What’s the best value for your yoga money?

Yesterday we posted a link to a Bali Ashtanga Yoga conference happening in the fall. Pretty solid lineup, pretty nice location.

And I thought the price, $900 for six days, seemed pretty reasonable. (I’d balk more at getting airfare there and the room and board.) But a commenter suggested the price might be a bit steep: $150 per day for morning Mysore and then a two-hour workshop in the afternoon. To break it down further (as if you can’t): That’s $75 per yoga class.

I suppose it is fair to say that’s on the high side. But, the obvious — and legitimate — counter is that you’re getting access to and instruction from a handful of the luminaries in the Ashtanga world. Quality comes at a price.

As a comparison, this year’s Confluence was $495 for three days (plus the opening night). It did include two workshops per day, though, so it had a little more packed in — although not as much overall.

(Oh, and a note while we’re mentioning the Confluence: The Confluence site currently says, “We’ll keep you posted on the dates for 2014.”)

As an alternative to the Bali gathering, the commenter — who deserves props for putting things in terms of a pair of Lululemon pants — suggested spending a month studying with Annie Pace in Colorado or something similar. I suspect the living expenses of renting something in Crestone are probably lower than in Bali.

So I get it, for sure.

But I wonder if everyone would agree that a longer time with one teacher is the better value for the yoga money. There’s of course the draw of being somewhere far away, for a short and intense time. They have a word for that…. vacation, maybe?

How do you pick and choose your workshops or yoga travel? Do you think about how much bang you think you’ll get for your buck?

Oh, and separate topic: Because we promised to bring you NPR’s coffee series, here’s more. Perfect for all you “specialty coffee” lovers.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

3 thoughts on “What’s the best value for your yoga money?”

  1. I thought about why $900 seemed so excessive to me after posting yesterday and have a few more thoughts today. One comparison is that a week with Sharath and Saraswathi in Encinitas is $200. I realize there will be more teachers in Bali and also afternoon sessions, but I’m surprised at the difference in cost between the two.

    But I think more of my response does have to do with the way I most want to learn about ashtanga. The conference in Bali does start to seem more like an expensive vacation when you consider there will be 150 people in the room. And I guess for me ashtanga isn’t about taking a vacation. I think the Confluence included 150 people or maybe even more? But that, to me, seems different since it was a concentrated burst of practice and lectures for 3 days (from what I’ve read, I wasn’t there). Once a few days turns into a week, I would prefer to study with only one or two teachers and a smaller group of people (like Tim Miller’s workshops, which I one day hope to do). Or if a week can turn into a longer period, I would prefer to spend that time in Mysore, since even though you are studying with a large group of people, Sharath quickly learns about your practice and there is something invaluable to be gained just from being in Mysore.

    1. I guess this may horrify you, but I think the Confluence had more like 350 people. But I would agree with your description: It was a concentrated burst, and I think for many the sessions with all five of the teachers talking — and interacting — were highlights. So there was definitely a “value add” to their all being there.

      I’ll come back at ya with something you wrote that surprised me: $200 for a week with Sharath and Saraswati in Encinitas? That seems like a lot to me. (More than most studios/shalas for an entire month.) Which I guess just shows how we all value these things differently.


  2. A run of the mill yoga class costs $15-$20. Senior teachers routinely charge $30. So 5 days of ashtanga with S&S. FMV = $150. $200 is a 33% premium, but hey, cheaper than a flight to bangalore! $900 (at $75/class) – not including room and board – is a clear rip.

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