Why Is Yoga So Expensive?


For the past decade, yoga has been experiencing a boom. More and more yoga studios are opening up, driving up the competition and with that, the prices of yoga classes. And so if you are wondering why yoga is expensive, let’s have a look.

So why is yoga so expensive? In short, the ongoing training that most yoga teachers do as well as the ever-increasing prices in rent around the world is the main reasons yoga classes are rather expensive. Thankfully, there are also cheaper options as well as some free ones too.

It all comes down to personal preference, of whether you want to invest in going to a teacher that may be considered expensive, or if you want to even practice for free following the countless yoga video there are currently online.

What are the average prices of yoga across the US?

If you are curious to see the average prices of yoga classes across the US, I’ve put together a list of prices. What I did was a search for a wide variety of cities across the US and typed: “city_name + yoga” and chose the yoga studio that ranked first in Google.

After looking at the population of each US city, I started with the largest city in the US which is New York, and then selected some of the next largest cities. When I reached a population of 1 million I then moved on in increments of 100,000. So from 1 million to 900,000 to 800,000 etc.

I will point out that by no means is this an exhaustive list and may I also point out that the most loved yoga studios may not rank as high as the more popular ones. For the matter of this article however, we will have to just accept that the prices found are a general indicator of the prices of that city/size of the city.

Without further ado, the following is a pricing guide for you to check out the prices of yoga classes across the US.

PopulationUSdrop-in pricemonthly rate
8 millionNew York$31$180
4 millionLos Angeles$27$159
2,7 millionChicago$23$160
1 millionSan Hose$20$155
900,000Columbus$15$99
800,000Seattle$22$120
700,000Boston$22$125
600,000Baltimore$15$125
500,000Sacramento$22$119
400,000Tulsa $15$150
300,000Pittsburgh$19$105
200,000Salt Lake city$19$150
100,000Edison$15$110
Why yoga is expensive

As is expected, the largest cities tend to have the highest rents and so we would expect their prices to be higher.

And yet if you look closely, you may have noticed the prices increasing as the population decreases. The one main reason for that is that as the population decreases, so do the numbers of students per class. And so studios in smaller towns may have to have higher pricing than would be expected to keep their business afloat.

The expensive side of being a yoga teacher

Nowadays, in order to ‘officially’ become a yoga teacher, you need one thing. Do a 200hr teacher training.

In most cases, these teacher trainings are taught as an intensive in one month. That basically means around 6,5 hours a day of yoga for 30 days and boom, you’re a yoga teacher.

And yet, the reality is that it is not that simple.

A 200hr yoga teacher training basically gives a taster of some of the knowledge required to become a teacher. Some practice, some anatomy, some philosophy, maybe even some pranayama and meditation. But in reality, that is just the stepping stone to becoming a yoga teacher.

It takes years of personal practice, getting to know your own body, your own being, studying with one or a variety of gifted and experienced teachers, self-study on a variety of topics, and only then are you perhaps ready.

In my quest to improve both my practice and my teaching, as an Ashtanga practitioner, I went every year to my teacher in Mysore, India. After 4 trips, 30 days each, 4 years in total I was authorized, which means that I was then allowed to teach Ashtanga. Quite a difference if we compare it to the standard 30 days of the 200hr training.

On top of that, I studied with Matthew Sweeney in Bali and Kia Neddermier in Paris. Almost a month with each teacher. I will average the total cost to travel, study, and live in Mysore, Bali, and Paris (where my teachers are located) for each trip at $2500.

Now, if we also take in mind that I received no income for each of those months, and still had bills to pay back home, you may begin to see how truly expensive it is to try to become a better yoga practitioner and teacher.

Of course, that was my path. Not all yoga teachers have the time or money to leave their lives for so long and spend so much money. But then again, not all yoga teachers are alike. For me, its what I felt I needed.

Online yoga classes

The internet really has changed our lives. And one way it can help make yoga more affordable is through online classes.

There are a multitude of platforms with yoga classes, each with a different line up of teachers. Most cater for all styles of yoga, all ages of practitioners, and all abilities.

Below are perhaps the most well-known online yoga memberships, in no particular order.

Name of site Number of teachersNumber of classesPrice per month
OmStars124310 courses (each has many classes)$14.99
$12.50/month with annual subscription
Ekhart yoga22 (plus 30 guest teachers)3820$16 or
$13.33/month with annual subscription
Alomoves681644$20 or
$9/month with annual subscription
Yoga Anytime108more than 2600$16 or
€126/year
Gaia12under 1000$11,99 or
$8,25/month with an annual subscription
YogaGlo54more than 4000$18
List of yoga classes online along with details of numbers of teachers, classes and prices.

Free yoga class options

Most of the online platforms mentioned above offer a 14-day trial period. One possibility could be to try them all out and hopefully you will manage to find a site, teacher, and practice that clicks for you.

Additionally, most yoga studios offer taster classes. This generally involves just the 1st class. It’s worth exploring the studios in your area and trying out their free taster classes. This way you will hopefully find a studio that you like that is also within your budget.

Going back to online classes, YouTube is also a great resource for free yoga classes. Type yoga and you’ll see thousands of free classes! One rule of thumb is to type into YouTube the different types of yoga you may want to explore and see what comes up.

A YouTube channel that seems to be doing exceptionally well on YouTube is Yoga with Adriene. Adriene teaches a wide variety of classes which seem to be ideal for beginners. With 7 million subscribers and over 500 videos, you are likely to find a class that you like.

As an Ashtanga practitioner, my go-to YouTube channel is Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga. They offer led classes with many well-known and respected Ashtanga teachers and they also have a variety of tutorials and talks.

What equipment do I need to buy if I do decide to do yoga at home?

So this is where the ‘free’ yoga option or at least the relatively cheap online option requires an initial investment. Yoga studios generally have all the equipment you will ever need. If you decide to practice yoga at home you will need a yoga mat. That! And then regarding your levels of flexibility and the practice you choose to do, you may need blocks, a belt, and maybe even a bolster.

Is it safe to practice yoga at home without a teacher?

Well, this is a big question! I will write more on this in a separate article. For now, I will say that if you have any health issues of injuries, ideally you would want to practice with a teacher. At least in the beginning and allow the teacher to tailor the practice to your needs. Perhaps then you would practice at home and then do some drop-in classes with your teacher to make sure you are practicing in an ideal way for you and your body.

Is yoga really that expensive?

So one other side of the argument is that yoga actually helps you save money. Many of my students were referred to my classes by their physiotherapists, or some chose to try yoga rather than physiotherapy. In some parts of the world, a one-to-one treatment can be crazy expensive. So if we were to compare that to a monthly fee at a yoga studio, we would see that in fact, yoga is actually much cheaper. It is all relative and really does depend on our needs and desires.

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Alexia Koletsou

Alexia Koletsou is a Level 1 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher with a Ph.D. in Science Communication. She received her blessing to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2019, from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, where she has had the honor of practicing with R. Sharath Jois multiple times over the years. She is the owner of her own Shala in Greece and now shares her knowledge on yogamyoldfriend.com and her YouTube channel Alexia K Yoga.

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