With the influx of designer, boutique yoga studios opening in Melbourne, one does wonder how paying up to $30 a class can be good for your chakras. But there is a movement of back-to-basics yoga classes being held in schools, halls and public spaces that are low-cost and refreshingly simple.
Online community Yoga Hub Melbourne is leading this change locally. Lauren Jeffreys started the passion project, which promotes free or low-cost yoga, in 2013 after she had her first child and found yoga unaffordable.
“The cost of classes in Australia (which averages $18 to $25) always seemed so excessive to me, and the commercialisation of this practice has never sat right,” she says. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive, with more than 25 people attending Jeffreys’ first $5 class.
By banding together with other yoga teachers across Melbourne through Yoga Hub, the ancient Indian practice is being reclaimed by the community with a range of cheap and donation-based classes, teaching to hundreds of students.
Here are our picks for the best and most affordable yoga classes around Melbourne.
Wellspring Yoga & Pilates, Footscray – $10
As Melissa Calautti puts it: “Yoga is supposed to strengthen your legs and arms, not cost you one!” The yoga teacher started the Tuesday-night low-cost class to recapture the essence of yoga and bring it back to the people.
This energetic Hatha-Vinyasa class teaches the absolute beginner to the advanced yogi in a naturally lit studio. Students are a diverse bunch, ranging from creatives to ex-boxers and footy players.
Do You Even Yoga, Berwick – $10
With no more than eight attending this Vinyasa class at a time, students are encouraged to ask questions – a task often impossible in a larger studio.
Teacher Rachel Camilleri says her classes are her way of giving back. “99 per cent of my students had never been to a yoga class before they came to one of my classes,” she says.
“If I help at least one person connect with themselves through yoga, then I know I'm doing something right.”
Mon 10am and 11.30am
Sun 9am and 4pm
Mats supplied, bookings essential.
North Yoga, Fitzroy – $5
In a relaxed space populated with greenery and a long communal table for drinking tea after sessions, this community yoga class is ideal for newbies and those looking to reconnect with their breath in the practice of Slow Flow. Yoga instructor Sean Thompson says the Wednesday and Friday class was created to introduce more people to yoga by making classes affordable and non-exclusive.
The class also works on a rotating system of 10 different teachers, giving students the opportunity to find a teacher that suits their style and yoga needs best.
Wed 5pm–6pm (students only)
Yoga in Daily Life, Richmond – $5
In this inner-city sanctuary, which has been open for a decade, students share the same goal: to achieve good health, happiness and a sense of wellbeing.
Stripped back to basics with no fancy equipment, this Monday-morning class is taught by humble professional yoga teachers. As a non-for-profit organisation, Yoga in Daily Life prides itself on creating a sense of connection and compassion by teaching a cheap class that does not skimp on quality. There’s also a focus on asana poses and breath work for beginners.
Yoga, Brunswick West – $5
“I don't think any guru found enlightenment because they got their legs behind their head. Yoga is a journey inward – you don’t need fancy surroundings, ” says Kirsten Torrance.
This one is about as simple as it gets. Torrance takes her classes in the multi-purpose room at Brunswick North West Primary School. The 75-minute hatha flow is not fancy and encourages students to bring their own yoga props: towels and blankets. It’s all a bit DIY, but this class encourages self-practice and offers a strong community vibe for uni students, parents and locals who attend weekly.
BYO mat, bookings essential, contact email@example.com.
Humble Warrior Yoga and Wellness, Hawksburn (by donation) and Cheltenham – $10
Tania Perry is a self-confessed yoga junkie, once forking out the $20 a day to feed her yoga habit. She knew it had to stop. Inspired by backpacking around the US and finding a Santa Monica studio that charged by donation, Tania decided to start her pay-as-you-feel class once a week in her home studio and a second low-cost class in Cheltenham.
The two have different focuses, with the donation “candlelight flow” class teaching spiritual flow in an urban oasis with only six others and meditation to finish.
Cheltenham classes are non-spiritual, back-to-basics, focusing on alignment, breath, strength and improving flexibility.
Wed 6.30–7.30 pm, Hawskburn
Back to Basics
Mahu Yoga, Thornbury – $10
“After practicing yoga for years myself, and consistently being frustrated by the exclusivity mandated by class and membership prices, I was determined to keep my classes affordable.”
Ellen Ferrier teaches hatha yoga on the “slow side”, focusing on strength and sensitivity in the unique surrounds of the independently owned Merri Creek printmaking studio. Classes are small and beginners are nurtured in the fluid and repetitive movements focused on breath and balance.
One Heart Yoga, Abbotsford – by donation
The idea behind One Heart’s “Yoga As Anything” class is that “everyone deserves a place on a yoga mat”.
Anahata Giri runs the slow-flowing hatha class, which welcomes everyone looking for a space in a relaxed and welcoming class including students, the homeless and travellers.
The pay-as-you-feel philosophy is the studio’s gift to the community and offers three donation classes a week.