WASHINGTON — It’s a question everyone wants answered: When a “free” yoga class is not “free,” but a $150,000 or more monthly fee, is it still a good idea?
As part of the Women’s Fitness Expo (WFE), which took place from April 24 to May 2 at the White House, the question of whether or not women should pay to attend yoga classes at all has been debated by both men and women.
According to the WFE website, yoga classes are available for men, women and kids of all ages.
Women pay an annual $50 membership fee, while men pay $10 a month.
For those looking to learn yoga, the cost is typically around $120 for an hour of instruction and $150 for a two-day class.
According to the Women, Men, and Kids website, this is a reasonable cost for women who are looking to get into the sport of yoga, with classes offered at all levels of skill.
For men, there are more options for paying for classes, with most offerings at around $60 a session.
There are also some “women-only” classes available, but women pay $40 a month for a one-on-one session with a certified teacher.
But why pay $150 per month for yoga classes when it’s “a lot more money?”
The WFE also notes that the “most common excuse” given for paying $150 is that “it’s more money for the government” and “a free yoga class will pay for itself over time.”
But according to a report from The Huffington Post, yoga instructors have argued that “free classes can cost thousands of dollars each year, and it’s not as if the government is paying for it.
In fact, the government has already been subsidizing yoga classes with federal funding since the 1990s.”
The WVEA website also notes the “many ways yoga classes can save the taxpayer money.”
According to a 2013 report by the National Institute of Health, yoga programs at public universities can save $10 billion annually.
“Women’s Fitness, which is also funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, says that the annual cost of yoga programs is more than $2.3 billion, or around 20% of total health care spending,” the report reads.
“Yoga is often associated with a ‘blessed state’ philosophy, where the practitioner uses their body to help others, including the self, to achieve health and wellness.”
And while some women may prefer to pay for their own yoga classes, some say that they will not necessarily pay $50 or $100 per session to attend a “women’s” yoga program.
According to Dr. Sarah Womack, founder and president of the Womacks Center for Women’s Health and Wellness, yoga is “a great activity for many women and men who have a desire to reach their goals for self-esteem and wellness,” and that many women find yoga “providing an enjoyable way to practice yoga and socialize while meeting other people and experiencing an intimate time with a partner.”
“The yoga class may be a free event, but we need to make sure that women who feel comfortable and free in their own bodies are able to participate and feel free,” Womak said.
“If a yoga class does not fit your budget, feel free to seek out a different type of yoga class.”
In addition to women’s classes, the WME and WFE offer free yoga for men and kids.
Womack said that the WVE offers yoga for both men as well as women, but said that most women “have no interest in going into yoga for the sake of being in yoga for some free time.”
“I think women, especially women who have an eating disorder, may find that yoga is an effective way to help them eat healthy,” Wommack said.
“Many women find that they need a class for mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
The classes that are available are often very accessible, and they are geared toward women who want to do something more challenging.”