Why is yoga so expensive?

Last night as I was unwinding and catching up with a few of my favorite bloggers, I stumbled upon a hot comment section in response to the question posed by Tina of Carrots N Cake: Why is yoga so expensive?

Prior to embarking on my journey to becoming a yoga teacher I was in the same wow, yoga is costly boat. But now I get it. Yoga classes aren’t cheap and they shouldn’t be.

It costs money to become a certified yoga teacher. Sure, some of the teachers who teach at a local gym didn’t spend thousands of dollars to become a teacher (although plenty have), but most of your instructors have shelled out big bucks to take on month and even year long teacher trainings.

There’s a lot of extra preparation and time that goes into each class. To deliver a truly transformative class teachers spend hours studying, reading, and reflecting in order to develop their skills as instructors. Not to mention the actual time we spend before class and after class interacting with our brilliant students and answering questions.

All of the money doesn’t go directly into our pocket. Studio owners have overhead costs and freelance instructors pay cuts of their class profits to use buildings and studio space. It isn’t cheap to run a small business and advertising, running websites, and promoting services ain’t easy or cheap.

Yoga isn’t just a workout or a “sport”, so it makes little sense to compare it to the cost of a Body Pump or Jazzercise class. The goal of yoga is to transform your life not just your physical body although it often finds itself being grouped into the same category as fitness classes.

It costs money to please you. Think about your favorite yoga studio for a second. Does it have a extensive book selection for your to browse? Are you able to use a $90 Manduka mat each time you practice? Is there a juicy orange wedge waiting for you after savasana? All of these things add to the experience that is yoga but they certainly don’t come for free.

At the end of the day you get what you pay for.

If yoga is a priority for you, you can financially make it work.

Oh, and Jillian Michaels isn’t a certified yoga instructor.

What do you think? What am I right about? What do you disagree with? Yoga for free? Yoga for a price? Share!

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14 responses to “Why is yoga so expensive?

  1. Agree with you 100%. Yoga teachers, as enlightened and simply living as they may be, also have rents and mortgages, cars, etc. and put so much of themselves into their work, not to mention the costs of running a smallish studio (usually) as opposed to a gym conglomerate. Also, yoga doesn’t HAVE to be expensive. There are plenty of practice at home options for free!

  2. I completely agree with you. As a personal trainer and a fitness instructor people are constantly trying to skimp out on paying-they don’t realize we’ve got bills to pay too!

  3. Thanks! I was hoping you would address that CNC post.

  4. Good to know! The only yoga I do is free at my gym. Since it’s at a gym it’s a fitness -environment and less about relaxation. I wish I could afford to go to a fancy studio and get the full-experience but I just can’t right now.

  5. most excellent post!

    yoga students want to feel good, have a great, smart, well sequenced class, be taken care of AND expect you to be available for therapy and advice post- class.
    all this for free?

    really? did you work all day for free at your job dear yoga student?

  6. I go to donation yoga and I would never have started if I didn’t. I paid $5/class for my first 2 months. I didn’t want to pay $15 an hour- That’s too much when you’re not sure. I had been opting out for years for the price. But now that I’m addicted and can appreciate the practice and I pay about $15 a class on my own. So I don’t know. I can appreciate it from the teacher’s side, but from the new-comer side, those price tags scare us away. Newbees don’t buy $90 mats either, we stop at Walmart on the way to class haha. Maybe a “try us for a month free” deal is a perfect happy medium.

    • I think discount classes and $20 for 2 weeks are excellent offers for these reasons! And I agree with being scared off initially. My first yoga class was at a gym, and I didnt get ‘serious’ until I took classes at a local rec center. There are ways to make it more affordable!

  7. funny, Rachel from Suburban Yogini sent me here.
    I agree with everything you said. And to reiterate- yoga is expensive.

    The only thing I don’t agree with- is ‘If yoga is a priority for you, you’ll make it work financially’.

    I really am not comfortable with that type of reasoning. Here in Halifax NS, it costs about 16-18$ per class. That’s 72$ a month, over 800$ a year at just one class a week. I know a lot of people where that would mean the difference between paying for heat or yoga. Which would you choose?

    I can’t justify that kind of price tag anymore for yoga. I would argue that despite that- yoga does still really matter to me. But so does saving for our first home, paying off the loads of student loan debt, surviving on one income due to the recession.

    Like I said, I agree with all the reasons why yoga has the price tag that it does. However, please do not assume that anyone could make it work.

    • I really appreciate your point and as a soon to be college grad in the midst of trying to save up for a wedding, a house, and the adult life – I get it. But Im not suggesting that one picks yoga over heat, or that people should have to put their financial security at risk to practice yoga. What I am suggesting is that people who complain about the cost of 90 minutes of yoga, but spending $90 on a pair of yoga pants need to get real about why classes cost so much.

      For most people, the cost of one yoga class is the same as grabbing takeout on their way home from work, and for this I argue that people are able to make choices. There are ways to have your life full of yoga without dishing over tons of money. Studios offer volunteer/free classes exchanges, there are community classes offered at discounts, and most people are able to cut corners here and there to set money aside for yoga if they deem it valuable.

  8. I agree up to a point. My husband is a fitness trainer and he is constantly spending his own money to go to conferences and learn more. He really believes in what he does and spends a lot money on his own equipment and he does have to pay the gym he works for a percentage of all his client’s fees. I think that yoga instructors need to be paid well for their time and the service they are providing but I can’t help but think there is an air of superiority about yoga and yoga instructors…almost like they are above other fitness trainer and/or instructors. I don’t necessarily think that is true. My husband spent a lot of money getting certified in kettlebells and yet he still never lets costs exclude someone who really is benefitting from the dynamics of the exercise. If that means lowering his price he will because he believes that he is helping people. Sometimes I think yoga studios charge a lot because like it or not yoga IS a trendy exercise at the moment and therefore they can.

    • Thanks for commenting Kelly! I appreciate your input, but I disagree that yoga is exercise. Yes, it is being packaged and promoted as a trendy way to get fit but yoga at its full expression is not a physical discipline – its a spiritual discipline. In the Western world it is found in gyms and is served as a medium of entertainment, but all of that is truly a gimmick to introduce people to the rest of what yoga is…breathing, moving meditation, a spiritual practice that pentrates our lives. In a way, I understand why it seems ridiculous that yoga costs more than kettlebells, especially if you are not aware of exactly what yoga is, but once you dive into the layers of yoga, teachers are actually (or should be!) providing more than physical adjustments and a means to get a workout in.

      • Thanks for such a lovely response. Really. I enjoy when people allow others to disagree and express their honest opinions on their blogs. I also like that you were so polite in each and every response. It says something about your character that you are open to people having their own opinions while still respectfully staying true to yours. 🙂

  9. I think that a lot of the time the price is more about the “studio experience” than about the actual yoga. The best yoga class I’ve ever done was a very inexpensive 8$ per class. The instructor came to our school and did it in the gym. We brought our own mats. Yeah, we didn’t have a beautiful mirrored room with wood floors. But the yoga was fantastic! If you want to yoga studio experience (wood floors, mirrored walls, a place to gather and chat and borrow books), then of course it’s going to cost more…because those things are expensive to run!

  10. Pingback: Scoring deals on yoga | What Kate Ate

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