Trading at Moksha Yoga
The other option is trading: Volunteering your time for full membership. The studio chain ‘Moksha Yoga’, that I started at four years ago and am still using today, although across the continent, has a great volunteer program: One four hour shift per week of cleaning the studio, folding laundry and helping other yogis with their mats for full membership access. One hour however is usually time you get to spend in one of the classes, so it’s more like three hours a week. Sounds like a lot right? But how much Netflix do you watch in a week? Now, after 8 months as a volunteer and regular yogi, it’s like my yoga family, my moksha community. It’s an individual practice but doesn’t feel that way once surrounded by fellow yogis synchronizing their breaths, movements and occasional singing. Hallelujah.
The program is great for anyone wanting to take a big step in their practice. Once a week will sustain your current practice, release some tension and help you unwind. Twice to Four times a week will help with flexibility and movement. Five or more will transform your body into something hard, lean and nimble.
health and Fitness
You can probably find hundreds of articles online on the health benefits & risks of Hot Yoga, or the wonders it’ll do you when copulating… for your sex life. My stance is to use common sense, I don’t practice in a 40 degree room when it’s -15 outside, that would be crazy. I don’t believe I’ll be miraculously cured of any ailments. I need scientific proof, a detailed study with a large sample pool over the lifetime of the subjects to confirm anything substantial.
That being said, I know yoga feels good to me and the resulting benefits I’ve reaped from my years of practice. I started with the intent of improving my posture, this was very important! Now, I stand taller, firmer and experience little to no back pain now. Next, I’ve been gradually working on my lower back, shoulder and and leg flexibility. I hear a lot about the benefits of improving blood flow throughout the body. To this, I have no clue. I’m still young and quite active, so maybe I can’t tell yet. But I’ve noticed I do my best thinking right after practice, or often during class when I should be focusing on my breathing and meditation.
To put it simply, I practice because I feel better for it and in pursuit of my goals. I suggest approaching hot yoga with an open mind and feeling it out for yourself. Yoga is a great complement to a weights or intensive cardio routine, or as a stand alone activity, however I would be wary of over stretching and loosening up too much.
Each class I set an intent that I try to work towards depending on what I feel is most pressing. I often leave the studio truly feeling at ease and recalling some of my happiest memories; they often come upon me unexpectedly like waves.
- Physical improvement: Work on overall flexibility, posture and my lower back.
- Mental: Clear my head of thoughts, remove anxiety and stress.
- Emotional: Find peace, tranquility, explore myself: How do I feel? What is making me feel this way? What good is there for me today?
- Social: Engage others, be helpful and kind
Setting goals is very important for good motivation and as a measure of progress. But I don’t like having specific expectations in terms of time or performance. My goals are vague on purpose because I practice to release myself from stress in addition to physical goals. If I make one class a week, that’s okay. If I go everyday and really give it all I have, leaving everything on the studio floor, that’s okay too. My yoga practice is my own, I don’t think of it as a phase, but rather a part of my life, in perpetuity.
Crunch Some Numbers
Say you make $15/hour, that’s $45 in value you are providing each week. $180 per month of your time. For the studio, that’s $180 in value saved for giving up a spot in the classes that aren’t usually filled to capacity anyway. As a student, you have four hours a week to spare if not more, I certainly did. If you think you are too busy, you’re not… unless you have children under the age of five, there are classes from 6 am to 9 pm at night so there really is no excuse. Full membership is $$130-148.50 taxes included per month. So at $15/hour, that’s a minimum of 12.5 hours of work assuming 20% taxes withheld on each hour worked. The volunteering is 16 hours, 4 of classes and 12 of cleaning each month. So work for 12.5 hours to buy the membership or volunteer for 12 hours trading for one? Seems complex but it’s not.
Financials aside, I’d choose volunteering with other yogi’s folding laundry, spraying down mats and scrubbing toilets simply because It feels like I am contributing to a community space we all share as Yogis. The studio is a private enterprise, however each person is either a student or instructor, and it’s in all of our interest to have a clean place to come warm up and practice. It also doesn’t hurt that I get to play with Melissa’s dog Quasi all morning while she instructs her classes! He is just so adorable! There is no judgement in the studio, no hierarchies and no titles. It doesn’t matter what you do for work, study, if you have a children or if you’re a famous celebrity. There is no room for ego in the studio, It’s just not the place for that at all. Everyone is there to improve their practice and stride towards a personal goal. We try to be mindful of each other and offer encouragement. So it feels like a community for everyone, even Quasi, not just for students, or the spiritually inclined or people already in great shape.
Today I work full-time but still find time on Saturday mornings to volunteer at the studio. And every Saturday I see the same faces, of varying ages, genders and ethnicity. Oddly now, It just doesn’t feel like much work at all.