Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

freedom of choice

i recently put in another work exchange stint at yogaworks main street. this time, instead of distributing flyers in posh neighborhoods, i actually worked in the studio, checking in students for vinnie marino's and annie carpenter's evening classes. vinnie has the reputation of being one of the toughest teachers at the studio (with a large proportion of athletic hunks to boot!) and annie is one of the senior yogaworks teachers who all teacher trainees spend time with sooner or later. so their followers tend to be fairly serious yogis.

as i scanned keytags and typed names into the system, i noticed that at least half of those who showed up either had annual passes or auto-renew monthly series passes. so i started thinking: with all the yoga i do, would making some kind of long term financial commitment be the cost-effective way for me to go?

using yogaworks as an example (because exhale/sacred movement and other studios have similar passes), let's say that i'm fine with practicing only at yogaworks studios. and let's assume that i manage to show up 350 days a year, allowing for the days i can't get to a studio, like vacation and special occasions. if i purchase their $1375 annual pass, it works out to less than $4 a day. such a deal!

or let's say that i don't want to part with all that money so soon and i go for the $125 auto-renew monthly pass instead. again, allowing for no-shows and february's abbreviated length, if i take a class 28 days a month, the per-class rate is a smidge under $4.50. still a great price.

but as you can probably tell by now, sticking to one studio or even one kind of yoga is just not me. which is why you'll never see me committing to a daily ashtanga practice. or an all-bikram-all-the-time philosophy.

going back to the yogaworks option, right now i average 1-2 yogaworks classes a week. if i commit to take 2 classes there a week, my per-class rate would be in the neighborhood of $13-$16. i can easily match that just by using the KCRW 20% discount on single classes and pay $13.60 per class. add in the classes i get for free when i help out at the studio, and the average price drops significantly.

but then again, it may be hard to beat $4... sigh...

call it a failure to commit, call it yoga ADHD, call it a refusal to be a creature of habit. i cannot be restricted; i need my variety!

just take a look at where i planted my yoga mat this past week:

on monday, it was vinyasa flow with claire hartley at rising lotus.
on tuesday, it was traditional hatha with theresa brown at crenshaw.
on wednesday, it was kundalini with wah! at mukti.
on thursday, it was iyengar with paul cabanis at yogaworks.
on friday, it was power yoga with mark blanchard at progressive power.
on saturday, it was vinyasa flow with dario velasquez at annie's.
on sunday, it was music flow with jeff wells at jiva.

could i have experienced the same mix of yoga styles or even the same mix of yoga teachers if i had stuck to one yoga studio and/or chain? i think not :(

so until i'm able to settle down with the mix available at one or two yoga studios, it looks like i'll have to continue using other cost-cutting measures to supplement the higher prices, like taking half-price community classes and donation-only classes, finding the occasional free class promotion, and putting in more sweat equity in exchange for free classes. i can also continue to buy 5- or 10-series passes at the places i frequent to save me a couple of bucks here and there.

i know it sounds like an expensive habit, but then again, it's better to spend all my money on my yoga addiction instead of throwing it all away on vices such as gambling, smoking, and drinking, isn't it?