Why is Yoga So Expensive? (10 Tips to Spend Less)

Understand why yoga is so expensive, the factors that affect the price of classes, along with interesting ways on how to spend less on your yoga practice.

Students practicing Warrior I Pose led by the instructor during a paid yoga class at an indoor studio.

“I am broke because of yoga,” says my friend Jen as we leave the restaurant where I paid for our lunch. 

Jen is my childhood friend who lives in another city and just started practicing yoga. 

“Why is yoga so expensive?” she asks with her lips pouting.

I’ve known Jen for so long that I know it’s not yoga that’s caused her to be broke. But, as a yoga teacher and student, I know that some yoga classes are pretty steep.

Prices of Yoga across the US

According to Yoga My Old Friend, New York offers the most expensive yoga classes in the country. The drop-in rate is $31, while the monthly rate is $180. Los Angeles follows this rate at $27 per drop-in class and a monthly rate of $159. 

The cheapest drop-in rate for a yoga class is $15 in Tulsa and Baltimore. The most affordable monthly rate is in Columbus at $99 per month. 

As you can see, the rates of yoga classes are higher in big cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Yoga studios are also popping up like mushrooms in these cities. There’s a yoga studio every corner, and every day, a new student comes in.

“Then it should be cheaper!” Jen exclaims. “There’s more competition and more students.”

As much as I’d like to tell her yes, it should have been cheaper by now, I can’t. It is not just about the number of students and competition. There are also many other factors that affect the price of yoga classes. 

Factors That Affect the Price of Yoga

Students practicing Child Pose led by the instructor during a paid yoga class at an indoor studio.

Rent and Location

The most significant factor that affects the costs of yoga class prices is the location and rent of the studio. The cost of yoga classes is more expensive in big cities because rent in cities like NY and LA are also steep. Yoga studios have to price their classes reasonably to pay the rental costs.

According to the data from Entrepreneur, the rental cost of commercial space is $74 per square foot in New York. An 800-square-foot yoga studio that can fit 30 to 50 people costs $59,200 per month to rent. If it’s an independent teacher sub-renting a yoga studio per hour, it can be cheaper than renting a space per month. But it still costs at least $50 per hour for a studio that fits 21 people, according to Peer Space

Construction Cost and Maintenance

Another factor that makes yoga classes expensive is the construction of the yoga studio and the maintenance cost. The construction can quickly go up to $15,000. The cost increases depending on the work that needs to be done, as well as the exterior and interior design. 

Once the studio opens, of course, maintaining it is vital. Owners also need to keep the studio in pristine condition, so students will have a conducive space for practicing yoga. They also need to pay for utilities such as electricity. 

The maintenance costs of the yoga studio also increase because they need to cover the cost of yoga mats and other props. Yoga students should ideally bring their yoga mats for hygiene reasons, but still, many don’t. Yoga mats and other props cost money, depending on the type and brand.

Cost of Training Programs for Yoga Teachers

A yoga instructor practicing Peaceful Warrior Pose during a paid yoga training at an indoor studio.

Yoga teachers need to be eligible to teach yoga. They need to have at least the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) certificate. These training certifications are not cheap

The basic 200-hour YTT programs in India and other Asian countries range from $1,200 to $1,600. If the teacher takes it in the US, it will easily cost her or him $3,500 to $5,000. 

To remain eligible, yoga teachers need to continue their education to improve their knowledge. Yoga students think great teachers are those with continuing education training, especially in yoga. A 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training program costs $2,500 to $5,000. 

This cost does not include the certificate to specialize in other yoga styles such as Baptiste, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, and more. 

Class During Irregular Hours

Who gets up at 5:00 AM to teach a 6:00 AM yoga class? Most yoga teachers. Many yoga studios and teachers open before and beyond the usual office hours. They know people work 9-to-5 jobs and can’t go to a yoga studio to practice yoga during office hours.

So, they open and teach yoga before and after office hours. The irregular opening hours and working hours and yoga studios and teachers need appropriate compensation. 

As the rental costs, yoga teacher training, and cost of living continue to increase. It’s safe to assume that yoga classes will not become cheaper soon. But don’t worry, there are some little-known ways that you can do to save money on yoga.

10 Little Known Ways to Save Money on Yoga

Two yoga students practicing their standing yoga pose during a discounted yoga class held at an indoor studio.

Practice Yoga Outside the Yoga Studio

Ancient yogis did not have yoga studios back then. Just like ancient yogis, you don’t have to go to a yoga studio to practice yoga. Yoga studios cost money to build and maintain. That’s why their classes are expensive. 

Check for yoga classes beyond the studio such as community centers, local parks, and beaches, and even community colleges. Some yoga teachers are even offering yoga classes in their backyard for cheap.

Book in Bulk

An excellent way to save money on yoga is always to book classes in bulk. Don’t just drop in a class. If you know you are going to commit, book more classes. If you know you are only going once a month, though, better drop in and stop wasting your money booking in bulk.

Offer Karma Yoga

Many yoga studios accept Karma yoga. Karma yoga means giving them something good in exchange for something, like a free yoga class pass. Some yoga studios offer free class passes to people who help clean the studio, do administrative tasks, manage their social media, or work at the front desk. 

If you plan on becoming a yoga teacher, this is an excellent way to learn about the ins and outs of the business while saving money for your yoga teacher training.

Bring Your Water Bottle and Props

A dollar for every water bottle in the yoga studio may not sound a lot, but it can add up over time. If the yoga studio says water is for free, ask if they will give you a discount if you bring your water. The same goes for yoga mats and other props. If you have your mat and props at home, ask if you can bring yours, and get a discount. 

Go to Discount Coupon Sites

A woman booking her yoga classes in bulk on her computer using a fifty-dollar gift voucher to save on her yoga expenses.

Discount coupon sites often have discount codes for yoga studios. Here are some coupon sites I use:

Groupon

I’ve seen many yoga studios offering up to 74% discount on their class passes through Groupon. In Groupon, you can find deals on other products and services aside from yoga class passes. You can also usually get more discounts if you buy more than one coupon or pass.

Living Social

The company that owns Groupon also owns Living Social. They have deals on restaurants, spas, automotive services, and yoga studio passes. I also find Living Social to have the biggest travel deals. One time, I discovered yoga retreats at a 55% discount.

Capital One Shopping

Capital One Shopping is another discount code site you can use to find discounts on yoga studio memberships. While there are not as many deals as Groupon and Living Social, you can use your loyalty awards from your credit card to get discounts through this website.

Go to Studio Websites and Social Media Pages

Many yoga studios now have their website, social media pages, and email list. Some of them offer discounts that you can’t find in the studio, but only on their websites. Some studio websites also provide discounts if you follow them on Facebook or Instagram or subscribe to their newsletter.

Give Them Testimonials

Word of mouth is essential for businesses. Check out if the yoga studio offers free passes or at least discounted rates if you give them testimonials. This way, you can help them while also saving money. 

Practice at Home with the Internet

You can practice yoga anytime, anywhere. You don’t even have to go to a studio for practice. If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, then you’d know how most yoga classes are structured. You can practice on your own with the help of the Internet. 

A female yogi practicing Downward-Facing Dog while participating a paid online yoga class.

Practice Live with a Teacher Online

If you would like the guidance of a yoga teacher while practicing, book their online yoga classes. Since the pandemic, yoga teachers have been offering yoga classes online. These classes are cheaper because they usually don’t teach from the studio. Therefore, they don’t have to pay for the rent, maintenance, and utility costs.

Get an Online Yoga Studio Subscription

Another cheaper way to practice yoga at home is to subscribe to online yoga studios. Most classes in online yoga studios are pre-recorded, so they are more affordable. Some of my favorites are Ekhart Yoga, Bad Yogi, Omstars, and Alo Yoga. 

The monthly subscription fee ranges from $10 to $25 per month. Since it’s a studio, you will find different teachers teaching different styles of yoga. You will have so many options. 

Most of these online yoga studios also offer a free trial. So, if you want to save more money, get the free trial first before buying a subscription.

Watch YouTube Tutorials

Source: Yoga with Adriene

There are so many yoga YouTube channels out there. So many yoga teachers, seasoned and new, are uploading their yoga classes on YouTube for free. You will have so many options regarding the length of the class, style of yoga, and yoga teacher.

Practicing yoga at home using the Internet saves so much money. Online classes are cheaper, if not for free. You don’t have to drive to get to the yoga studio so that you can save money on gas.

You also don’t have to change to expensive Lululemon leggings. You can wear whatever you like.

Enroll with a New Yoga Teacher

New yoga teachers are eager to teach. When I was a new yoga teacher, I offered yoga classes for free for a few weeks until I found the confidence to teach for a fee. This practice is prevalent in yoga. While I think new teachers deserve to get compensated, it’s a good way for you to save money on yoga. 

But make sure to make it easy for the new teacher to teach you. Please arrive on time, give testimonials she can use in her online presence or resume and give her feedback to make her a better teacher. Better yet, offer to help her set up her class or give a donation.

Look for Donation-Based Yoga Classes

Yoga students meditating in Lotus Pose at a donation-based yoga class held at an outdoor venue.

If money is tight at the moment, look for donation-based classes close to you. Many yoga teachers do “Seva” or selfless service. Joining a donation-based class can help you save money. 

But make sure that you also give back to the teacher by being a good student. Don’t be late to come to class and bring your props. If you can afford to donate more some days, do so.

Yoga can cost a lot of money if you practice at expensive studios in the city. But if you look for ways to get discounts and save money, you don’t have to go broke to practice yoga. You can even practice it for free and in the comfort of your own home.

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