The Enlightening Mat: Paying for Yoga Class & Paying for Peace

strings of peace

For fifteen years I never paid for a yoga class. I thought paying for yoga was a silly expense when I was on a starving artist budget. I bought books, watched DVDs, listened to audio tapes, etc. To me yoga was the equivalent of running or riding a bike. If I can do it on my own, why should I pay someone to teach me?

Then I moved to Portland, Oregon, where it's always wet and cold...well except for maybe that one glorious week in August, and I had to find a way to stay warm. I love saunas and had done Bikram yoga before so it was pretty easy to sell myself on the idea of going to a 105 degree hot room a couple times a week to feel like a warm-blooded creature again.

Nevertheless, even after I had justified the expense in my head with things like the heat and the fact that I no longer needed to see my chiropractor, acupuncturist, and massage therapist for lower back pain, beyond self-care my second reason for paying for yoga is the extraordinary opportunity to contribute to building a community of like-minded people. Togetherness in the yoga room is a highly comforting concept to me.

When I tell people I do Bikram yoga 5 or 6 times a week, I imagine seeing the dollar signs registering in their heads. However, it's actually pretty affordable if you have a regular on-going practice. On a monthly or yearly package I can take yoga class every day for about $4.00 probably less than the price of a Starbucks latte and muffin. In the end the savings is more then you can imagine because I rarely get sick, only see a doctor for preventative care, never need a gym membership, and no longer spend money on things like Advil and chiropractors for muscle and joint pain.

If you aren't sold on how it can actually save you money in the long run by investing in your well-being, then here's another thing that might peak your interest. Where in the world can you spend 90 minutes with a group of people who are all moving their minds and bodies in one direction -- peace? To me this is worth paying for and experiencing over and over again.

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.