About a month ago an old friend and I tried out Hot Yoga at Yoga To The People. We were both novices and were a bit intimidated when we walked into the studio and it became clear that most of the other students came to class every week, if not every day.
Everything went fine however, and the funniest part of the entire experience occurred later, when I had this conversation with my father:
Me: C. and I went to Hot Yoga yesterday.
Dad: Not “Hot.” Hatha. Hatha Yoga.
Me: No!!! It’s called Hot Yoga. You do it in this sauna-type room where the minimum temperature is 105 degrees.
Dad: (Incredulous laughter.) And you paid money for this?
Indeed. My adventures with hot yoga ended that day, but I thought of that conversation when I saw this article in the New York Times that prominently mentions YFFP. The piece details how yoga has gotten more and more expensive over the years:
A 2008 poll, commissioned by Yoga Journal, concluded that the number of people doing yoga had declined from 16.5 million in 2004 to 15.8 million almost four years later. But the poll also estimated that the actual spending on yoga classes and products had almost doubled in that same period, from $2.95 billion to $5.7 billion.
“The irony is that yoga, and spiritual ideals for which it stands, have become the ultimate commodity,” Mark Singleton, the author of “Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice,” wrote in an e-mail message this week. “Spirituality is a style, and the ‘rock star’ yoga teachers are the style gurus.”
Ugh. Be sure to read the rest of the article if you want to learn more about $100 dollar yoga mats as well as the less expensive classes now being offered in response to that.
(An aside, but I think it’s funny that the first sentence on eHow’s page on Yoga mats is “Ancient yogis most certainly did not use the modern sticky yoga mat made almost mandatory in today’s yoga studios.)