a few weeks ago, i was asked by the editor of Free L.A.: The Ultimate Free Fun Guide to the City of Angels to write a blog post for its companion website, freefunguides.com. i gladly agreed to send in something, and after finally being able to clear my calendar just long enough for me to write that post, i've come up with an initial draft. so if you have any additions, corrections, and/or comments, i'd appreciate hearing from you. thanks!
here it is:
FREE and Affordable Yoga Classes in LA!
Every day of the week, somewhere in your neck of the woods, there's a FREE yoga class that's perfect for you -- you just need to know where to find it!
You might want to start with a nearby yoga studio; most yoga studios offer a "First Class FREE" deal to new students. Some may restrict the offer to locals, although the definition of "local" can mean anything from a resident of the same city to a resident of the same state! A number of studios also offer FREE introductory classes to newbie yoga students. All these offers are meant to give you a taste of the facilities, the teachers, the classes, and maybe even the other students. The hope is that you'll like the studio so much that you'll want to come back... as a paying student, of course. But not to worry; there usually are discounts available if you belong to a group (like KCRW, students, and seniors) or if you buy a series of classes. Just make sure to ask if your prepaid classes have an expiration date; in most cases, you'll forfeit them if you don't redeem them quickly enough.
(Pardon the shameless plug, but I have a nice list -- and map, too! -- of LA yoga studios on my blogsite, The Accidental Yogist, along with links to their websites.)
FREE yoga classes are also offered on weekends (usually on Sunday mornings) at all lululemon athletica locations around town. Here are their locations in the LA area; click on the store name to access its community events page:
You might also want to consider going to a donation-based yoga studio. Donation-based means you should give what you can comfortably afford to pay for the classes you take. There may be times when you're so broke that a dollar is all you can spare, and there may be times when you can easily pay the suggested amount (usually around $14) or more. What you choose to give is entirely between you and the donation box. Keep in mind that the teachers make their living from what ends up in that box at the end of class, so as long as they can continue to make ends meet from your contributions, they will continue to be there for your yoga class needs.
Bryan Kest's Power Yoga studio in Santa Monica was one of the earliest proponents of donation-based classes. It's because of this that most of the donation-based studios seem to be clustered around Santa Monica, although there are a few places that have opened closer to Downtown. Here are some yoga studios to get you started; click on the studio name to access its website:
As with all yoga classes, please show up for class dressed in clothing that will allow you to move comfortably. You will also be expected to take your shoes off at the door, so consider wearing footwear that can easily be slipped on and off. Many locations have yoga mats available for a nominal rental fee, although if you bring your own mat, you'll know that you were the only one whose sweat has touched its surface! It's best if you refrain from eating at least two hours before class -- just imagine yourself twisting and bending with a full belly, and you'll understand why. And please don't forget to turn off your cell phone before class starts!
Yoga is a great stress reliever, and knowing that yoga CAN be affordable will help reduce that stress even more!