The problem with free yoga

What is wrong with a free yoga class

First of all, I would love to offer my classes for free.

But did you ever think about what a yoga teacher’s landlord would say if she says to them, “well I have no money to pay my rent because I teach my classes for free”? I think you can guess how this conversation ends. Money became a necessity – a currency for the exchange of energy.

“I want everything for free culture”

So why am I writing this article? I just saw someone asking for a free zoom alternative. And then I thought, there is something really wrong with our ‘everything needs to be for free culture’, which I started to observe more and more. And this is not about the people who really do not have the money to afford things, it is about this culture that we CAN afford something, but we do not WANT to spend money on it.

It is often about priorities

Just to give you an example. In standard German terms I was probably middle class, and people always wondered how I could afford to travel the world. Well, I did not buy a house, nor a boat, nor an expensive car, nor a TV. I had priorities – experience the world. 

Support small, local or non-profit businesses

So back to my software example. There are unfortunately companies, who pay their employees minimum wages and the management makes the majority of the money. But asking for free software is like asking someone to work for free. Someone did the software and is maintaining it. So if you don’t want to pay major companies, look for independent or non profit alternatives. There are many software out there where you can donate to the developer, if you use it, you enjoy it, then send a few Euros over.

The work and costs you do not see

Let’s come back to yoga now. There are also big yoga corporations these days but there are still a lot of independent teachers.
If someone asks me for a free class, I say politely “I do not offer free classes. But if you really can’t afford it, let me know and we will find a solution”.

So what’s wrong with a free trial class? It’s a bit like going to a restaurant and saying: “I would like your food for free, because before I haven’t tried it I don’t know if I like it.”

Most studios offer a single drop in. So you do not have to commit to ‘eating’ there the rest of the month. So let’s have a look into the ‘kitchen’ of your teacher:

Your teacher prepares a class. Teaches a class. Needs to get educated in how to teach a class. Needs to pay for the booking system. Business account. Insurance. Room rent. Advertising. And can’t do any other work in the time she is taking care of all the things in the ‘kitchen’ you do not see. And there are no private expenses covered yet, like bespoken rent. 

Valuing the profession of yoga

So here is the problem with free yoga classes, we are decreasing the value of our profession. It is a great way to get started if you just graduated. Nevertheless, also if you really don’t need the money I think it’s time to ask for a fair energy exchange. Maybe just donate the income to a charity like Earth Child Project, where they teach the kids in South African townships yoga.

If people don’t have the money to pay anything, they can still practice karma yoga and give back to the community in one way or the other.

Stop offering your free yoga classes without some form of energy exchange

So this is an appeal to all the teachers out there. Let’s make our profession a livable one, so people don’t even think about asking us “Yoga teacher? Can you live from this?” The answer should be yes!

And if you like to go to a yoga class, ask yourself why you are looking for a free class.

If you have the money, why don’t you want to pay for it? Does it have priority? 

If you think you don’t have the money, ask yourself: “Maybe I could buy a bottle of wine less and that will pay my teacher?”

If you really cannot afford it. Reach out to your teacher. Explain to them in confidentiality your situation (Satya) and I am sure they are happy to come up with a solution.

Set your priorities right and respect the work of your teacher

So next time you are looking for something for free, ask yourself why you don’t want to pay for it. Maybe it’s not the right priority. If you don’t have the money, what could be an alternative energy exchange (maybe you are a hairdresser and give a free haircut in return.) Be creative, but please do not take your yoga teacher for granted.

#supportyourlocalbusiness #supportsmallbusinesses #nofreeyoga



  1. Are Donation Based Yoga Classes a Good Idea? - Naked Earth Yoga - […] there are yogis who believe that you should never give away free yoga classes. One view is that free…

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Georgiana November 1st, 2022

I met Julia at a retreat and she is an amazing teacher and a really lovely human. I loved how she didn't rush through the process and we really went back to basics, while at the same time learning a wide variety of things about yoga, from how to do a certain asana to yogic wisdom. It was obvious that Julia knows a lot and she is also really good at sharing it with others. She redefined in my mind what a good yoga teacher is.

Eve January 22nd, 2020

Julia is one of the most precious yoga teacher I’ve ever had! I would recommend all her practices with a special mention for her yoga nidra. I got so relaxed and so deeply calmed down by her voice during each session, she helped me letting it go towards either a tight sleep or for restful nap. Very powerful experience and human being. thank you Warrior Princess!

Agnieszka January 21st, 2020

I have had the most relaxing beautiful experience in the yoga Nidra class. Thank you so much 🙏. You are so knowledgeable and your voice so soothing

Sarah February 14th, 2020

Julia ably and effortlessly led a vinyasa class with clear instruction and really helpful assists. She spoke about philosophy just the right amount, there was still plenty of space and quiet to really get into the practice. Thank you Julia!! I loved it

Majbritt May 3rd, 2020

The best yoga in Copenhagen. They are very skilled at Hatha yoga, Yin, and yoga nidra. Julia has a good personality, an she is one of my favorite instructor.

Kim April 1st, 2020

Julia is an amazing teacher. I have had three classes with her so far and she already improved my asanas a lot. I appreciate her hands on experience and eye for detail. Thank you Julia. Big hug! (by the way: her guided meditations are the best!)