Now is the winter of our discontent. We’re approaching the literal darkest time of year in terms of sunlight and the darkest time for our country in less than one month. This time of year is when we are at our most vulnerable to fatigue, seasonal affective disorder and bad habits. You may be looking for new ways to cope that aren’t self medicating, denial or distraction or walking slowly into the ocean.
Well, yoga can be a fantastic way to check back in with yourself and regulate your mood. But it’s also expensive, and if you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume you’re broke. Fortunately, there are a handful of yoga studios right here in Brooklyn, in a variety of styles, that offer work study programs, which means that if you have a little more time than you do money, you can put in a few hours of work a week in exchange for free, yes FREE yoga classes!
Since we’d like you to find some peace of mind as quickly as humanly possible, we’ve rounded up a list of studios in BK that offer those work study programs so you can start trading a little grunt-work for a whole lotta calm.
197 Clifton Pl., Bed-Stuy
Sacred Yoga offers free unlimited classes in exchange for one five-hour shift per week, which usually involves spraying down mats and mopping the studio floor. Not exactly glamorous, but everyone here pulls together and helps make everyone feel welcome and appreciated. Personally, this is my favorite studio on the list. It’s a warm environment, and not just because it’s hot yoga. I’ve found that a place with a strong community vibe can be just as nourishing for the soul in dark times as the yoga itself.
214 Greene Ave., Clinton Hill
A few other studios offer more varied work for their work study volunteers. Dou Yoga in Clinton Hill offers work study that includes tasks ranging from desk work to promotional assistance. Of course, you can also choose to wipe down sweaty mats if that’s your thing. This studio has beginner, intermediate and advanced classes with various teaching styles and an emphasis on individual experience in a collective setting. You can read more and apply online.
Bend & Bloom
708 Sackett St., Park Slope
Bend & Bloom Yoga also offers work study in a range of positions, including desk work, promotion and cleaning. Each position involves a two-hour weekly shift and the program requires a minimum commitment of six months. You receive one free class for every hour worked! And positions vary by date, so you can find one that works with your schedule.
Check out a list of available positions and what they entail on their website. The studio itself offers all kinds of yoga classes ranging from flow and alignment-based yoga to integrative and restorative practices.
Bikram Yoga Park Slope
1120 Washington Ave., Prospect-Lefferts Gardens
If you love the peaceful practice of yoga but are also filled with rage, Bikram yoga may help you sweat it out. Bikram is even hotter than hot yoga (105 degrees, as compared to the usual 80 or 90). Bikram Yoga Park Slope opened its Lefferts Avenue location in 2014 but kept Park Slope in its name because one does not simply shuck off their Park Slope cred.
BYPS also takes on a very communal approach to their work study program, encouraging members to come as they are and offer their skills to various positions in studio stewardship (janitorial), community development and member services: “We do laundry, we fold towels, we clean mats, we cook for potlucks, we write articles, we perform music, we tweet, whatever the community needs.”
They require a minimum of four hours per week in the studio and a three-month commitment to the program in exchange for unlimited yoga classes.
360 Jefferson St., Bushwick
Daya’s work study program requires one four-hour shift per week, in exchange for unlimited classes as well as discounts on workshops. There is a three-month minimum commitment to the work study program, and tasks range from cleaning and organizing to front desk work and promotion.
This studio is especially great for anyone in need of yoga community with a capital C in the coming months: Daya instructors do a group check-in with students at the beginning of every class and many teachers graduated through the studio’s own teacher training program, so you’ll really get to know the people flowing beside you.
109 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg
Modo Yoga goes full barter system with their work study, which they call Energy Exchange. There are two ways to do the EE thing: If you’re broke and you just want free yoga, you can do ‘ve got to practice consistently for a month with them in order to be considered. Once accepted, it’s the usual drudgery-in-exchange-for-classes thing, plus 15 percent off retail and workshops.
If you’re a business owner or freelancer, with Energy Exchange you can negotiate and choose your own trade, i.e. set up a custom exchange of goods and services for yoga! Fill out the online application to be considered as a student or e-mail info[at]modoyoganyc.com with a business offer.
Short on money AND time? Check out our list of yoga classes under $10 in BK!