Update: An earlier version of this story featured language implying the yoga studio was "accessible to all" based on disability instead of income level. The language has been clarified to reflect its financial accessability.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Inner Warrior yoga studio in Louisville aims to make the practice financially accessible for everyone because “yoga is for everyone,” said Co-owner and Instructor, Gabriella Gaona. To that end, every class is donation-based, meaning attendees pay what they can.
“It’s less intimidating because it can be really expensive to go to a yoga class, but whenever there is no commitment, no membership, it’s just really easy to show up,” Gaona told Spectrum News 1.
Gaona said yoga practice changed her life for the better so the hope is that by removing the barrier of cost, more people will try it.
“Yoga promotes mindfulness, and I think that’s something that we could really use in the world,” Gaona said.
The Inner Warrior offers the donation-based classes seven days a week, in-person or via Zoom. Every class is suitable for all experience levels.
Giving back has also paid off for The Inner Warrior in unexpected ways, like during the pandemic. Gaona said the studio can fit up to 50 yoga mats but currently the maximum number of students in-person is 15 due to COVID-19.
Smaller class sizes could have meant less donations, but Gaona said the community stepped up.
“We actually got so many donations, like when we first closed, that helped us stay open throughout the pandemic, doing online classes,” Gaona said. “The attitude of not really thinking about what you’re going to get in return, just that mood of service, is really what guides us and our instructors.”
Gaona said that she doesn’t like to state a minimum required donation to take a class because The Inner Warrior doesn’t want people to not try yoga because of the cost.
However, she said the value of a drop-in class ranges from $10-20 and the value of attending regularly is $50-100 per month.