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Exploring yoga on a budget

One of the biggest barriers to experimenting with yoga is the cost: whether you’re enrolling in a regular class or buying monthly passes to a studio, yoga can put a real dent in your bank account. If you can afford the classes, the outfit, and the time, doing yoga has become almost a status symbol. I, myself, am guilty of a few lululemon purchases here and there.

Still, despite yoga being seen by many in Vancouver as a pretentious hobby, it is a great way to wind down and become in-tune with your body – which happens whether you attend the class for the exercise, time with friends, or to connect with your spiritual self. 

It's a hard hobby to pick up if, like me, you’re on a budget. But don’t despair. There are plenty of places around Vancouver to find relatively inexpensive places to practice. Here is my best advice for finding them, along with a few gems I’ve discovered myself: 
      
Try out your local community centre. Most community centres in Vancouver offer adult instructional programs, and most of them are taught by great instructors who work at professional studios during the day and come into communities in the evenings. The upfront cost can be a bit high, since you’re paying all at once, but the price per class is generally pretty low.
 
Seek out a “karma class.” Many studios offer classes by donation. Unity Yoga, Moksha Yoga, Yogacara, and Radha Yoga & Eatery in Vancouver, as well as many others in Burnaby and New Westminster hold “karma classes” on various days of the week. 

Take advantage of recession deals. There are lots of opportunities to save money at most studios right now as business has slowed. Open Door Yoga, which has three locations in Vancouver, is offering a 9 week pass for $99 for students new to the studio. Yoga Sukha, on 16th Avenue, also has deals for new students: $16 per week for 3 months.
 
Use your pass. If you buy a pass or punch-card, make use of it! Try out different kinds of yoga and different teachers. Most of all, enjoy the class! Be kind to yourself and your body and use the time as a gift to yourself.  

Do your research. It takes time, but can save you a lot in the long run. If you’ve read this far, you’re off to a great start. Many studios offer 5- or 10-class punch cards which average to between $10-12 per class. Also, ask about discounts. Places like Yoga West, on 4th Avenue, offer discounts to students, seniors, and those under 18. 

My pick for inexpensive yoga this summer: UBC Outdoor Yoga. For only $10 per drop-in class (cash or cheque), those at any level of practice can come to the University of British Columbia on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 6:15 to 7:15 for outdoor yoga. Led by Lydia Hol, an enthusiastic and nature loving 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certified Instructor, and YogaMeetsDance™ Instructor, classes are held underneath the arbutus tree at Main Mall at Agronomy Road, behind the Landscape Architecture Building. Lydia’s objective: “I hope this class will serve the community by offering a place to exercise, relax, and experience the joy of yoga outside for the summer months. Sun salutations under the sun, tree pose under the trees, there is nothing I love more than doing yoga outside, so please join me in this wonderful experience.” She teaches Power yoga, which is more fast-paced, on Tuesdays, while teaching the more breath-oriented Hatha style yoga on Thursdays. For more information, Lydia can be contacted at mandalas.yoga,,,gmail.com. Don’t forget to bring your own mat and water, and wear comfortable clothing.

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