Yoga is supposed to help you find peace and serenity, but the prices of some of the yoga classes in Singapore are enough to give even the most zenned out yogi a heart attack. Since when did inner peace have to come at such a price?
But all is not lost. Whether you prefer to practise yoga in its most traditional form with a strong focus on breathing exercises and cleansing techniques, or you prefer a hip environment filled with trendy Lululemon-clad classmates, here are three ways to attend yoga classes without spending a cent.
1. Nikam Guruji Yoga Kutir
While we tend to think of yoga as a series of exercises designed to turn bodies into pretzels, in actual fact the ancient science of yoga was developed as a way to maintain physical, mental and spiritual health—not look cool in lycra or impress people with your handstands.
A big part of yoga is the breathing exercises and cleaning techniques that keep your insides functioning well, combined with the asanas or poses we’re used to seeing. Nikam Guruji Yoga Kutir’s 12-week basic course teaches both at various locations all over the island. Although the organisation offers free yoga classes, at certain centres a $5 to $10 charge will be levied upon registration.
What are classes like? While there are mass practice sessions during the weekly classes, don’t expect a bootcamp-style hardcore workout. Classes are designed to equip participants with the skills needed to practise yoga on their own, so a lot of emphasis will be placed on checking that the various exercises are done correctly, and at the end of each class students split into small groups to have their exercises checked by an instructor.
How to sign up? Check the website for the starting dates of the next set of basic courses and simply show up on the first day of the term to register.
2. Sunrise in the City by Health Promotion Board
If you’d like to check out some of the latest and greatest yoga studios in Singapore and are well able to wake up early in the morning, you’ll want to sign yourself up for free yoga classes under the banner of the Health Promotion Board’s Sunrise in the City programme.
Participating studios are all over Singapore, but mainly in central areas close to the CBD. They open their doors early in the morning or after 7pm in the evening so full-time workers can enjoy free yoga classes.
What are classes like? Classes are held at various studios, so teaching methods may vary slightly depending on which classes you’re attending, although most follow the standard modern yoga style with air conditioned studios and a mass workout session with corrections from the instructor. Choose from morning sun salutations, hot yoga and more. The calendar changes each month.
How to sign up? Visit the Sunrise in the City website and register for the slots you’d like to attend online. Slots tend to fill up fast, so once you enter your details the HPB will inform you when the latest schedule is out to allow you to book far in advance.
3. Meetup groups
While Meetup tends to be a good resource for free sports and exercise groups, most of the yoga classes on the site charge per-lesson fees of about $10 to $25. Still, there are one or two groups that conduct free yoga classes, the most popular being the Yoga for Peace and Balance group.
The group meets every Sunday morning at the Botanic Gardens for an outdoor yoga session and has grown to be quite large, with close to 50 participants at times.
What are classes like? The style is modern-style Hatha, and while the class level is pitched as basic, those who have little experience with yoga will find it quite a vigorous workout nonetheless. The outdoor location makes it a nice alternative to air conditioned studios, although those who are afraid of the sun should come equipped with lots of sunscreen.
How to sign up? RSVP on their Meetup page and show up at the appointed date and time outside Botanic Gardens MRT. The group will then move towards their spot for the morning.
4. Open Mats (Pay As You Wish)
Well, not technically free per se, but yoga studios also regularly organise Open Mats for their teachers to practise teaching real students. You pay as you wish, which means that you can potentially not pay if you don’t want to, but if you feel like showing your appreciation, you can also give a token sum.
Yoga Inc offers open mat classes at their Guillemard Studio. You just have to bring along your own towel and lock, otherwise they cost $1 and $2 respectively to rent. The next round of Pay-As-You-Wish classes at Yoga Inc are on the following dates:
- 14 July (Sun)
- 21 July (Sun)
Booking opens 1 week in advance.
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Kate Porter Yoga along East Coast Road also holds free Open Mat classes, but from the look of their website, it isn’t as regular as Yoga Inc.
What are the classes like? Open Mat Classes are usually conducted by different teachers, usually those who are a little inexperienced. But they would probably be regular yoga practitioners and have taken the relevant teacher training courses. Give them a chance, it’s pay as you wish anyway!
How to sign up? Go to the relevant yoga studio to sign up for pay-as-you-wish yoga classes that are “Open Mat” or “Pay As You Wish”. These classes get snapped up really quickly so it’s good to check back often or follow them on their social media channels to get updates.
5. Yoga events, like Freedom Yoga’s block party
Brands and studios sometimes have free yoga events. One particular event that is coming right up is Freedom Yoga’s block party happening at Holland Village. On 20 July 2019, there will be 2 classes in the evening, Freedom Blaze and Inside Flow. You have to bring your own mat and it will be an open-air event.
Other brands that regularly conduct yoga events include AIA, Lululemon, and so on.
What are the classes like? Freedom Yoga’s block party is carried out on Lorong Liput, so you literally lay out your yoga mat on the tarmac and practise in the open air. With a stage set up in front and being shoulder to shoulder with fellow yogis, the atmosphere can be charged with adrenaline. But because it is open air, a potential downside is being exposed to the elements (e.g. too hot, mosquitoes buzzing). If you’re someone who’s shy, it’s likely that you will be more self-conscious than zen that the general public will be watching, since it’s hard to not stare at 50 over people practising yoga on the street.
How to sign up? To join Freedom Yoga’s block party, email [email protected] to reserve your spot.
Have you ever attended any of the above classes? Share your experiences in the comments!