Why I Don’t Pay For Yoga Classes

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About three weeks ago, I got a text message from a fellow pregno neighbor asking if I wanted to do prenatal yoga with her.

Upon seeing it, I got super excited and responded yes right away.

I knew that those yoga classes weren’t free.

But I was just so thrilled that someone asked me to hang out that I didn’t even bother to ask about the price.

Later on, I paid $30 for an intro pass (first month) which I could use to take as many yoga classes at the studio (a 5-minute drive from our house).

Given that I usually get home at 6 PM and need to take care of a toddler and do housework on weekdays, Saturday morning is the only class I was interested in, and I could do five of those in March ($6/class).

I was pleased with the price and happy to spend time with my neighbor/friend.

However, after that one month, the price would increase dramatically.

Below are the packages that are relevant to my case (one yoga class a week):

Annual Membership: $1,199/year

5x Month Membership: $79/month ($15.8/class)

I balk at those numbers. I can buy A LOT of things with $79/month or $1,199/year (i.e. extra mortgage payments) while still getting the yoga I need for free (aka YouTube instructor).

On a side note, I didn’t buy any yoga accessories. I wore a free T-shirt and a pair of light knit pants I bought 7-10 years ago.

I inherited a yoga mat from a friend which I kept in the storage for 2 years (I know, I’m a hoarder).

My neighbor bought a pair of yoga pants on sale for $18 and encouraged me to give it a try. I politely declined since I was totally fine with my sketchy knit pants.

I noticed that some women at the studio also wore a T-shirt while some just looked like professional yogis. I really didn’t care what they thought about my outfit.

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I am all about good health and exercise. I walk an hour every day (home to Metro & Metro to office and back).

I climb up and down three flights of stairs to do multiple loads of laundry on the weekends together with all the cleaning, vacuuming, and handwashing the dishes.

Many of my colleagues do yoga and have great things to say about it. I do think it’s important to stay healthy.

However, paying $15.8 for a class (an hour) is a bit beyond my health budget. I know you can’t put a price tag on your health, but something doesn’t feel right.

I have to admit that the main reason why I joined that prenatal class was to hang out with my neighbor. It’s a good way to build a relationship with her and for me to get out of the house and get some adult interaction.

Another neighbor has kindly asked her to go to a baking class with her, and I politely declined due to the price ($35/session). This yoga class is more reasonably priced, but should I pay $16 to socialize for an hour every Saturday?

I asked Mr. FAF if I should pay $78/month for yoga. I could tell from his facial expression that he didn’t think it was worth it. After all, he had never done yoga before. But he told me it was totally up to me.

I know he goes to lunch with his friend every week and pay $10-20 on the dine-out experience. Why do I feel so guilty about paying $16 a week for a yoga class?

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Should I pay $1,199/year for yoga classes?

Mom’s advice

This is the conversation I had with my mom about the prenatal yoga class:

Me: Mom, I’m doing prenatal yoga (thinking she’d be happy I’m doing some exercise).

Mom: I don’t think it’s necessary. You can just go for a long walk instead. It’s better for your pregnancy.

My mom, who grew up in a rural area in Vietnam and struggled financially throughout most of her marriage to my dad, doesn’t believe in paying money to work out.

My sister pays $500 for an annual gym membership, and my mom thinks it’s a total waste of money.

My mom always tells my sister that the best form of exercise is doing housework: sweeping and mopping the floor, cooking, washing clothes by hand (eh), etc. While exercising, we can also get work done around the house. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.

After talking to my mom, I was really on the fence about yoga classes. It wasn’t until the next weekend when I decided to do some spring cleaning and decluttering around the house that I realized that my mom was right.

I reorganized our pantry and the closet space near the front door which we also use as storage.

I threw away a bunch of expired stuff, brought to the office canned food I had gotten from friends and neighbors, and reorganized all the food so that we can find things more easily. I also donated some old shoes we no longer wear.

After 3-4 hours of decluttering and reorganizing, my body was exhausted from all the exercise, especially because I was almost six months pregnant.

We still have lots of nooks and crannies around the house I need to declutter for a simpler and happier life. Truth be told, sometimes we just buy new food and seasoning because we can’t find what we stuffed into the pantry weeks or months before.

And a lot of those unfound items expired. It’s a waste of money to let food expire and a waste of time to try to find things.

My mom was right, why pay $16 for an hour of exercise while I can just look up a YouTube video and do yoga at home for free?

I know Mr. Money Mustache has a built-in gym at home.

Mr. Frugalwoods, a yoga lover, used to volunteer at a yoga studio for half an hour to get a free class. I thought about volunteering, but laziness got the better of me.

Plus, my neighbor usually drives me to and from the class. Driving our own car and using the gas to get a free yoga class plus another 30 minutes of volunteering just didn’t appeal to me.

Decision time

It took me almost a month to make the decision and muster the courage to tell my neighbor that I was going to quit the yoga class. I’ve mentioned my concern about the price to her a couple of times, but she thought the rate was reasonable.

After all, her husband bought her a 10-day pass for $180 as a gift ($18/class), something I’m 100% sure Mr. FAF would never do.

Before texting my neighbor about the decision, I was afraid that she would think I’m cheap, and/or that I didn’t like hanging out with her. I did suggest that we could do yoga at home, but she didn’t seem too interested. Either way, I made up my mind.

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Sometimes I feel under pressure to pay in order to socialize and build friendships whether it’s eating out, going to a ticketed event, or doing yoga.

Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy those activities and the company. But I wonder if it’s possible to just have fun without paying $16-20/hour for a class, a meal, or a show.

I get that I might sound a bit cheap here, and that money is supposed to improve our life quality. But still, when the people I want to hang out with aren’t as frugal as I am or don’t have the same priorities as mine, I feel like I’m caught in a dilemma: spend money or be a loner.

Have you found yourself in the same dilemma? Do you manage to deal with it?


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14 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Pay For Yoga Classes”

  • Maybe you can find a group of financially savvy people in your area that do Yoga, and start a yoga group! The hope would be that one of said people has more experience than you at Yoga.

    Spending more money, to socialize i think is probably unnecessary, you just need to find more like minded people.

    • That’s a great idea! I thought about looking up a yoga group on Meetup, but laziness got the better of me. The thought of driving to a location to exercise is a bit daunting. I did try doing yoga with YouTube videos twice and soon got bored with it. I think I’d rather go clean the house to get the exercise >_<

  • There is a ton of good content out on the Internet, that could get you great pre-natal yoga
    if you do enjoy it that much 🙂

    • I totally agree. There’s just so much free material on YouTube. I can do without the class members since I rarely spoke to anyone in the class I went to anyway. :”>

  • I think this one is highly dependent on the yoga teacher. If I really like the yoga teacher, then I wouldn’t mind paying. I enjoy yoga, but haven’t done much since I quit working full time.

    • I think a good teacher does make a difference. My neighbor went to a class where the teacher didn’t do/teach much, and everyone got bored. I should be more into yoga to keep fit and stay healthy, but I just balk at the price. Doing yoga at home is the way to go for me 😀 #elcheapo

    • I got the intro rate which I think was the same discount through Groupon. I still feel happy and relieved I didn’t pay full price for a second month ($79). My frugal side would keep screaming for weeks @_@

    • I feel the same way! I’d rather jog around the neighborhood for free than paying $10/mo for gym membership and having to drive there for 15 mins one way like Mr. FAF.

  • Mother with Cents was watching prenatal yoga on YouTube when she was pregnant. Plus we would do walks together a few times a week and when she around 7-8 months pregnant we walked practically everyday.

    • My mom also said walking is good for pregnancy. It’s so sweet you went for a walk with Mother with Cents every day. I like going for a walk with Mr. FAF too! 🙂

  • I agree with you Ms FAF that yoga classes are very expensive, it’s outrageous! However, as someone who’s been practicing for 2 decades now, I urge you to please be very careful while practicing solo. Do not attempt advanced asanas too quickly just because you feel you can. Learning the basics is important. Luckily, I got them in India. My 2 cents is while practicing with a video, pay very careful attention to what the instructor is saying in terms of breathing and body position and if you can afford it, go to only basics class which teach each asana with a hands-on experience with the teacher who’d adjust your position.
    Pulling a muscle is soooo easy in yoga.
    Love the post, Ms FAF! I also did my prenatal yoga from home through videos and IG clips. Money saved!

  • I get your point about the cost, as you say $6 felt OK but you thought that $16 was too much. It’s right to make a judgement on when something crosses the good value line.

    The other aspect, the social side, is important though. A lot of my social contact is via the exercise (running and cycling) that I do, and it has become a really important part of my life. I could do it by myself, but I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much.

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