Monday, April 26, 2010

The price of practice

Yoga classes, monthly passes, workshops, teacher trainings, yoga clothes… translates to a lot of $$$$.

Yoga is expensive. But one reason I am so drawn to the practice is because it has the potential to be accessible to everyone. It is simple, it requires minimal equipment, and it is something that can be practiced daily in one’s home.

I love the idea that yoga is meant to be for everyone, as David Garrigues talks about this in his recent blog post, quoting Pattabhi Jois saying “All can take practice.”

But unfortunately, not all can afford the practice. As discussed in this article in the NY Times over the weekend, there is a “brewing resistance to the expense, the cult of personality, the membership fees." The article features Yoga to the People, a studio offering a different approach with a “pay-what-you-can” fee structure. There is a donation box outside and students crowd into the room, lining up mat to mat (up to 60 students in the room!).

As they say on their site:
Yoga to the People is a unique yoga studio with the goal of recapturing what we consider to be the essence of yoga… simply put, yoga made available to everyone.
In a time where yoga as a business is getting a lot of attention, the fact that it is being priced out of many people’s reach is in direct conflict with what we consider to be the spirit of yoga itself. The question our studio seeks to answer is: Can a yoga studio maintain itself as a business while keeping the focus of its intention on providing yoga as a service first and foremost?
I hope they find the answer to be yes... seems like it's working for them so far!

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