Yoga can be a life-changing pursuit. Whether you enjoy it on its own, as a supplement to running, or a precursor to sitting meditation, there’s no doubt that yoga has plenty to offer its practitioners. If you’re a student just eeking by, a young professional trying to start a life for yourself, or someone who has fallen on a bit of hard time, there’s no reason you should have to suspend your practice right when you need it most. There are some really great places out there that offer yoga classes that are completely donation-based, so you can pay a little now and donate later when you’re more able, without having to stall the growth of your practice. For those on the hunt, here are some of the best donation-based yoga studios I’ve come across.
Casa Oro, in the heart of the surfer paradise otherwise known as San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, is one of those hostels that has it all going on. They’ve got shuttles to the best beaches, top notch breakfast, and donation-based yoga on their rooftop twice daily. Even as the rest of San Juan swelters in the heat, there’s almost always a cool breeze making it’s way through Casa Oro’s rooftop terrace, so it’s the perfect place for a central american yoga class. Each session is taught by a volunteer yogi, often as they pass through on the backpacker circuit, so no two classes are ever the exact same.
Their motto is “yoga available to everyone,” and that’s certainly what Yoga to the People (or YTTP for short) delivers. They’ve grown to expand across five locations in three states and I expect that they won’t stop there. I went to their classes in Brooklyn and Manhattan a lot during my very poor New York City days and I can’t give them rave enough reviews. They don’t post any teacher schedule because they don’t believe in following an instructor—it’s all about the yoga. You know how some places are “donation only,” but they manage to make you feel guilty if you leave less than the suggested amount? Not this place. There was a time or two that I couldn’t leave anything, and I never felt judged for it. Even the mats ($2) and water ($1) are affordable add-ons.
Northeast is one of the most unique neighborhoods in Minneapolis. You’ll find everything from divey bars like the Vegas Lounge to excellent and entirely donation-based yoga studios like Yoga Sol, all in the same area. Yoga Sol has the interior that many yoga studios dream of (think gorgeous wood floors and exposed brick walls) and offers such a wide variety of classes that any yogi or aspiring yogi will find something to love, including a weekly meditation class that really brings their offerings full circle.
Tucked into one of the hippest neighborhoods in Mexico City according to Airbnb, Power Flow Yoga in Mexico’s capital city operates entirely on the donations of its students. They offer several classes throughout the day during the week and quite a few on the weekends too, so no matter when you’re passing through, there should be a class that fits right into your schedule. The best part about yoga while you’re traveling, and donation yoga in particular, is that you can take a class and carve out a little time to re-center yourself, especially after inevitable travel mishaps.