With all the expensive accessories to buy, and scores of celebrities and yuppies taking part, yoga can seem like an elitist activity. But there are plenty of ways to learn the practice for free or very cheap, even in New York City.
Take advantage of the great weather with these free outdoor classes:
Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, offers free Kripalu yoga classes on Saturdays from May through September. At the same time, you can enjoy a view of the East River and contemplate the experimental art that surrounds you. To try something new, you can also check out their free tai chi, pilates, or capoeira classes.
To enjoy free yoga classes in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, join the YogaSole sessions on Sunday mornings in July. All levels are welcome, and you don't need to sign up, but you do need to bring your own mat.
Right in Midtown Manhattan, Lululemon provides free yoga classes on the Upper Terrace of Bryant Park on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings. You don't even have to bring your own mat, as you can borrow one free of charge.
At the little park at 14th Street and 10th Avenue, Laughing Lotus offers free classes on Wednesday evenings in June, July, and August. All you need is a mat. Afterwards, you can enjoy the sunset over the Hudson River.
At 66th Street in Riverside Park, Wednesday nights mean free Hatha yoga from June through September (bring your own mat). Also check the schedule for outdoor tai chi and pilates classes.
Once a year, on the summer solstice, you're free to join the masses in Times Square for a large-scale yoga festival. It's your chance to experience the (usually) most frenetic area of the city as a center for pure relaxation! To secure your spot, register for one of the three free classes here.
When you want to stay inside, take advantage of these free (or very cheap) opportunities:
All Lululemon stores have free community classes where they don't even pressure you to buy fancy clothes or products. Use the store locator to find the closest site in Manhattan or Brooklyn, then check the schedule.
Yoga to the People is famous for its donation-only, no-judgments classes. They offer both Vinyasa and hot yoga, and have five locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Integral Yoga Institute on 13th Street in Manhattan offers special $5 community classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.