From Mary Billard's intriguing New York Times article, about the current state of yoga in America:
ZEN is expensive. The flattering Groove pants, Lululemon’s answer to Spanx, may set Luluheads, the devoted followers of the yoga-apparel brand, back $108. Manduka yoga mats, favored for their slip resistance and thickness, can reach $100 for a limited-edition version. Drop-in classes at yoga studios in New York are edging beyond $20 a session, which quickly adds up, and the high-end Pure Yoga, a chain with two outposts in Manhattan, requires a $40 initiation fee, and costs $125 to $185 a month.
You can even combine yoga with a vacation in the Caribbean, but it will cost you: in August, the luxurious Parrot Cay resort in Turks and Caicos has a six-night retreat with classes taught by the “yoga rock stars” (in the words of the press release) Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. The cost? A cool $6,077. (In August!)
And is it surprising that yoga, like so much else in this age of celebrity, now has something of a star system, with yoga teachers now almost as recognizable as Oscar winners? The flowing locks of Rodney Yee. The do-rag bandanna worn by Baron Baptiste. The hyper perpetual calm exhibited by David Life and Sharon Gannon, who taught Sting, Madonna and Russell Simmons. The contortions (and Rolls-Royces) of Bikram Choudhury.
The article focuses on Yoga to the People, an NYC studio where the packed classes are by donation, and they don't tell you who's teaching (ie; there's no "star" system).
The writer neglected to mention the new, donation-only Dharma Yoga Brooklyn - which is in a beautiful space, and is run by two of my fellow teacher trainees. They definitely say "Om" there - and talk philosophy, too.
In Chicago there is Yogaview's donation-only studio.
Most studios offer free community classes.
And Chicago Yoga Center has never been hip (and teachers have never been encouraged to tell students when there's going to be a sub).
The article focuses on Y2P founder Greg Gumucio , who charges $8 per class:
Today. Mr. Gumucio has three studios in New York (including two hot-yoga studios that charge $8 a class), one in San Francisco, one in Berkeley, Calif., and one to open later this year in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He has just signed a lease in Chelsea and is considering expanding to Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Or should I say, woo-hoo!