Vancouver on the Cheap: Free Yoga at Lululemon

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If you were to create a Venn diagram where one circle was labeled “cheap” and the other labeled “awesome”, the middle point where they cross over could be labeled “Vancouver on the Cheap”. In other words, this is a weekly series on things to do and places to go in Vancouver that fall into that magical category of being both cheap and awesome.

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Say what you will about Vancouver’s addiction to yoga and what it means about the “true spirit” of the movement when classes are full of people wearing $90 rear-end-enhancing pants, you can’t deny that yoga is a great activity to improve the health of your body and mind. And while Lululemon is the primary instigator of said $90 rear-end-enhancing yoga pants, they also, it turns out, have something to offer to us cheapskates!

Free yoga! That’s right, you could go to 3 or 4 yoga classes a week for FREE by hopping around Vancouver’s various Lululemon stores. Each store offers at least one class a week before or after store hours when they push those racks out of the way and cram as many people onto that floor as they can.

To get the schedule for your nearest shop, check the Lulu website, find the store nearest you, and look at their community calendar. Here’s a breakdown of what’s listed now (of course, it’s liable to change):

Sundays:
8:45am at Robson Street
9:30am at Oakridge

Mondays:
8pm at Kitsilano

Tuesdays:
6:30pm at Lulu Lab (Cambie)

Thursdays:
7:30am at Robson Street (ESL focus)

A lot of the stores also have free running clubs if you’re into that kind of thing. Personally I don’t see why running around when you’re not trying to catch a bus or escape a zombie is a worthwhile activity, but then again, I guess some people might wonder why standing on one foot and calling it “tree pose” is worthwhile. To each their own!

Here’s what to expect when you try out a free class at a Lulu store: a crowd. Seriously, get there at least 10 minutes early because it turns out (surprise, surprise) a lot of people like getting free yoga. I went to a class at the Lulu Lab, got there about 15 minutes early, and while I did wind up standing outside the store for that time in an ever-growing crowd, I also got a decent spot on the floor once they opened things up.

Other things to expect: an awesome, challenging all-levels class and access to free mats, unless otherwise stated (it looks like they don’t provide mats at Oakridge).

On their site they say that the yoga classes are all a part of creating a yoga community and giving back. I’m not sure how much community comes from the super packed-out classes, but it really is great of them to provide something for their neighbourhood.