Why Is Yoga So Expensive?

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

Iโ€™m the owner of Carrots โ€˜Nโ€™ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning! ๐Ÿ˜€

How’d you sleep last night? I finally got a good night’s rest. The past few nights, I haven’t been able to shut off my brain, so I’ve been tossing and turning and obsessing/worrying, but last night, I slept well. Thank goodness!

Last Night’s Dinner

Last night’s dinner was another four-ingredient recipe: Broccoli & Cheese Couscous with roasted broccoli, cannellini beans, and crumbled feta.

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I cooked the couscous and roasted broccoli separately, and then just mixed everything together. Delish!

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Mal and I sat down to dinner at 4:50 pm. Hello, early bird special!

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After dinner, I enjoyed two pieces of whole wheat toast with almond butter and peanut butter and chocolate chips on top. Mmm!

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Breakfast

This morning’s breakfast was whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana slices on top. Nothing fancy, but still delicious, nutritious, and satisfying.

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I also drank a glass of iced coffee with breakfast.

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A few weeks ago, I bought a two-week unlimited pass to a nearby yoga studio. I paid $25 and used it to its full advantage. I attended five sessions in two weeks, so it worked out to $5 per class. Pretty good, right?

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Unfortunately (for me), this offer was only a one-time deal, so I couldn’t buy another one, but I really like the yoga studio and my regular practice is doing me a lot of good. It has helped loosen my tight runner’s legs, increased my core strength, and improved my mood. (I’ve been a lot more pleasant lately!) The studio offered a number of membership options:

  • Drop In Rate: $14
  • 5 Class Pass: $65
  • 10 Class Pass: $125
  • 30 Day Unlimited Pass: $150
  • 6 Month Unlimited Pass: $749

I really wanted to sign up for the 6 Month Unlimited Pass or even the 30 Day Unlimited Pass, but I just couldn’t justify spending the money, especially since I already pay for a gym membership. I realize that I can always practice yoga at home for free, but I just don’t get as good of a workoutโ€โ€ I get distracted, lose interest, and don’t challenge myself as much as I would if I were in a class setting.

I took a quick poll on Twitterย the other day, and it seems that these prices are pretty standard, so I bit the bullet and bought a 10 Class Pass, which works out to $12.50 per class. I probably won’t attend yoga classes as much, but maybe it’ll get me to take my at-home practice a little more seriously. Who knows, maybe I’ll reprioritize my spending so I can afford an Unlimited Pass?

Question of the Day

Why is yoga so expensive? If you take classes, how much do you pay?

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198 Comments

  1. Tina,
    I have had this exact same dilemma. I have a gym membership (and a fairly expensive one at that – approx $65/month) The gym has a great spa, great pools, and great classes. There are a few other gyms in the area that are cheaper, but this one is literally between work and home for me, as well as I have had memberships at a few of the other gyms previously and I just wasn’t as happy. So I guess I’m paying a little more for happiness? I also love yoga, but all of the “free” classes I can get at my gym, they’re just meh. I like the yoga studio mentality and that it’s practice and not a workout. I had a yoga teacher at the gym who was practically a cheerleader (come on guys!!! you can do it!!!)… it was awful. The yoga studio where I practice is amazing! And I love the instructors. Drop ins are $16, and then there’s a breakdown of specials much like you mentioned. Occasionally if you happen to be there on the right day they will have different specials such as “buy one get one free” which is really nice. Their monthly membership is $99/month, but I couldn’t justify that and a gym membership. So I limit myself to yoga once a week, sometimes less. I would LOVE to do it everyday, but I’m pretty sure that would break the bank.

  2. I’ve been paying $14 a class when I go down here in Florida…luckily my gym at home offers classes that aren’t extra on top of my monthly membership fee (like my old gym)…only problem is that the times they hold the classes never fit into my schedule…hopefully once the spring schedule comes out for classes they will!

  3. The studio I attend is a co-op so it has the lowest prices in the area because they do not make a profit off it. I pay $68/month for unlimited. The drop-in rate is $12-15 depending on class length though. The downside is that their class selection and times are more limited, but it works for my schedule.

  4. I guess we are lucky where I live. We have a studio that does group classes only and they offer yoga 3-4 times a week at different times. The price is 99.00 for 9 weeks of unlimited classes, Yoga, Step, Zumba, etc. It’s an amazing place, run in partnership with the Recreation Council. Maybe you have something like that around you?

  5. We are really lucky to have these 2 ladies, The Traveling Yoga Sisters, who travel around town and do classes at different locations where they can get the studios for free – it’s only $5 per class and the classes are great!

  6. I’m a lot like you in that I have a hard time with at-home work outs. I just can’t get seem to get into it the way you do in a class setting (classes are THE main reasons I even bought a gym membership in the first place). But I’ve REALLY wanted to start doing yoga 1-2 times a week …. mix things/the routine up a little ๐Ÿ™‚ I found a groupon for a local yoga studio near my work – $29 for 7 classes … normally a $129 deal! I really enjoyed the first class, but after those 7 are up, I can’t see myself spending the standard fee ….
    I assume we’re paying for that professional/relaxed/yoga-only atmosphere?

  7. I buy 10 class passes at Dancing Crow for $125. It’s worth it to me since I don’t belong to a gym, and it keeps me sane. They usually do an unlimited summer pass for $300 which I love.

    Emma’s Dragonfly Yoga Studio in Marshfield is $12 for dropins, and they have good classes (but a small & crowded space.)

  8. I’m not sure if they have anything like this in your area, but my roomies and I go to a studio called Karmany yoga. The studio is run by instructors who teach at other studios during the day hours, so class prices are donation based…as in you pay what you can afford to pay each time you attend. It’s a really interesting philosophy of “you get back what you give.” They have recommended rates, but at the end of the class you are only required to drop in the money basket whatever you can afford on your way out. It’s awesome for people like me who have just graduated and are on their own for the first time with an entry level liberal arts salary haha

  9. I have the same issue…I just can’t seem to focus when doing yoga at home! Prices seem pretty consistent with my local studio (that I looooove), but I too had no room in my budget for classes. My gym offers yoga 3-4 times per week. While not as serene and relaxing as the local yoga studio (no dim lights and incense), I go there because, well, it’s FREE with my membership! Maybe something to consider at your gym?

  10. I am kind of shocked about the prices! I live in Germany and most of our Yoga Studios cost around 30 รขโ€šยฌ (ca. 42 $)per month and you can attend as often as you like. Makes me wonder why it is so expensive in the US or why it is so cheap in Europe ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. I pay $99 a month for unlimited classes. Last night we did 54 sun salutes for the spring equinox. I can barely move my arms today, and I think I shed a few tears of joy when she said “last one!” It’s a great studio.

  12. It is kind of ridiculous how expensive yoga is! I’d love to take 2-3 classes a week but I just don’t have that kind of bank roll! I guess I’ll stick with yogadownload and my living room for now ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. so I am a group fitness instructor and I just added yoga to my repertoire! I have a big space under my screen printing company so I am using that area to have YOGA!!!!! Because I don’t have any employees and I am not paying rent YET, I am offering my classes for a drop in rate of $10.00 OR 4 classes for $20.00 and 8 classes for $40.00. Again, I don’t have to pay rent yet, but right now, I just want to share yoga with everyone and be affordable ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I ask myself this question ALL THE TIME> I know yoga would be good for me as a very tight hipped runner with back problems, but I cannot afford it! I am like you, I get bored at home and don’t push myself…I mean, all you need is an empty room and an instructor right? why or why must they do this to us?

  16. Why IS yoga so expensive!? I took a class I loved a while back here in DC. I would have totally been a yoga convert but when I realized it was over $2,000 a year to join I decided I’d better not! Perhaps it’s due to the fact that some are willing to shell out that kind of money. Sadly, I’m not one of them!

  17. I pay $120 for 10 classes and go twice a week. However sometimes they have a special for an all you go in a month for that price (instead of the $150) and I have done that and I make certain to try and go 3 times a week then. At Christmas I got a 30 day pass for $100 and was ELATED!

    I wish I knew why it is so expensive!!! Just seems silly!

  18. I think yoga is so expensive because compared to a gym, where you push yourself through a workout or take a class, its a more comprehensive service that’s provided. Its not only a physical exertion but a mental exercise as well and can even be fulfilling or releasing (whichever you need) on a spiritual level as well. That’s just my take, but I do agree that its costly. Its also very expensive for hot yoga studios to run heat, which is reflected in their rates. I used to pay $150 a month for unlimited yoga but now that I teach I get free classes, which is the most amazing perk!

  19. Body by Bethenny and 10 lb Slimdown Yoga are both On Demand for free. Plus, you can get free workouts on yogadownload.com. I would much rather just do those at my own pace whenever I want to than pay an arm and a leg for classes!

  20. I can never explain why yoga is expensive but the price list is somewhat the same every where. So thankful for LivingSocial and Groupon for ongoing deals that help us save in this department ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Check some studios around you and see if they have any specials going on, and/or get on their email list so that you don’t miss any bargains! Facebook too, they tend to mention specials there a lot! I drop in occasionally when I see some specials, or something interesting. OH! And, I do love that YogaDownload.com you shared too, I’ll do that after my runs at the gym (YMCA, I have a family membership there and it happens to have some really great yoga classes that fit into my schedule). Good luck!

  22. Oh my gosh, that is really expensive! Here in Austin we have a yoga co-op, and they take a donation for every yoga sesh you attend–and they suggest $5! Guess I’m just spoiled ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I think you get what you pay for. I take yoga twice a week, it’s about 16 dollars a class, a discount if you get a 10 class pass. It’s 75 minutes. Mine is about to run out, and I will get another one. I’m a runner, spinning instructor and Pilates instructor. I charge 15 dollars per session (more for private) and work out of my home and I teach at a gym. We pay a lot of money to get certified, and continue our education. Also, small class sizes are the key. It gives the instructor a chance to correct and modify any moves, and benefits the participant.

    I have gone to free will yoga in the past. Not as good, it would have been more beneficial to stay home with a dvd. Hope this explains why it can be pricey.

  24. I totally agree with your comment about it being expensive!

    I can take classes for free through my YMCA membership, which is great. I know some Y’s charge for it per class, but mine doesn’t.

    I may take it through work soon and it would break down to $5 a class. I figured for a mid-day yoga session in the middle of a work day, it was worth it to pay for something on-site. And that way, I could still go to the gym after work to do some cardio and weights!

  25. Ugh I hate that the classes are so expensive! Try to look for other studios that offer classes or look on groupon/lifebooker for deals.

    I went to a yoga ashram in Upstate NY and they take payments for their yoga classes on a donation basis. They ask for $10 but they always say it’s completely up to the person. I think that’s amazing! Of course I would pay the $10 but I really appreciate the fact that people who really can’t afford a 6 month pass for $700. That’s a boat load for 1 stop shop!

    Do they use a “core” practice with added poses? Perhaps it would be worth it to go a few times, learn the core practice and do it from home as much as you can.

  26. Yoga can definitely be pricey, but I’d suggest checking out a couple options: I know there’s a lululemon in Boston, not sure any that are closer to you, but all lululemons should offer weekly complimentary classes (I know ours are on Sunday mornings). Also, a lot of studios in my area will offer a weekly “Karma Class” or “Practice with a Purpose” class – classes that are usually an hour long and are a suggested $5 donation to the studios current charity. Additionally, some studios will offer weekly $5 community classes. Finally, of course, check out groupon and living social. I’ve gotten a lot of great deals and branched out in my yoga practice a lot from different groupons I’ve found (most noticeably, a 20 classes for $20 pass to a new, state of the art Bikram studio where the drop in is normally $18!).

    As long as you’re willing to try to different studios, I’ve found there are usually some good options out there!

  27. I think the cost is all relative. If you work one-on-one with a trainer, it’s in the range of $50 – $125, right? So basically you are sharing the cost of an instructor when you take a yoga class, so it’s actually quite cheap when you look at it that way.

    Yoga instructors, just like everyone else, need to make a living. The average salaries for yoga instructors (even compared to other fitness instructors) is quite low — in the 30K range and most are contractors and work in several studios and have to mish-mash their schedules together, probably also without health insurance, which, when your job is THAT physically demanding, can be quite a risk to your health if you have an injury pop up. Not to mention your income!

    When you take a yoga class you are receiving a service and, hopefully, it’s a quality one. It sounds like most of you find the service valuable. Instead of looking at it as a dollar amount, think about the benefit it adds to your life. If it’s something you can’t live without, then it’s more than worth the $12. I also like to compare what I would spend that money. $12? That’s probably less than the cost of one meal out a week.

    I’m not a yoga instructor, by the way, but do work in the fitness industry ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. @Cat:
      Cat, I wholeheartedly agree that we ought to compensate instructors for the services rendered, but my sense is that expensive yoga is more likely operating in service of a profit margin or the spa-ification of studios. The yoga in North America that I have been exposed to scarcely resembles its original counterpart. I always tell my friends to be suspicious of studios that look like spas, because at the core if it, the yogic way of life would eschew the Lululemonization of yoga practice. Increasingly, I see the commercialization of yoga as erecting walls to keep out those who cannot afford the type of “enlightenment” that’s for sale. I think it’s so wonderful that people have taken to sharing in this practice and enjoy its rewards, but how about a little bit of seva (service) on the part of the yoga industry to make it something for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚
      Not disagreeing – just latching on and expanding on your good point ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. @DJ:Haha, well I am going to disagree with you! I definitely think it’s a noble practice for yoga instructors to have donation classes, teach for free, etc. but I don’t think it’s an inherently bad thing to make a profit on a yoga or fitness-based business. Um, why is that bad??!! It would be crazy not to make a profit and if you run a business that doesn’t make a profit, after a few years, the IRS would be suspicious. Because that makes no business sense. And being noble does not pay ones rent ๐Ÿ™‚

        Also, yes, yoga is different in America than it is in India. Seems sort of a natural thing to me, since we’re a completely different culture. But, also, some of us don’t view yoga as a spritual practice, but rather a way to stretch — i.e., how many bloggers in this sphere are using yoga as a way to recover and prevent injuries? Lots!

        And I would agree the other few commenters that cited small class sizes and the general studio experience…this is definitely why yoga is so “expensive”! Running a brick and mortar business isn’t just a room with an instructor, either. It’s marketing, insurance, credit card fees (usually 1.5 – 4% of gross receipts on credit card purchases) etc.

  28. I go to a WONDERFUL studio in Somerville and buy 10 classes at a time, which costs $110 if you are a student or teacher (love that the discount is applied to teachers ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I quit my gym last year and now pay for each class I attend, whether it’s yoga at my yoga studio or zumba at a pay-as-you-go gym in downtown Boston.

  29. Wow, I never realized how expensive the classes were. I like doing them at home OnDemand, but it might be nice to pop into a class once in a while.

  30. I often wonder this myself. Especially when you already pay upwards of $50/month for a gym membership, it seems like a waste to pay for outside classes. But I totally agree that it’s better to go to an actual class, esp if you have a great instructor that will help with your form and challenge you. Oh, expensive gym memberships…

  31. boy do I have comments on this topic. As a student, who also happens to have a passion for yoga, it pains me to pay the bill. I’ve tried sticking to yoga at the regular gym, but you don’t get the same experience as a real yoga studio. Right now, i pay nz$110 for 10 classes ($11/class) which is very reasonable, but you only get that deal if you are a student. It pains be but its worth it. Right now, I’m sticking to one class a week, then trying to recreate what happens in class at home. It’s not as good as the real thing, but its better than nothing

  32. OK, I might get into trouble here, but I think classes at a studio are more expensive because you get a (generally) higher caliber group of teachers, smaller classes, and more personal attention than you get in a gym setting. Not that there aren’t great yoga teachers at gyms, because often there are. But studios will pay more for highly trained and experienced teachers.
    A studio setting will also be quieter. We have a yoga studio at the gym where I teach, but it’s right off of the main gym floor and the loud music bleeds through. I teach Pilates, not yoga, but I take yoga classes. And I teach my class in the main studio, which is right below the weight room, so there’s a constant soundtrack of dropping free weights throughout the class.
    That being said, I love it when yoga studios offer either Community or pay-what-you-can classes. MUCH more affordable, lol!

  33. I totally have this problem! I actually quit my gym membership so that I can spend more on yoga (I have a treadmill in my house so I just run outside or on the treadmill and then do yoga- but I do totally miss group classes and all that). I also buy in 10 class passes so that if I get busy for awhile and don’t go I’m not paying for it. Still not cheap though! I do like Yoga Sculpt and 10 Lb Yoga Slimdown on On Demand at home- it’s not as good as classes but it is good!

  34. I just wanted to let you know that there is a new yoga place in the middle of Braintree Square called Jai that has yoga drop ins for $10. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve been meaning to go! I’ve heard its great, and they were on Groupon maybe two weeks ago?

  35. I love yoga! I can’t afford to pay for classes but fortunately I love practicing at home and do yoga 3-4 times per week. I have five or six DVD’s that I really love and I rarely do the same one twice in one week. Normally I do yoga in the morning to help prepare me for my day but I’ve been really digging stress relief yoga in the evening. Its definately helped me sleep better and I think it even helped me improve my run time during a recent 5k! I think it helped me relax and focus on my goals for the run. I would however, like to take a few classes to get more of a challenge and to make sure my posture and form are correct. Great post and thanks for all the info!

  36. Last year the staff at our school found someone to do a staff yoga class for a term. It was much cheaper because it was in our own gym and not in a studio. Maybe you could find a group of friends to share the cost of an instructor.

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