The Topic: Take a Chill Pill
The Dish: Sometimes (all the time), I really just need to relax. Elizabeth, our managing editor, often reminds me to take deep breaths, which is helpful since I'm most often very caffeinated. At the end of a long day in the office, I'm ready to hit the sofa and stay there for good—or until it's time to go to work again. Sure, vegging out with my dog Boo and an embarrassingly bad comedy is a good stress reliever, but not a cure-all. Naturally, I'd love to hit the spa and get a deep-tissue massage once a week, but that's most certainly not in my budget.
Instead, I turn to yoga. How vegan of me! But seriously, everyone and their mother is into it these days, and I'm not complaining. Popularity equals accessibility, and we all benefit. While San Francisco is home to some great studios, they're either too far away to attend regularly or too expensive. Why pay $20 for a class when there are more affordable ways?
First of all, it's called Google! Just kidding—sort of. There are more sources than you probably want to sort through, but if you've been trying to maintain a yoga practice on your own, countless sites exist with new routines to try. If you're like me and prefer a little more guidance, check out YogaGlo. Right now, you can sign up for a free 15-day trial and access more than 500 yoga classes online.
The sessions, which are meticulously cataloged from running time (5 to 120 minutes) to style (hatha, kundalini, Jivamukti, and more!) to experience level, are filmed at YogaGlo's Santa Monica studio, providing a live-class experience without leaving home. If you're nowhere near a yoga studio or can't swing the cost, this is pretty awesome. At the end of the trial period, you can either cancel, hassle-free, online, or sign up month-to-month for $18. If you enjoy the format and make use of your membership, $18 a month is a fraction of what you'd pay in a studio.
Practicing at-home saves me money—and excuses—but sometimes I wonder, "Am I doing this right? Should that hurt? Ow? OW!" Et cetera. Enter: awesome, affordable community classes. A nearby Bikram studio slashes its prices from $20 a 90-minute session to $5 once a week, and many studios in hipper neighborhoods do the same. Even better, the Glide Methodist downtown offers two free community yoga classes per week, providing mats and instruction to anyone interested.
The Final Word: Community or discounted classes may be offered at limited times, but finding one that works with your schedule, even a couple times a month, will help your at-home practice. They're also a great way to try out different styles, and see if this whole yoga thing is right for you. Personally, I'm down(ward dog). Oh, I kill myself!