and retain them — which grows the studio over time.

            I don’t feel that 90 people is insurmountable, though if I charged more per class — say 2x the amount (going rate for yoga here is 18-20 drop in, lowest package price at $16 on average), I would only require 45, but getting that 45 would be more difficult because the price point is beyond what many people in this market (in general) are willing to bear (other studios are starting to stagnate in their growth, and there are only 9 of us studios, two of which are run by guru organizations and charge $13-15 per class — our studio grows by about 3 students a week, whereas other studios have asserted that they grow by about 4-5 per month).

            Seriously, if anyone reading this is interested in business coaching “from the inside out” do contact me. I enjoy this stuff.

  • Doing yoga at home is nice but it’s also very nice to have both feedback from others, adjustments from the instructor, and the social setting. It’s nice to be around like minded people (and of course, like minded women). Doing an “Om” or chant at home just isn’t quite the same.

    What is surprising is that there’s not more yoga clubs around. You would think that there should be, since it’s an entirely natural activity to get together a group of like-minded individuals and practice as a collective, but it doesn’t seem to happen much. I was part of one at one point, and the main trouble seemed to be how reluctant most people were to chat about practice, let alone lead one.

    • Andy

      I agree it’s definitely preferable to go to a class with others, but I just am saying it IS possible to do your yoga on your own. Or you could buy a monthly yogaglo subscription—a whole month for the price of one normal drop-in.

      • I have a myyogaonline subscription, but again, a home practice isn’t complete. I did yoga (rarely) for about a year before heading into the studio and I had a lot of bad habits to iron out. I still have poor form in some major postures (like pincha) and need help to work through what I can’t easily see myself.

        The drudgery progress I make at home, but most “A ha! Eureka!” moments occur at the studio for me. Plus I push myself too hard at home whereas at the studio the instructor and fellow yogis help moderate my efforts and ego.

  • Great article. This is why I founded STRAND STREET YOGA — outdoor, donation-based classes in Santa Monica every Sat-Sun at 10am. My wish as an instructor is to make yoga accessible and affordable in an area where many people who would like to participate in yoga cannot always afford classes. I also believe that the teachings ought to be given away whenever possible and that yogis should have the option of paying what they feel any class is worth to them.

  • honomann

    Free classes?! How would the cute boutique 200 hour TT studios survive?

  • Feists

    I’ve taken advantage of Groupon specials, free community classes, donation classes and any free classes I can. My budget is limited. I personally cannot afford the Yoga studios prices. It is unfortunate that Yoga has become an expensive business. I have finally joined a nice gym that offers eight yoga classes per week along with all of the other ammenaties that the gym has to offer. The Yoga teachers are all certified and have been teaching/practicing for years. All this for the low price of $42.00 per month! I can now afford Yoga and it is at a reasonable affordable price!

  • Really? Let’s say golf. No- tennis, wait- hockey. okay – French. You need to buy/rent clubs/racquet/stick/book or dvds, pay a human to show you how (on screen or live). after that, you either pay to use a golf course/tennis court/ice rink/trip to France/Montreal. All those sports/ skills too uppity? How about clog dancing, or maybe soft ball, I dunno. Is it really a new concept that you have to buy the equipment used to perform an activity you want to learn and pay the person who is going to show you how? After that you either set something up at home or pay for space to play & practice. I don’t think this set up is a new yoga “thing”.

  • Moi

    For the cost of a class I buy a yoga dvd that I can practice with over and over and over.

  • abbylou

    I currently practice at a large studio that has locations in California and NYC. There are multiple classes that I can take every day that are suitable for my level of practice and fit into my schedule. I purchased ten months up front and got four months for free, which works out to $69 a month for unlimited classes. This required a big investment up front on my part, but forgoing coffee, bringing my lunch, and cooking dinner at home are worth it to save money for the yoga. The teachers are very knowledgeable and well-trained. Really, they are the best I have ever practiced with.

    i moved to where I currently live a few years ago. I lived in LA before where there were lots of good teachers and classes. Before the large studio opened up here, I tried taking classes with many different teachers. Most were all levels classes with a variety of students with different abilities and different limitations. Most of the students attended sporadically. This was not conducive to learning about asana, and the teachers had to spend so much time demonstrating and assisting with modifications that we never got around to philosophy, meditation or chanting. These classes weren’t that inexpensive. I also received some pretty shoddy instruction on form (e.g. I should do chatarunga with my elbows sticking out because I hyper-extend my elbows, go deep on backbends at the expense of my SI joint). I ended-up developing some terrible habits and minor injuries.

    I like the idea of taking classes at the small studio down the street from my house. The owners are very kind and sincere, but it’s too expensive: $16 per class or $138/month. Most of the classes are all level, and many are offered during the day when I am working. There really are only 2 classes a week that I could and would wish to attend. Seems awfully pricey to me!

    I think home practice is good and important, but not very effective as your sole means of yoga unless you have years of practice under your belt. It’s really easy to get hurt because you don’t understand the poses. Also, I think it would be really hard to discover your subtle body and energetic flow studying on your own at home. Besides, a good teacher keeps you honest!

  • Sarah

    I recently felt a bit silly when i announced that after 15yrs of visiting Doctors and Physios, who all told me there was nothing they could do for me, I was not only going to fix myself but I was going to learn to do it for free. I wasnt sure how or what form this was going to take but one day I was suddenly convinced that while the knowledge i needed was free it was well within my grasp.
    A couple of weeks later I started yoga and I am not only achieving my goals I am exceeding them. I watch free videos online, borrow books from the library on yoga and anatomy. I read blogs such as this one and follow links and advice on safe and correct practice.
    Soon i will be well enough to work and perhaps then i will be able to afford to pay for yoga classes.

  • It might be pointed out that someone has always paid for yoga teaching. That is, that teachers have always been paid.

    In the past, it was usually through a patron system (in India), wherein the teacher was provided a school (place to teach), as well as housing and income to support the family (in the case of folks like Krishnamacharya). It’s simply that the student’s didn’t pay, the patron did, and then the people got it “for free.”

    Except it wasn’t free, because the people paid and supported the king or noble person, who in turn provided a teacher for the people.

    Today, we use a business model instead. Teachers still get paid, spaces provided for them (or they provide the space, depending upon the business model), and it’s no different, really, than it was before.

    So, I don’t really get the criticism about how “yoga is free.” Yes, a person can freely practice yoga on their own and never work with a teacher or what have you, and that’s all fine and dandy. Or, they can choose to work with a teacher and work on their own at home, etc. I don’t get what the criticism really is in this regard, though.

    The next question is “are ‘we’ — whoever that is — spending too much money on yoga?”

    I have no idea. Who is “we?”

    If I look at my own taxes (which codifies how much I spend in yoga per year outside of general business expenses since I run a yoga business and have since 2000), I have spent a total of $52.50 per year on clothing, $35 per year on books/educational materials, and $80 per year on yoga classes/workshops etc (across the past 7 years, btw).

    My teacher training was wholly work study. I value my time, but I also value my training more. So it was effectively “free” — no dollars changing hands — but work got down that needed to get done in exchange for training that I wanted.

    I practice pretty much exclusively on my own, and over the next several months, I’ll be practicing at my studio (as new teachers join us). We have an agreement that our studio will host it’s teachers in classes for free. I also provide a free, monthly one-hour teaching training and free, monthly peer-supervision group (currently we run two groups: one of 4 people including myself, and one of 5 people including myself).

    For my students, classes are priced in such a way to make it affordable and accessible to them. They are also encouraged to practice at home on their own (and most of them do). Classes here cost between $8-12 for 45 minute classes. The highest amount a person pays up front for 4 weeks is $96; the lowest is $40. I teach a 1.25 hr free class once a month for those students who have been attending 6 months or more. And, students have the option to work-study, which is tidying and cleaning the studio after class (a 10-15 minute job) in exchange for classes (I currently have 4 “worker bees”).

    In my studio, I purposefully work to keep branded clothing to a minimum (on myself and on my teachers) and provide all props so as not to create a sense of “in” vs “out” crowd in terms of yoga fashions. I also do not sell yoga clothing. Students wear whatever they are comfortable in, and while they have created their own “uniform” over the last two years, it’s not particularly “exclusive” in any way. It is all new and used clothing bought at a variety of locations without visible brands. This is a value that I hold, as I do not want anyone to feel that this place is “exclusive.” We are fully inclusive, and strive to be inclusive in every way humanly possible.

    Students on average in a year here spend $440 on yoga in the studio. They probably spend about as much on clothing as I do — replacing after several years and only as necessary. Several of my students have worn the same outfits in class for the 1.5 years that they’ve been coming, so I can’t imagine that they are buying their own fashions.

    And, I do this *on purpose*. Yoga doesn’t have to be back-breakingly expensive. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money. But, it’s *ok* to spend money where you think you are getting the good value.

    And I want to provide that to my students (and teachers). It’s all about good value.

    • HY

      Jenifer, just wanted to say that I enjoy your “behind the scenes of business” posts and learn from them. I am not a studio owner/teacher but they are also applicable to life in general!

      • Thanks, HY.

        I”m really passionate about this topic (business and yoga). 🙂

  • Vision_Quest2

    Giving up studio yoga is one of the best decisions I ever made.

    Of course, I don’t count the fact that I won a year’s membership to an online yoga venue that is really helping me with my blogsite …

    Woo-hoo!

    No. studio. yoga.

    My soul is dancing!

  • I only pay for yoga when I travel . It is expensive, but since I do it as a special treat for myself, I don’t mind the cost. I couldn’t, however, afford to pay $16-20 per class. I teach so that provides a little opportunity to practice. But really, I enjoy either a podcast, a DVD or my own sequence. In order to provide yoga today in a studio, with multiple teachers to pay, it is no wonder they cost so much.
    I don’t charge for my classes. One of them is donation only which goes to the church that offers us the space.

  • Chris

    In ancient India (and also in some instances in modern-India), all Vedic education (including the science of Yoga) was imparted to students, who would be sent off to the Guru’s Ashram at the age of 8 or so.

    The Gur’s Ashram functioned as a boarding-school for these young students ( Shishyas ). The Ashram would charge no tuition-fees of its students, requiring of the students only complete diligence, sincerity and application towards their studies.

    The students would be required to participate in Seva ( service) at the Ashram. This Seva offered by the students was utilized to make the Ashram self-sufficient in terms of food, clothing, shelter.

    Thus, the Guru’s Ashram functioned as a perfect Not-for-Profit institution. The students received a complete and rounded education at the Ashram, along with boarding and lodging, while the Seva offered by the Students ensured the sustenance of the Ashram.

    At the time of his graduation from the Ashram, the student was expected to make a special offering to the Guruji, as a token of his gratitude to his Guru, in the form of a special article or a special service. This token-offering made by the student to his Guru was known as a Guru-Dakshina.

    There are a few Gurukuls and Ashrams that are still operating in India in this manner.

    The Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India also operates as a Quasi-Not-for-Profit Institute, charging astonishingly low tuition-fees, while imparting Yoga-Instruction of the very Highest Quality.

    All of this is in sharp and sorry contrast to the functioning of Yoga, Inc., wherein, the ancient and noble Hindu science of Yoga has unfortunately been reduced to a cheap, commercial trinket, to be hawked and marketed with much fanfare and hype, like so much lip-gloss or breakfast-cereal, and sold at ridiculously high prices to an unsuspecting public, for the sole purpose of making vast-profits for Yoga, Inc, and accumulating mindless-groupies to pleasure the ” Gurus “.

    • Not entirely accurate.

      First, most of the schools were bought-and-paid for by the local wealthy person (king, lord, whatever you want to call them).

      Second, seva has inherent value. If a student is sent out to bring in the crops for a local farmer, which them provided a percentage of the crops to the school to feed the ashram or the ashram could sell the crops for other goods, etc.

      This all has value. Labor has the value (the percentage of crops) and hte crops have a value (taht could be traded for money and/or for oobjects needed and so on).

      That is the exact same economy as paying dollars.

      Instead of a student working the field for the ashram, the person works in IT and brings dollars to the studio. The studio takes those dollars to maintain the facility, pay for food, clothing and shelter for those who teach there.

      The economy is the same; it’s just that we use dollars now instead of a pure barter system.

      • Chris

        Jennifer ( or, should I say, Jenifer), the point I was making is as follows :

        The Guruji’s Ashram was certainly a Not-for-Profit-Institution, receiving ONLY enough Seva from its students to SUSTAIN ITSELF, so as to be in a position to impart high-quality-education to future generations of students.

        Whereas, Yoga, Inc. is being cynically operated, not as Non-Profit-Institution, but rather as an Industry, out to maximize its Returns on Investments (RoI), out to make ungodly profits, and all of it in the name of the ancient and sublime Hindu science of Yoga.

        Yoga, Inc. blasphemes the ancient Hindu Science of Yoga.

        An easy-to-understand analogy would be :

        Yoga, Inc : Yoga :: The Vatican : JC

        • I see what you are saying, but still disagree.

          Non-profit organizations are still businesses. As such, their monetary assets are carefully managed — keep costs down as much as possible (seva), increase income (more fundraising), and ultimately make savvy investments that would have a return on that investment which will keep the organization running in perpetuity.

          Thus, yoga: ashram :: jesus: roman catholic church/vatican. Both are nonprofit organizations that seek to maintain themselves in perpetuity and in the process, espouse (their interpretation/understanding of) the underlying teachings.

          Amma ( http://www.amritapuri.org/activity) is a good example. She commands a great deal of income via fund raising, and I do admire her so I’m not taking any ‘pot-shots.’ I would not say she is not living her values, but looking at the income her non-profit is able to command, if she wasn’t running it like a business (or had helpers who do), then she wouldnt’ be able to support the orphan homes, pension homes, educational facilities, disaster relief, and many other aspects of her work.

          In order to do that, someone in the organization has to think of it *like a business* — and in that way, look to fund raising, reducing costs, and also not extending beyond their capacity to maintain what they have created.

          And in the process? A lot of people get paid income for their work from this organization. Amma herself is wholly sustained. People who stay with her are wholly sustained. Accountants who do her accounting are paid (or volunteer, but their time is likely still donated for tax purposes, which is a return that they get for the donation). To me, there is no doubt that people are paid for whatever work that they might do in support of the organization and work that she does.

          Most mom and pop yoga studio owners cannot even imagine the sort of funding that Amma commands. Yes, there are several ‘outliers’ who do command a fair amount of money (into the millions), but those are so much fewer than your average, work-a-day yoga teachers and studio owners.

          Most studios earn the owners between $50-150k per annum. This isn’t a large sum. An IT professional earns it (most of my friends are in IT), for example. So it’s not as if it’s a “really high on the hog” sort of income. Yes, it is *comfortable*. It allows a comfortable home, clothing and food, the opportunity to travel, and savings for retirement.

          I know some studio owners who “feel that they have enough” when the studio earns them around $50k. They seek no more than that for themselves. They are not these “profit seeking bad guys” that people keep talking about. They make a comfortable income to support htemselves and to put a little by for a rainy day or for old age. Would you fault them?

          They are doing the good work, after all.

          I currently make very little from my work. I work 60 hours a week (some weeks 40, some weeks 80) — both running the business and teaching classes. I offer everything that I can in bhakti to my clients, my coworkers, and everyone who relies on me (my landlord, for example, to pay the rent).

          I strive to make my business ethical, and to codify the principles of yoga into my business model itself — so that everyone earns from their efforts, and everyone is happy with their earnings. I don’t see why my own labor deserves derision over support simply because it is focused on providing yoga to a group of people for him it was not as accessible before.

  • Chris

    Baba Ramdev of India is ACTUALLY giving it away for FREE, exactly as the ancient Hindu Rishis ( sages ) of India meant for Yoga to be disseminated.

    Baba Ramdev holds Yoga-Clinics all over India, and in some international locations as well. These Yoga-Clinics are faithfully recorded on TV, and are then broadcast all over India.

    So, apart from the dish-antenna-fees, or the cable-TV fees, the Yoga-Instruction is, pretty much, being given for FREE.

    Something for Yoga, Inc. to think about.

  • Great conversation! I think I’ve learned more and recieved more info and ideas than I have any other post. Thanks for posting everyone.

    • Drop me a line, man. We’ll chat business all day long. Or, for as many hours as I can spare when I’m not working and hanging out with my nearly 4-yr old Hawk.

      (Atlas, btw, rocks as a name. Just sayin’).

      • Thanks Jenifer! I thought it was a good name too. I appreciate the offer. What are your thoughts on Donation Yoga studios I’ve had different opinions of the persception but I’m more concerned about sustainability of how to pay the teachers. Thanks for reaching out!

        • Ryan,

          It really depends upon how it’s designed and the long-term planning process of the non-profit. Community is everything.

          Send me an email, and we can hash through some details.

  • When I lived in a major city, I spent a significant portion of my income on yoga classes, and would have spent more, had I been making more money. Once I moved to a more rural area, yoga classes were harder to come by so I started using Yoga Today, and it has been my stand by for years now. At $10/month, it is The Best for cash-strapped yogis. But paying for yoga is something that makes me feel good. I know that as my income increases, I’ll invest more and more money into the yoga industry, because it is one that I love to support.

  • Vision_Quest2

    And I live in New York City, where there are more yoga studios than there are Starbucks. I can’t walk two blocks without seeing someone carrying a yoga mat (clearly that very nearby studio has no profitable setup for storage of mats–yet) during certain times of the day or weekend. With a very long commute and no set-in-stone time for leaving work (i.e., unpaid overtime), it gets tough to go to a yoga class.

    Would I go to a yoga class more if I were more “leisured” (let alone had more money to spend after high rent, electric, high-ish medical expenses, caretaker obligations, etc.)?

    The right one with the right attitude, yes.

    Too many yank-and-crank upsales for my taste in some of the studios. With my ability to sequence my own (CENTERING) yoga practice (as a result of studio classes, I’d gotten centered only on a fluke), who needs ’em?

    I trust the yoga studio for other things: conscious dance, pilates, satsangs, meditation … these days.

  • SoBeach

    I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s gotten rich running a studio or teaching.

    $15 or $20 for a class led by an expert is really quite a bargain. Check out prices for group golf or tennis lessons for a little comparison.

    • wondering

      It still comes back to the fact that yoga in most studios at 15-20$ a class is expensive. Maybe it’s worth it, maybe it’s not maybe golf or tennis or sailing etc. cost more (those also are very much “priveledged activities”), but 15-20$ for 1-1.5 hour class is alot of money to most people. This does indeed reinforce the idea that most yoga classes are too expensive for the regular folks, and really only feasible for the wealthy/priviledged. Yes there may be other options, gyms, church basements etc. but for the most part, yoga classes are are post accessible to those with money .

      • wondering

        oops lots o’typos there.
        “yoga classes are most accessible to those with money.” BTW check out the Hampton’s prices…25-27$ per 1-1.5 hour class. Granted that’s about as obscene a scene of wealth as you get in this country.

      • Chris

        I’m not so sure I agree. Maybe this is too expensive for people who want to go to 3+ yoga classes a week, but one class a week at 15-20 is still only 60-80 bucks a month. Thats not that much money compared to ANY other fitness/sports related activity. Studios are there for instruction, your solo practice is where you establish your foundation. If you are complaining about having to pay too much for 3 yoga classes a week, than that is more a matter of your preference, not financial instability.

        I would ask how do so many people manage to pay much greater prices for the average sports team/league if these prices are only for the wealthy? (not to mention all the equipment)

        • wondering

          It really depends on what population we are talking about, I’m talking national, not coastal/metropolitan…. 60-80/mo for sports/activities is beyond folks struggling for rent/food/bills etc. running is free, swimming (near me anyway) is 5-6$ a swim. I’m guessing that a study has been done before about the average gross income of a “yoga practicioner” and I’ll guess it’s well above the national average income…anyone know the stats?

          • This is talking about different markets.

            In the “heartland” as it were, people often find different price points and run different business models for their markets. I know several “rural” teachers and studios — here in NZ and in the US — who are able to do quite well, but aren’t necessarily charging these sorts of prices.

            Likewise, gyms/community centers are good opportunities for rural teachers and providing low-cost to the student down the track. And, it’s not just rural teachers who do this — as there are similar opportunities in urban settings.

            The real question is does the person want to learn yoga — and will seek out the opportunities to do that which they can afford — or do they want to go to a fancy-pants studio with nice floors, incense or whatever?

          • abbylou

            Jenifer,

            Interesting comments. It is only slightly more money, $5/month, to take unlimited yoga at the fancy pants studio than it is for me to take one class a week at the small studio near my house owned by the lovely husband and wife couple. They charge $16 per class. The fancy pants studio charges $22 for a drop-in, but gives a smoking deal if you purchase a monthly membership. (I pay $69/month.)

            I guess the fancy pants studio can get away with charging so little comparatively because it has high membership and earns most of its money on TT and boutique. It’s kind of like how mobile carriers take a loss giving you a smart phone at a low, low price to lock you into an expensive monthly data and voice plan. I think I am in the minority of students at the fancy pants studio who has been consistently practicing for many years and hasn’t taken the TT yet. Based on my observation, it seems like nearly everybody who has been a member for 2 years enrolls in TT.

            Sometimes I feel like the yoga studios really dumb down the practice to the point where you would have to take the TT just to advance your own practice. I just don’t have the money or time to do TT. I would pay something like $20 per class to attend a special weekly philosophy class.

          • Abbylou:

            This is an issue that I have with many studios, and I often suggest to them that they have two pathways — the advancing your practice pathway and the teacher training pathway (assuming that they need teachers to fill the rolls that they have).

            Likewise, I would probably advise the mom/pop shop differently as well, to find a good “bridging price point” and/or meet a market demand that hasn’t been met (for the advancing, but not wanting to go to teacher training market).

            It’s relaly about creative thinking, isn’t it?

        • I agree here.

          Once a week is a great practice in a studio for on-goign instruction, and home practice can be done any time, anywhere.

          This is what I encourage of my students, and I have priced my classes at $8-12 for 45 minute classes. And I’m in the ‘golden mile’ here.

          It just means I need more people to make my costs (4.5 people instead of 2.25 people in a class). I feel that getting 20 classes up to 4.5 people is pretty simple, but it does require consistent, assertive marketing while also providing a great customer service and good customer experience while in classes. From there, anyone above the 4.5th person is in the profit margin (for the teacher — when I teach, that’s me. When the other teacher teaches, that’s him/her).

          Math is fun. I practice on my own at home all the time.

          • Vision_Quest2

            Do there seem to you to be many wealthy American expatriates who find a tax haven in the country where you teach?

            Your business model (rent out spaces to holistic practitioners rather than depend on classes, TTs, etc.) seems to be doing well in this time of recession/backlash to studio yoga in this tax-happy American East Coast … I’m no entrepreneur, but I read political news a lot …

            Lots of mathematical opportunities right there … & it must be even better down under …

          • Not really. Most of the ex-pats are young families seeking opportunities; most of them not wealthy but are able to provide a better lifestyle for their families. It’s why we moved as well.

            I mean, we were not “wealthy” but we had enough wealth (in our home, in our savings and retirement) to make the leap. Most of the expat families are the same. The lifestyle here is different, and most families come on contracts (for 1-3 years). So, it’s really a change of life.

            Interestingly, the minority of my clients are americans. the majority are kiwis, canadians, or europeans. 🙂 I also have several pacific islander and maori clients. A very small minority of asian clients, and currently no black/african clients. I run at about 10% male and 90% female in the classes (which is rare for me, I usually run about 30% males in my classes in the US).

            Anyway, yeah. Did that answer the question? LOL

      • SoBeach

        I agree it’s expensive. But if it were possible to provide the same classes in the same kind of environment for less someone would.

        It sucks that some people are priced out of attending classes. I wish I had a solution.

  • fluttershy

    why is yoga being equated with yoga classes (especialy in the yj article)? it seems an unnecessary and false equivalence

    • Vision_Quest

      Oh, yeah … reminds me of the classic argument of buying your way into heaven with works and not with faith …

  • Sara

    If you live in San Francisco check out the new Calvin Klein Performance store in Union Square. They have a dedicated studio upstairs and offer FREE classes all day, every day. Such a great find in this expensive city!

    • That sounds cool.

      Thing is, again and always, *someone* is paying for this to happen.

      No doubt the store has overhead, but they offer this “free” as a business expense to the larger business (whatever that is). *Someone* is paying, whether a patron or the student. 🙂

      But yes, on the student end, great find! For teachers out there, go and make a connection — probably a great venue and the opportunity to see how a really corporate/business-minded studio works.

  • Gessell

    Yoga classes CAN be expensive. But I have always managed to pay for daily classes…through college, living on others couches, no money times because I made it a priority. Should yoga be free? Yes, of course it should. As should food and water and heat and clean air. Yet we all pay that. It’s just the way it is. And to begrudge and resent those who must charge to teach yoga so that they can cover their travel expenses, pay for the roof you are practicing in, the insurance so they don’t get sued, the ASCAP fees to play music, the thousands they spent to become a proficient teacher, the electricity for the lights you see them by, the water in the Culligan jug, the mats and props, the decor that adds to your experience, the babysitter at home taking care of their kids, the iTunes downloads to provide you with inspiring music, and if you are in an actual studio then te website, the software to schedule your classes, the advertising, the cleaning supplies, the ink cartridges, the office supplies, the signage, the yearly licenses, fees and continuing ed, the sound system, the repairs to the leaking roof, the receptionist, the tax accountant, the business loan and credit card interest, the racks and hardware everything hangs on, the complimentary paper cups and tea, etc, etc , etc, than you are maintaining unfair standards and creating an attitude of negativity. Churches need money. Hospitals need money. Orphanages need money. Yoga teachers/studios need money too. It doesn’t mean their hearts are in the wrong place.

    I absolutely believe that where there is a will there is a way, and if you TRULY can’t afford classes (and aren’t just not making it a priority) than most places will work with you to get you into class. There are plenty of options out there, but from experience I have see. That those who complain about having to pay “too much” will still fail to come to class even once offered free classes. Those who truly desire it will find a way to come regardless if the class is $5 or $20.

    • Shamanic_Rite

      Be long term unemployed, and you will see how your priorities change.

      http://ecoyogini.blogspot.com/2011/10/yogi-confession-yoga-class-drop-out.html

      The only thing different about a yoga class than my download, is I may procrastinate less. But it’s all relative. Once when a relatively inexperienced teacher started getting a track record of an overambitious curriculum, under a great deal of job stress at the time, I’d gone all the way to the studio; had an emotional outburst just before class, and turned around and went home ….

      • One of my students is “between jobs.” She’s been doing the work-study for her classes (currently 1x a week). She also has been getting free training (through job/training organizations here), and she’s also been doing some volunteer work.

        Yes, your priorities *do* change, and honestly, if you’re living on someone’s couch, *they* are paying for you to do your yoga classes by dint of the fact that you arent’ paying to live in their space.

        Someone is *always* paying. It might not be you, but it is someone.

        For my work study people, it’s an exchange of labor. They are paying for their classes. I think that this is a good option. If someone is unemployed, then they likely have at least a bit of time to do the work-study. At my venue, it’s a 45 minute class for 15 minutes of work (30 minutes tops if the vacuum cleaner konks out mid way).

        • Shamanic_Rite

          That doesn’t exactly work for nearing 60, arthritic, and with compromised feet; but let me tell you … it’s a consideration for the right person.

          Needless to say, I have had my fill of nearly indentured volunteer work out West, to last me through close to retirement age at near to 80.

          A little tardy in upping my resume, if I were unemployed I think I may rather put in 20 hours of work closer to my (little less physical) field through paid volunteer setups such as AARP has …

          • Sorry that I didn’t see this one before.

            Trust me, this isn’t the only thing I’m willing to trade, it just depends upon what we need at a given time. I trade lots of different things, this is just the most accessible. 🙂

  • Shamanic_Rite
  • some guy

    for all the folks talking about ashrams etc and patronage, I come from a lineage that is not based in the house holder tradition (tantric dawg) and as far as i’m concerned, this sentiment of “Oh! Yoga is for everyone!” comes more from the crass egalitarianism of markets than it does from anything about the practice itself. Meaning, yoga is for everyone (provided they can afford it.) So why do we act surprised when it’s inaccessible to some people? I’m broke, i’ve always been broke. I started practicing when I was broke, and because I cared I found a way to do it anyway. Traditionally a level of commitment is required, and in order to really get into the root teachings here you need to be willing to devote yourself to the practice, otherwise you might as well just be doing gymnastics (which is fine, but let’s call it what it is.)

    As for things being too expensive, here’s my solution as a mildly popular teacher with a decent following that lives essentially paycheck to paycheck: If you’re my friend, you don’t pay for my class, you’re my guest. If you’re my friends friend, you don’t pay for my class. If you are one of my students and you talk to me or I know that you have trouble affording class, you don’t pay for my class. If I vaguely know you and know you’re on my team (read that however you want,) you don’t pay for my class. I get paid per head at most places I teach, but not enough for me to think it makes any sense for me to deny the practice to those who really will commit to it. If you’re wishy-washy and can’t be bothered to even strike up a conversation with your teacher and approach them honestly, that’s fine, but to me that is a sign that you just aren’t really that interested.

    Teachers, stop seeing your students as dollar signs. Students, stop seeing your teachers as your servants. I wish economics had never even come into the picture. And at the end of the day it’s sort of frustrating that sometimes I worry about rent, but it sure as hell beats working at a coffee shop.

    • VQ_2

      YESSSS!

      There are some “old school” (not talking necessarily yoga style, but yoga “economics”) teachers still out there …

      To the rest of the teachers hoping to make a living teaching yoga:

      Get a day job. Yoga seems to not be hosted by the Parks Dept. much, and thusly is not priced the way Jazzercise used to be, back in the day.
      SO:
      Don’t hide under the spirituality cloak to justify yourselves.
      Stop using yank-and-crank tactics to promote upsales.
      Stop stereotyping a non-size 2-6 non Lululemon wearing prospective student
      Conversely, try to look for markers of ongoing wealth in a student you will tap for high-profit-potential ancillary services (not me!)

      That’s common sense.

  • LA

    GREAT conversation!! I just have to add something as someone who’s suffered from various physical issues, about practising at home. If I were to solely practice on my own, I would be only deepening my body’s unbalanced habits, thus making my issues worse and causing more pain and dysfunction. I need someone to look at my hips and move them into the centre and look at my ribcage and spine and centre it. That cannot happen when I practice at home. And using a mirror can only help so much, but can be quite a challenge- not to mention straining on the neck!! As a teacher myself, I see a lot of other students like myself, who really do need someone to visually help guide them into better alignment. Like anything physical, if you keep on repeating the same movements with with improper alignment, you will do some damage to your body. My point is that some people really do need the hands-on help of an instructor- even to check in once in a while. Exclusive home-practice is a great idea, but not ideal for everyone.

    I think yoga should be made more affordable, but I also know the costs of running a business, and it’s just not possible. It’s unfortunate, but unless governments start to see the value of people taking care of their health and start subsidizing yoga and other pro-health businesses (yeah right) things can’t really change. We’re all stuck in a system and doing the best we can!

    • Vision_Quest2

      It’s unfortunate, but unless governments start to see the value of people taking care of their health and start subsidizing yoga and other pro-health businesses (yeah right) things can’t really change. We’re all stuck in a system and doing the best we can!

      I could tell by the way you write/spell that you live in a country with great subsidized health care (Canada, the UK?) … so what does THAT say … to an American, forced to play Russian Roulette with their unaffordable private, individual health insurance?

      I am happy that Obamacare makes the first hurdle.

      Too many Canadians could care less about America’s health care problems.

      So many yoga teachers/studio owners, born with silver spoons in their mouths, could care less.

      It’s time to wake up out of that trance, and stop listening to the Tea Party, most of whom are benefiting from Medicare (due to age) right now …

      • LA

        Yes, you are correct that I am Canadian! I think that a LOT of us care about America’s healthcare problems. I don’t want to totally go off on a tangent about healthcare right now, but I do have to say that yes, we do have great subsidized healthcare in Canada, but there are issues with it. Most of us do not have Family Dr’s and are unable to see specialists when needed, because we have a serious lack of Dr’s able to take on an more patients. I know of many people who have crossed the border to find a specialist who would actually see them, because wait times here are just ridiculous. It took me 10 years to find a Dr who was accepting new patients. 10 years!! So yeah, there are definitely issues here, but I realize that we have it really good compared with the US, overall.

        I totally agree with your points in the US. There needs to be serious change on a deeper level. And people need to care. And educate themselves and push for change.

        Sorry YogaDork for kinda going off here!! But I do think that it’s connected. 🙂

  • tommy

    Pay for yoga? what a joke, yoga and meditation is a birthright.

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