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Barter or Trade Services For Free Yoga, Pilates, and Fitness Classes

Barter Your Way to Free Pilates and Yoga Classes

Taking a class at a yoga or Pilates studio is not cheap. I did an informal survey of classes in San Francisco, and came up with an average drop-in rate of $17. If you buy classes in bulk, it's more affordable, but for many, it's still a luxury that's hard to maintain. A friend of mine recently opened up his own studio. Since he can't afford a receptionist yet, he has a steady rotation of friends who work there in return for free classes. Same goes for any friends who have more specialized services to offer. The studio's Twitter account, marketing material, and branding are all done free of charge by friends who, in exchange, get a free monthly membership.

When he first told me that he was doing this, I thought, "How brilliant!" But my friend says that this is nothing new. Bartering is a pretty common practice in private studios — at least the ones he's worked at. I also have a friend who is a member of the "karma yoga" program at her Bikram studio. For every hour of work she donates to the studio, she's given a free class.

Find out how to barter for your own free classes when you


While the thought of bartering might seem intimidating, it doesn't have to be. Here're some tips to get you started.

  • Just ask. Many studios already have programs like this in place. Check to see if your current studio offers one, or call around to find a studio that does.
  • Be honest. If you're having financial difficulties, be candid with your teacher, or the manager of the studio. Many "karma yoga" programs are started in this scenario. Besides front desk work, think of any other services you may be able to offer to sweeten the deal.
  • Start small. Bartering is much easier on a smaller scale. Look for privately owned studios, or deal directly with the instructor. I once received a year of free classes at an expensive Pilates studio because I helped out two instructors with their income taxes.
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Join The Conversation
handsthatfeed handsthatfeed 4 years
I am A Massage Therapy Instructor Just returning from volunteering teaching Thai Massage for a year in Thailand. I think this is a great idea i was volunteering and did a few barters and i find it the best way to skip the middle man "$" and really connect with the person you trade with and extra plus is the bond and friendship that grows from bartering/trading. \u00a0 I am now back in San Francisco and would love to do a trade of services for my Accredited Thai massage training course or my other massage training courses that i teach e.g. Deep Tissue massage, Barefoot massage in return for a Yoga Teacher Training course. \u00a0 If any one is interested, would like more information or may know someone who\u00a0 would be interested please contact me at \u00a0 Namaste \u00a0 Ren\u00e9
Epicself Epicself 6 years
I love how most studios in SF have this option for clients. I also found that most dance studios will do a similar work exchange.
nancita nancita 7 years
My brother is a tennis pro and he's always swapping his services for pilates classes, boot camps, etc. It works out really well with other fitness professionals, since they are usually wanting to switch up their routines.
Stacey-Cakes Stacey-Cakes 7 years
I did this at my bikram yoga studio for about a year when I was only making a small stipend at a job. I could take as many classes as I wanted so long as I did some work (for usually about 45 minutes) at the studio after each class. I was so grateful to the owner of the studio for offering the opportunity, otherwise I would not have been able to practice bikram yoga during that time period.
jaxsprat jaxsprat 7 years
Love it and it's good karma!
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 7 years
I worked at a salon that did this while I was in college. Free hair and beauty services for 4 hours of my time a week? Yes, please!
janetmouse janetmouse 7 years
This is a great idea!
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