Yoga is for everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability. And yet many super cities such as London could be discouraging new students from exploring the practice further because of their hefty price tags. There, yoga is businesses and that doesn’t necessarily mean that the studios are overcharging or that the classes aren't authentically taught. It just means that overhead costs are substantial and studios have huge set-up costs, just like with any other type of business. These will need to be recouped from the service user while regular salaries and other operational costs get covered. In this light prices certainly seem more reasonable but the explanation doesn’t really do much for those who simply don't have the finances to stretch.
Is there alternatives? How can one without a budget for yoga classes still find ways of practicing yoga for free?
One alternative option is to take advantage of the abundance of free resources available through the Internet and local libraries. A quick search of YouTube has brought me back over 11 million video results. A quick search on amazon brought back over 35 thousand published books; a selection of which is sure to be in the local library. There are also limitless magazines, podcasts, and apps; all tools that have been created with many kinds of individuals and circumstances in mind so that those who have the will and courage to begin their practice at home feel supported without having to make any sort of financial commitment.
Practicing at home has it’s own challenges of-course and students may be discouraged because they are unsure of alignment, are working with injuries, or simply require the energy and accountability that comes with attending a group class and working with a qualified teacher. Since London has been my home for a while, I have noticed several options for attending classes for free and I have provided a brief overview of them below. Although I have focused on London specifically, the same principles can be applied to where-ever in the world you're based.
Five Ways to Attend Yoga Classes for Free in London
1) Attend Classes at Teacher Training Schools and Pop-Up events – This option requires the use of social media to track down the events happening near you but I’ve noticed these special one off classes crop up on a regular basis. Try searching through hashtags such as “londonyoga” or “freefitness” to see what comes up.
2) Free Classes at Your Local Park – The ourparks website allows you to search for free yoga classes near you and there are so many available now. This initiative is supported by local councils and includes other fitness related classes such as boxfit and bootcamp too.
3) Karma Yoga – Many studios have volunteer programs in place where they will allow you to attend classes for free in exchange for helping set up the studio and clearing it up after class. In North and East London, Yogacentric, Highbury Bikram and Hotpod Yoga all have a karma yoga program in place.
4) Complimentary Boutique Classes – Fitness apparel giants Lululemon and Sweaty Betty offer weekly complimentary classes inside their shops. Search their websites to see if they have one available near you.
5) Free Studio Trial Passes – Many studios offer complimentary first classes. Have a search to see which studios are near you and visit their websites and social media platforms to see if they offer any specials. For example, The Light Centre in Moorgate provides a downloadable pass upon registering your details on their website.
In addition to the above, there are also numerous other low-cost options available. For example, most studios offer special trial deals where you get to try the classes at a significant discount for a limited time period. There are also often promotions run on sites such as Groupon, Wowcher and Livingsocial that offer huge discounts when newbies buy first time packages. Most big-name studios also offer daily community classes that are significantly discounted.
The possibilities are endless and yoga does not have to an activity reserved for the wealthy by any means. Whichever route speaks to you, it is my hope that this article will inspire you to head out and try a nearby class.