Money To Live

August 17, 2008

Cost Analysis: my yoga habit

Filed under: hobbies — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

For 3 years I have practiced yoga regularly. It kept me sane in grad school and is still enjoyable every time I hit the mat. It also can be an expensive hobby. This summer I have some extra time right now and am attending classes five days a week. Before I ran through the numbers, I thought it would be an extravagance to take so many classes, but it is actually a pretty reasonable expense.

Almost everywhere in America, you can practice yoga every day for $100 a month. Most studios offer specials for signing up for several months at a time, and many offer even lower rates for regulars.

I pay about $200 a month total because I practice with two different teachers at different studios and attend extra events.

Monthly cost for classes: $140

  • $100 monthly pass at a studio nearby, which I can ride my bike to
  • $100 for 20 classes over 10 weeks of the summer in a special “engineering class.” We meet in an engineering building, but otherwise, it is regular yoga. There is no “suspension bridge” pose or “binary signal processing” pose.

Monthly cost for extras: $20-30

  • This could be a donation at a kirtan. $20.
  • Last month I went to a Yoga with Rhythm class. A live drummer performed while we flowed. $15.
  • A few weeks ago, I went to a reading group led by a visiting guru and bought his book for $20. The book was $5, but I only had a twenty, and since they did not have change, I made a donation.

Clothes: $50-100 annually

  • I love wearing cute yoga clothes, and the cut of a shirt is pretty important (with all those inversions, certain body parts need to be held in place). I recommend Title Nine‘s yoga lines.
  • Black is the best color because massive amounts of sweat are not as obvious. Have you ever exercised in a room intentionally set at 105F? You want to wear black.

For less than $200 a month, I have more than 32 hours of relaxation and enjoyment. When I have a bad day, it kicks me out a funk and often yields a new perspective on a problem.

A possible objection to this spending is “Why not just practice at home?” I am still learning so much in every class- proper alignment, new postures, new breathing techniques, etc. And, there is good energy in a group. In a group I push myself much harder than I do alone at home.

If you like yoga but cannot pay much for classes, you can attend anyways. At one of my studios, paying for classes is optional. The owner flat out says he is not a business man and is not looking to get rich. He encourages students to join his classes if they cannot pay — he asks for a lollipop instead of cash. If you would like to attend classes but cannot afford it, talk to the owner and offer to swap services in exchange for the class fees. For example, volunteers sometimes man the desk for an hour before class or wash towels (sweat-soaked towels, see above).

My teacher says that anything can be yoga — dancing, singing, painting, even balancing your checkbook. 🙂


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