In addition to being a writer, blogger, friend, wife and mother, I am also a yoga teacher. I came to yoga eight years ago when I was searching, first for exercise and later, for something more. After a few years of regular practice, I decided to teach. In teaching I have found inspiration and fulfilment in knowing that I am sharing my knowledge with others and helping them discover deeper parts of themselves (both physical and mental). But mostly, I enjoy the opportunity to learn from the students who attend my class.

Yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years. Not only is it more present in popular culture, but it is also being prescribed by many health professionals as a gateway to better health. The unfortunate part of yoga’s rise in popularity has been the high cost of taking classes. Because of increasing demand classes and relatively smaller supply of qualified teachers and institutions, industry has been able to charge high prices for the privilege of practising under professional guidance. Unfortunately, this means that budget-conscious individuals have very little access to this lifestyle.

Luckily, a number of teachers offer sporadic classes by donation, or free as part of seva (selfless service); however these classes are not offered regularly enough. But the truth is that yogis have to earn a living too! Because of this predicament, I would like to suggest alternatives and offer practical ways you can learn how to do yoga for less.

Alternatives to Yoga Studios

For me, a yoga studio is the ideal place for practice. Teachers in studios are well-qualified, employees live by the principles of yoga and there is a certain community vibe to a yoga studio that is not always present elsewhere. Unfortunately, practising in a studio usually costs more.

A gym can be a good alternative to a studio, depending on the qualifications of the teachers and the depth of the program, of course. Personally, I have had the pleasure of practising in a gym that offers an authentic and comprehensive yoga program, which is also affordable. The monthly cost of its membership is $50 per month for access to all of its facilities, including unlimited yoga; whereas, a month of unlimited yoga in a studio will cost anywhere from $100-$130 per month.  Ouch!

Home Practice

If you are new to yoga, generally timid in nature or a downright homebody, beginning a home practice may be the best way to introduce yoga into your exercise routine. You will not get the feedback that I live teacher would provide in class, but you should be able to benefit from the practice regardless.

There exists a wide range of yoga instructional dvds for purchase. I suggest borrowing the dvd from a friend or from your local library before committing to buying it. If you are going to listen to the exact same words, from the exact same person, and repeat the exact same sequence on a regular basis, you better make sure that you like it first.

An alternative to the dvd would be a book of sequences. Several are available to purchase online or at your local book store. At first learning the poses from a book may take longer, but over time you can develop a respectable home practice.

To get you started, I am including a short sequence that you can try at home.* Click the individual links to access a photo and a written description of how to get into each posture. Try to work up to holding each posture for five breaths.

  1. Child’s Pose
  2. Cow Poses
  3. Cat Pose (repeat 2 & 3 five times)
  4. Downward Facing Dog
  5. Standing Forward Bend
  6. Chair Pose
  7. Mountain Pose
  8. Tree Pose
  9. Warrior II
  10. Revolved Triangle Pose
  11. Downward Facing Dog
  12. Boat Pose
  13. Seated Forward Bend
  14. Seated Twist
  15. Corpse Pose

Free Online Resources

All links provided in this sequence originate from YogaJournal.com, which is an invaluable resource for all yoga enthusiasts.

*Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

{Image via j.sparksphotography}