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Fitness On A Budget: Affordable Classes In The Bay Area
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Fitness On A Budget: Affordable Classes In The Bay Area

Picture of Sally Baker
Updated: 16 December 2016
While San Francisco boasts some of the trendiest fitness classes and activities in California, affordability is a challenge for many on fixed budgets. Communal fitness classes are on the rise, however, offering everything from donation-based yoga to early morning cardio workouts. We look at a few fun and affordable fitness opportunities throughout the Bay Area.
Afternoon class at San Francisco Yoga to the People studio | © Sally Baker
Afternoon class at San Francisco Yoga to the People studio | © Sally Baker
Yoga in the Park | © Purusha Studio
Yoga in the Park | © Purusha Studio

Yoga to the People

Located at 16th Street and Mission in San Francisco and at two locations in Berkeley, Yoga to the People offers 60-minute yoga classes throughout the day, seven days a week. Yogis are encouraged to bring their own mats and water, but mats are available to rent for $2.00, and water bottles can be purchased for $1.00. The beautiful studios exist solely on donations, and participants are asked to donate a minimum of $10 per class. However, the casual environment of donations allows for some to give more or less depending upon individual means. As class structure varies by instructor, participants have the opportunity to experience everything from traditional vinyasa yoga to variations of hot bikram yoga.

2973 16th St. – 5th floor San Francisco, CA 94103, +1 917 573 9642

Berkeley Vinyasa, 64 Shattuck Sq. Berkeley, CA 947046

Berkeley Hot Yoga, 2116 Berkeley Way Berkeley, CA 947042

*Same phone number for all studios

Cost: $10 suggested donation

The November Project

A morning November Project hike in Sutro Forest | © Paddy, november-project.com
A morning November Project hike in Sutro Forest | © Paddy, november-project.com

A national movement, the November Project offers free outdoor fitness classes in cities across the country. The San Francisco chapter meets three mornings a week at various locations for instructor-led cardio workouts. Whether new to cardio or a seasoned exercise veteran, The November Project has something to offer for every skill level. The team meets Mondays at 6:30 a.m. at Fort Mason, Wednesdays at 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. in Alta Plaza Park, and Friday mornings at various locations for a weekly hike.

Mondays, 6:30 a.m. – Fort Mason, Great Meadow, 2 Marina Blvd San Francisco, CA 941232, +1 415 345-7500

Wednesdays, 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. – Alta Plaza Park, San Francisco, CA 94115, +1 415 831 5500

Cost: FREE

‘Heavy Breathing’ Artist-Led Fitness Classes

Heavy Breathing” is a summer artist-led series that combines physical activity with practical and theoretical discussions. With everything from swimming to yoga, each class features a different activity and discussion. The classes are led by guest artists and are open to the general public. Time and location varies by class, so visit their website for the most accurate class schedule and information. Each class is unique, so read up on it beforehand to see which one sounds the most appealing. Or, if adventure calls, try them all!

The Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Ave Oakland, CA

Cost: FREE

November Project Sunrise 6k in Giants Promenade | © Paddy, november-project.com
November Project Sunrise 6k in Giants Promenade | © Paddy, november-project.com
Dancing in the Streets | ©Chris JL/Flickr
Dancing in the Streets | ©Chris JL/Flickr

City Dance

Affordable dance classes are difficult to come by, especially in the Bay Area. City Dance offers a wide array of dance classes, from contemporary to hip-hop, as well as specialty summer workshops. With an extensive menu of options, there is something for everyone. Classes range in price from $12.50-14.00, with summer workshops being specially priced. Every skill level is welcome, and most classes are tailored to specific talents and interests. Explore City Dance’s website for class-specific information and schedules.

City Ballet, 32 Otis Street San Francisco, CA 94103, +1 415 297 1172*

The Annex, 1420 Harrison Street San Francisco, CA 941071

The MJ/City Dance Lab, 301 8th St. (at Folsom) San Francisco, CA 9410330

*Same phone number for all studios

Cost: $12.50-$14.00 (excluding specially priced classes)

Purusha Yoga | ©Jason Braun/Flickr
Purusha Yoga | ©Jason Braun/Flickr

Purusha in the Park

Purusha Studio leads Saturday and Sunday morning yoga classes in Golden Gate Park and at Spreckels Lake. Rather than the traditional vinyasa class structure, these classes focus on holding poses, rather than flowing quickly between shapes. The classes are donation-based and benefit the Purusha Seva Project, a campaign to help underserved communities through yoga and fine arts. Visit their website for locations and class times. Classes usually begin at 10:00 or 11:00 a.m., but times vary according to location.

Saturdays – 11:00 a.m. – Golden Gate Park – Big Rec Field (near 9th Ave. and Lincoln Way, across from the main entrance to the Botanical Gardens), +1 415 668 9642

Sundays – 10:00 a.m. – Spreckels Lake (between John F. Kennedy Dr. and Fulton Ave.), +1 415 668 9642

Cost: FREE (donations appreciated)