Yoga is one of my favorite things to do—it's a great way to relax and improve flexibility. But at $30 per session, I can't always attend a class as often as I'd like. But that doesn't mean I need to stow my yoga mat in the attic just yet! Last month I discovered some simple ways to get my yoga fix for free!
1. Pick up the phone
Call yoga studios near you to find out if they offer free classes. There are tons of studios across the United States that offer free yoga classes or classes on a donation or trial basis. Some classes are even specially designed for families with small children, which I've found is an awesome way to get my little ones moving. You can also check your local hospitals—no really! Some hospitals organize free yoga classes (as well as other free fitness and cooking courses) as a way to promote health and well-being in the community.
2. Click your mouse
Don't worry if you can't make it to a real live yoga class. There are tons of ways to find free yoga online. Yep, that means you can do yoga in your pajamas if you want! I love the website DoYogaWithMe. You can find hundreds of high definition yoga videos (they stream for free, but you choose to purchase them if you want) that are suitable for all fitness levels. You don't have to be super flexible (I can barely bend down to tie my own shoelaces, and I can still complete the videos) or athletic.
There are also free tutorials and mediations (I love the Yoga Nidra for Sleep meditation!) and free downloadable yoga programs that can last up to eight weeks! And don't forget the power of YouTube! There you can find tons of yoga videos taught by professional yoga instructors. Some of my favorites are Sara Beth Yoga and Yoga with Adriene.
3. What you’ll need
You don't need much to do yoga. A yoga mat is helpful, but I won't lie: I've used a long towel before, and it worked just as well. The studio I attend provides free yoga equipment to borrow such as yoga mats and yoga blocks. But I like to bring my own mat with me (then I don't have to worry about it smelling like stinky armpit). Wear breathable, comfortable clothing that you can easily stretch in, whether you are at home or in an actual studio. If you want to get extra fancy you can use yoga socks (which keep you from slipping and can help you transition from pose to pose) or yoga straps, which are really helpful for those tricky poses where you can’t reach your feet!
4. What to expect
The classes (both online and in real life) vary based on who is teaching. I do find that I enjoy some styles better than others. But that's the best part of free yoga. You can try out different classes or programs until you find one that fits you just perfectly! The instructors usually offer lots of modifications, so it's easy to follow along even if you are a complete newbie—or just really inflexible like me.
5. Additional perks
Many yoga studios (as well as the free websites mentioned earlier) offer a wide variety of yoga classes such as vinyasa yoga, yoga dance, hot yoga and a gentle yoga. Several studios also provide spirit/mind classes and workshops. For instance, my local yoga studio also offers free meditation and relaxation classes. Many studios also provide special discounts and sales on yoga items like mats and clothing. You can also expect invitations to special community events; my studio is currently hosting a bike race that ends with yoga in the park. Don't feel left out if you prefer to do your yoga online! Many of the websites (including Sara Beth Yoga and Yoga with Adriene) offer free yoga challenges throughout the year to help keep you motivated.
How do you do yoga for free in your community?