People sometimes have some misconceptions about the expenses involved in practising yoga. Sure, you can drop $100 on pants. Your yoga mat can be eco-certified if you like — but it will cost you a pretty penny. Not to mention that most studio prices can give a person vertigo.

The thing is: it doesn’t have to be that way! Yoga can be and should be for everyone, regardless of age, physical prowess and budget. Here are five ways to maximize your yoga dollar:

1. Beginners: On your marks, get set… Tadasana!
If this is your first attempt at yoga, listen carefully: The best way to kick off what could potentially be a life-long habit is to get off on the right foot. Paying for the first few classes is worth the green for any novice. A good class will help you understand the principals of alignment and philosophy behind the practice; a good teacher can guide you through Asana in a way that no home video can (especially important if you have any old or existing injuries). Try 6-10 classes to get started.

2. Studio love requires commitment
If you’re going to stick to one studio, buy a class pass — a packaged deal (various types and classes) that makes much more sense economically. In some cases, you end up paying half the price per individual class.

3. Home sweet home
You can get free yoga any time, by the way: at home. I know it’s not easy to stay motivated when you’re solo, so here are two helpful tips. If you’re already friends with iTunes then you should make friends with yoga podcasts. Start streaming with Yoga Today or Yoga Download and get the closest thing to a private teacher for free.

4. Energy exchange
Many studios offer free classes in exchange for help around the studio. Deskwork and regular everyday housekeeping is usually on the agenda; if you have the time, you can save a dime.

5. Karma classes
Many studios offer karma classes (donation-based, pay-what-you-can classes). The circle of karma goes like this: you pay what you can, the studio provides the space and the teacher for a reduced cost, and they donate the money to a charity of their choice. Good karma for everyone!

If you can’t afford to splurge on regular classes, do yourself a favour and continue your practice with free and alternative methods. Before trying anything new, you may want to get advice from a teacher — so, hold off on the headstands and arm balances until you’re with the pros. And for Krishna’s sake, you don’t need to buy those expensive pants; just wear something comfortable, and enjoy.

Suggested yoga budget
Mat: $60
Studio class: $20
Extra sticky fitness headband: $25
Great-ass pants: $120
Yoga: Priceless

Zoja Popovic is a Toronto-based journalist and national TV news producer. She is the consummate health and wellness enthusiast, and is obsessed with Yoga. Follow Zoja @zojapopovic. Namaste!