The True Cost of Taking Up Yoga?

October 25, 2011

MaryAnn Busso in her Bloomberg piece The Real Cost of Taking Up Yoga http://www.bloomberg.com/money-gallery/2011-10-19/the-real-cost-of-taking-up-yoga.html#slide1 worked out that a start-up year of yoga would cost a 37 year old New Yorker $10,779 (£6,775.)

‘Bloody ridiculous’ I grumbled across the breakfast table. ‘$40 on yoga socks? $152 on Adagio Organic Tea? $860 on yoga conferences? Is Busso mad?’

Intent on proving her mad I got my calculator out and cast my mind back to the year I took up yoga.

It started well – I crossed out several of Busso’s high cost items immediately:

$860 on a yoga conference

$1200 on acupuncture

$1800 on privates

$3590 on a Balinese yoga holiday

Then I crossed out several of her more esoteric calculations:

$40 on yoga socks (what’s wrong with bare feet?)

$70 on YogaToes and YogaHands (what’s wrong with pedicure toe separators from the local pharmacy?)

$126 on yoga bras (M&S is fine with me)

$152 on Adagio Organic Tea

Then I started totting up my own spend:

Classes: three a week with Simon Low £1400 – rather more than Busso’s $1150.

Holidays: After only one class I signed up for Low’s holiday at Huzur Vadisi, Turkey, spending around £600 plus flights to sleep in a yurt with a hole in the roof, ‘built for star gazing.’

Workshops: I’d say Busso’s estimate of $118 was on the low side; I spent £250 in that first year – one weekend with Sarah Powers and the other with Shiva Rea who managed to get me into a handstand – well worth it for that alone, though I’ve never done it since.

Massage: $392? And the rest! I had no idea I had muscles in all those places.

Food and drink: In no time I was mainlining a box of Yogi tea @£3 a week – maybe I should’ve economized with Adagio.

Clothes: OK I may not have gone for the socks and the yoga bra but I was a sucker for the two £40 each après yoga t- shirts with suspect Sanskrit-ish writing down the arms, and let’s not forget the two workout vests from Cyndi Lee’s OM yoga studio that I paid a friend to bring back for me… and what about the two Elvis vests that another friend was wearing in class that I just had to have?

Equipment: The mat, the mat bag, the strap, the bolster, the beautiful wooden Iyengar inspired blocks probably set me back £150. At least my yoga blanket was a multi-tasking pashmina that I’d owned for years.

Music and concerts: Only 2 Krishna Das CDs? Busso has to be kidding! I bought his entire back catalogue, and Deva Premal’s, plus every Buddha Bar CD ever released.

Books: Only three Busso? What’s the matter with you? Light on Yoga, The Heart of Yoga, Awakening the Spine, Autobiography of a Yogi, A Search in Secret India, The Spiritual Tourist etc etc… plus the glossy $75 Yoga Journal tome stuffed full of yoga masters, and still inspiring me today.

Miscell: Add in the home practice DVDs, the £4 a month we Brits have to pay for Yoga Journal, the leggings, the eye pillow, the travel to and from class, and I don’t think I’d have got much change out of £4000, or nearly $6500.

At the time I was working in advertising and could afford to spend such sums but eventually the practice of (as Simon Low put it) ‘peeling back the layers that stood between me and my true self’ led me to leave the ad business and earn half the money.

So you could argue that the total cost of that first year’s yoga was half a lifetime’s earnings, and I’d say it was worth every penny – and far from being mad, it was the only route to sanity.

Are more men taking up yoga?

October 15, 2010

The Jocks Throw Down Their Mats

According to this New York Times article a quarter of your mat mates should be male. I am confused…I never see anything like that number doing yoga – I suspect men are massively overclaiming as yoga gets more aspirational…as in ‘of course I mix in some yoga with my squash games and killer career and being a great dad - its all a matter of balance…’

Elephant Journal Interview

September 25, 2010

Have loved Elephant Journal for a while now and was thrilled when they asked me to give them an interview. Click here for the result.

Jivamukti naked yoga

September 5, 2010

Jivamukti teachers are the latest to pose naked in the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaign.
The ad is a postcard with a free Jivamukti class pass on the back.
I’m wondering how many people get disappointed when they show up to the class and find out the teacher is wearing clothes. One for the Advertising Standards Authority?

Eat Pray Cash In

August 14, 2010

According to today’s Guardian Yoga School Dropout & Handbag and Wellies are part of ‘a new breed of self-discovery lit’. 

Not so new actually – YSD was published in 2004, a year before Eat Pray Love, which is now out in the US as a movie, a fragrance, a bangle and an om bead necklace. Prepare for my range of Yoga School Dropout chakra panties, and perhaps an essence of sadhu perfume – yum!! Any other suggestions welcome.

Yoga class at Latitude

July 17, 2010

Merging our eternal selves with the big pool of cosmic bliss that is Latitude!

Come along Sunday at 11am for another round of chakra blowing with Una and me.

45 min class and 15 min of readings and chat from me. @Pandora’s Playground.

Calling all ladies with a L’Attitude

July 12, 2010

I am wondering if now would be too soon to post my Performers’ Car Park pass to my windscreen? Will I park next to Florence and the Machine or perhaps Corinne Bailey Rae, or perhaps some other bird who’s beyond lucky and got a weekend pass for the sake of talking about her books!

Please come and join me at 11am on Friday 16th and Sunday 18th July for a fifteen minute talk based on Yoga School Dropout and The Handbag and Wellies Yoga Club. Then there’s a one hour yoga class led by the extremely cool Una Laffan – a half Mexican half Norfolkian chick with a yoga CV that’ll get your chakras spinning.

She will be assisted by one of my dearest friends – Rosie Winston. Freshly graduated from the Simon Low yoga school she’s already opened up her campervan to two needy friends and she’s prepared to share all her heavenly gifts with you this weekend. 

See you at Pandora’s Playground – you won’t be able to miss us – we’ll be the ones lighting up our 7000 nadis!

The Namaste Book Club is discussing Yoga School Dropout

June 25, 2010

Please join us to discuss my book.

July 18th 7-9pm CST at http://www.chatzy.com/namaste

Hoping for a lively debate !
For further info on the book club go to http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages#!/pages/Namaste-Book-Club/235105940384

No VAT on books!

June 22, 2010

Breathed a huge sigh of relief when I heard that George Osborne wasnt going to be whacking 20% VAT on books.

Livening up a home practice

June 20, 2010

Can anyone recommend a good home practice DVD – ideally a 1 hour vinyasa flow. My all time favourite is Eric Shiffman’s Yoga Mind & Body but I have been using it for about 10 years and know if off by heart! Need a change…


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