Everyone I know seems to be affected in one way or another by the current recession. People are getting laid off, business is slow, and people are stressed. It is easy to become overwhelmed by fear and distracted from your path.

Remember that you get more of what you focus on, so instead of staying in the fear, get moving and come to yoga.

Don’t make the mistake of cutting yoga out of your life because you are afraid you cannot afford it! Yoga has the reputation of being expensive and only accessible to the rich, but there are many low cost ways to learn.

During trying times, the practice of tapas (discipline) is more important than ever. Here are some low-cost ways to get you back on your mat, day after day.


All the local yoga studios offer some sort of work trade. You help check people into class, clean the studio, or hang fliers around town and in exchange you get free yoga classes. This is a great option for those who are self-employed and are dealing with a slow down in business. Use your extra time constructively! Contact individual studios for openings and details.

Community classes/sliding scale

Many of the studios in town offer specially priced classes or sliding scale classes where you pay according to your ability.

Asheville Yoga Center offers $6 and $7 classes as an offering to the community, including two of my classes there: Gentle Yoga Basics at 9:45am on Tuesdays and Level 2 at 4:15pm on Sundays.

West Asheville Yoga and Namaste offer all of their classes on a sliding scale basis. WAY classes range from $6-11 for one hour classes and $9-14 for 1.5 hour classes. Namaste classes range from $7-12 for one hour classes and $10-15 for 1.5 hour classes. Pay what you can within that range, you decide where you fall on the scale.

If you aren’t local, check to see if any of your local studios offer sliding scale or community priced classes.

Love offering classes

There are a few classes around town offered on a donation basis. There is one at Namaste on Saturday afternoons and one at Firestorm cafe on Sunday mornings. Contact those places for more details and ask around, I’m sure there are more that I don’t know about.


The YMCA offers financial aid to help pay for their memberships. You do not need to make less than a specific amount of money, just fill out an application and tell them what your circumstances are and why you think you need assistance. I know of several people who get unlimited yoga classes at the Y for less than the cost of two drop-in studio classes per month.

Community College

Anyone can take classes at AB Tech (the local community college here in Asheville), you do not have to be enrolled in a program. The yoga classes meet twice a week for four months and only cost $42 for the whole semester. That means you are paying only slightly more than $1 per class! This is possible because the classes are subsidized by the state. Thank you taxpayers of North Carolina! If you live elsewhere, check with your local community college to see if they offer yoga.

Home Practice

Use this seeming hardship and turn it into a blessing by finally starting that home practice like you’ve been meaning to for years. Start small and work your way up. Yes, it’s ok to use dvds. Whatever gets you on your mat is perfect. Yogatoday.com offers a variety of different level classes to stream from your computer for free. They rotate daily and have three different instructors, so there is something for almost everyone.

Practice with friends

If you have a hard time practicing on your own, make a yoga date with a friend. You can get together and do a video, take turns leading, or just do your own thing together. Beware of the tendency to chat and forget about your practice. If you find yourself falling into this habit, try to make the first half hour be silent and then see what happens.

Do you have any ideas for practicing yoga on a budget that I missed? Comment on this post below.