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Yoga on a Budget

Bikram yoga costs $20 per class. Boutique yoga costs $18 for a 60 minute session. Designer yoga pants cost $100? If your yoga practice is costing more than you make per hour, you may be looking for a more affordable way to get your om on. Here's a list of tips that will make your practice a little bit easier on the wallet:

1. Browse your local studios for specials: Check your local yoga studios' websites for specials. For example, a local ashtanga studio was offering $7 classes the entire month of July and I only found out from signing up on their email list. Most studios at least offer buying classes in bulk, at least, or introductory packages (for the first month) which can drop the price down to around $10 per class.

2. Community classes / pay what you can: Most studios in my area offer great deals like $5-$10 "express" yoga classes around lunch time or $5 community classes once per week. In Richmond, VA, we are lucky enough to have a nonprofit yoga studio which offers donations-based classes (suggested donation: $5-$10; but no one gets turned down) every day and night of the week.

3. Be a studio karmi: A "karmi", or karma yoga, is an apprentice or handyman that helps yoga studios out by checking in guests, cleaning yoga mats and cleaning the studio. The karmi position is a barter-only position, but it can be worth the extra work! Not only will you get to work on your practice, you get to meet other yogis in the local yoga community.

4. Invest in good equipment: Renting, even borrowing equipment can be helpful in the short term, but you can actually save money by investing in a great yoga mat that will last decades. Cheap PVC mats cost around $25 and will last you six months, tops, if practicing twice per week. Dragonfly yoga offers a limited lifetime warranty on some of its mats: the Dragonfly Performance Pro, the Natural Rubber Performance Yoga Mat, and the Dragonfly Natural Rubber Lite Yoga Mat. Because of the high quality composition found in these mats, they cost more initially but are actually guaranteed to last a lifetime. Plus, they are easy on the joints and can decrease your risk of injury, further decreasing cost.

5. Buy a PassBook: If you live in or are visiting big cities like New York or Los Angeles, you can make a one-time yearly investment of $85 in a fitness or yoga passbook, loaded with coupons and vouchers for free yoga classes.

6. Practice at home: Practicing in the convenience and comfort of your own living room or bedroom can cut down on not only the bare cost of class but gas and other factors as well, which add up over time. Yoga cards and yoga books can help you structure your own flow of asanas, but I personally prefer using a yoga DVD. It's more like a regular class. Although only practicing on your own is not completely recommended, it can be a convenient and cost effective supplement to your classes.

What kind of tricks and tips can you offer to help other members of the yoga community practice on the cheap?

By: Amber Jennings (G+)

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