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Tempe studio © Nick Bastian/Flickr
Tempe studio © Nick Bastian/Flickr

Yoga To The People: Everything You Need To Know

Picture of Courtney Holcomb
Updated: 21 December 2016
If you’ve ever explored the various opportunities for yoga offered in most major cities, you’ve probably discovered one major problem: yoga isn’t cheap. Individual classes often go for $15 to $20 a pop, making a daily practice sound impossible to afford. Along comes the solution to solving the yoga-poverty gap: Yoga to the People.

Yoga to the People offers 100% donation-based yoga. You read that correctly — every class is free to attend, giving you a space to get your yoga on without breaking the bank. A donation of $10 is recommended, but classes can be cheaper, or even free, for those who can’t afford to give that much. With such a risky way of funding its studios, you might think that YTTP has struggled to make ends meet, but the business has been thriving. Founded in New York City in 2006, the first YTTP studio became so popular that it expanded to open five more studios around the city. From there, it expanded even more, now hosting studios in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Tempe.

Yoga to the People’s founder, Greg Gumucio, claims to have modeled the idea after the donation-based practices of Bryan Kest, known as the creator of Power Yoga. Gumucio also drew influence from Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram yoga, under whom he worked for six years. Controversy was sparked when YTTP began offering hot yoga classes, following the Bikram tradition. Choudhury filed a lawsuit against Gumucio under the claim that the Bikram yoga practice was copyrighted. YTTP obliged by stopping offering hot yoga classes, but soon the United States Copyright Office stepped in to clarify that yoga postures could not be copyrighted as such, allowing YTTP to start offering hot classes again.

The primary style of yoga offered by Yoga to the People is Power Vinyasa Flow. The studios focus on making the yoga accessible to all people, often crowding as many people into a studio as possible, and teaching classes that are accessible for all levels. In an effort to keep the focus on the yoga, rather than the sequence or the teacher, YTTP does not post its teaching schedules or a description of the sequence that will be offered in any given class.

Today, there is a lot to know about the YTTP studios around the country. The NYC locations include St. Marks, 27th Street, 38th Street, Brooklyn, Upper West Side, and the unique YTTP 2 studio. The usual Power Vinyasa Flow is offered at the St. Marks, Brooklyn, and Upper West Side Studios. Hot Vinyasa is available at the 38th Street studio, while Traditional Hot Yoga is offered at the 27th Street and Brooklyn studios. While still super affordable, be aware that the hot classes are not donation-based – each class costs $7. At YTTP 2, things are a little bit different. Classes are generally more advanced and focus on a variety of specific aspects of yoga, with different types of classes offered each week. Classes at the YTTP 2 studio are offered for the a price of $5. All other studios around the country offer exclusively donation-based Power Vinyasa Flow, and the website even has free podcasts available for those who wish to hone their at-home yoga practice.