Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…

One way to do "cat pose"...

One way to do “cat pose”…

This weekend I did something that I should have done a long time ago. I ended a relationship that for a while now felt like it was taking more out of me than I was getting from the relationship. I broke up… with my yoga instructor.

What’s The History?

I call myself a casual yogi, having been practicing fairly regularly since starting with some community yoga classes that were offered free at a park across the street from my old office in 2007. I find it’s a great way to offset all the running I do.
But when I moved to be in the same city as Mr PoP in 2008, I started going to a gym owned by a friend and I came to really like the yoga instructor that taught a few classes there every week.

When we lived 10 minutes away from the gym, I would go to yoga once or twice per week and it was great. But then we moved 30 minutes away, and making it once per week was the most I could ever do.

So How Much Did Yoga Cost?

The membership deal I had at that gym wasn’t expensive and when we lived nearby, $20/month was a steal. But now… not so much. If I made it every week, then the actual costs for an average month are:

  • Membership: $20/month
  • Gas: $4/visit, $16/month
  • Subway*: $4/egg white flatbread after each class, $16/month
  • Time: Drive + 90 minute Class + Subway with instructor + Drive = almost 4 hours. A sizable time committment every Saturday morning.

So the actual monthly costs weren’t $20. They were ~$50 and a LOT of time.

I’ve Been Cheating With Another Yoga Instructor

About 18 months ago, a proper yoga studio opened up about 3 miles from our house. It’s kindof hidden away and I forgot it was there until a friend and I went by the area and I picked up a brochure a couple of months ago. Oh my gosh – there are so many different classes at so many different levels. (One of the bad things about the “all levels” class that I had been going to is that it’s easy to slack off if you’re not feeling it.)

Anyhow, I’ve paid the drop-in fee a few times when I didn’t want to devote 4 hours of my Saturday to driving and yoga and discovered that I love the place.

  1. I can bike there easily with my mat; it takes about 15 minutes on nice sidewalks.
  2. You can reserve a spot online, so you don’t have to get there early to make sure you get a spot. (You had to get to the other gym about 15 minutes early to make sure you have a spot.)
  3. Lots of different types of yoga. Not just the power yoga that I like most of the time, but specialty classes and workshops for lots of different purposes. There are also many different times that classes are offered, so I’m not bound to the same time and schedule every single week.

If I wanted to go nuts, I’m sure I could spend a small fortune there. But if I just want to go to 1 class per week, which is pretty good for me for now, I can buy a pass ($300 upfront) that brings the cost down to $10/class. Biking there won’t add any transit costs, and I probably won’t be eating at Subway, so I’ll probably end up spending $40 per month to go once a week. Simiilar to the old gym, actually. But I’ll reclaim about 2 hours from the time that going to yoga used to take and I feel like the classes there will help me grow more in my practice.

“It’s Not You, It’s Me”

Yoga (at least for me) is such a personal thing – there’s a level of trust you develop with a familiar instructor to know when and how far they can push you – that the breakup wasn’t easy. And hey, I haven’t really broken up with anyone since 2003, so it’s not like I’ve had a lot of practice recently anyhow.

Breaking up with my yoga instructor probably would have been easier if it had been just about the money. But I think he understood and didn’t take it personally. I still felt bad, though.


Have you had to break up with a trusted service provider? A doctor, a dentist, or a fitness instructor? Was it hard?

* I realize an egg-white sandwich with your yoga instructor isn’t mandatory, but giving the instructor a ride home and having an egg white sandwich at Subway somehow got to feel like a mandatory part of going to yoga over the last 3-4 years.

35 comments to Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…

  • Haha, they weren’t a “trusted friend”, but I did have to quit a cut-happy dermatologist. To make matters worse, the lady left some pretty awful scars. Now I go to a different dermatologist, every couple years, and he seems a lot more knowledgeable and measured in his approach.
    Income Surfer recently posted..How I Find Great InvestmentsMy Profile

    • oooh, I hate the cut happy ones. I got a scar from the last time a derm cut into me and he offered to recut it again “to have a smaller scar”. Umm… No! Why on earth would I think I’d get a smaller scar by letting you cut into me again?

  • I am sure that your yoga teacher appreciated how hard it was for you to “break up” with him. He was probably amazed that you continued to go when it was so far away! I barely make it to Saturday morning classes when it’s a 3 minute drive. (By barely, I mean very infrequently).

  • I generally don’t feel the need to explain that I won’t be coming back, and as a tutor/piano instructor, most people have mostly stopped coming without further explaination that “we are feeling the financial pinch” or something. I prefer that, last week the lady who comes to my house to sell me fish refused to give me a discount when I told her I was buying much cheaper fish before, so I just went to the market and found cheaper fish again, now when she comes asking if I want fish I just say no but don’t go into details as to not cause a fight if I ever need fish again. Maybe it’s cowardly but I feel she cheated about the weight too so I don’t feel that bad about saying no.
    Pauline recently posted..A lifetime of savings, saving money in your 20s, 30s and 40sMy Profile

    • Well, if I just stopped going and didn’t explain to the gym owner at all, he’d just keep charging my credit card $20/month and I didn’t really want that either. =)

  • That’s such an ordeal just to do a little yoga on Saturdays. I might have to break up with my boat racing team for the same reason. It’s every Saturday during the summer, practices are an hour and a half, but it can take an hour to he there… We’ll see
    Cash Rebel recently posted..The frugal Colorado adventureMy Profile

    • At least the boat racing is seasonal? But it’s still tough to commit to every single weekend without fail even if it’s something fun!

  • This isn’t exactly the same, but I’m breaking up with our squirrel pest control company today. Hoping that they will just give in easily and give me a refund.
    Michelle recently posted..How Much Money Do You Spend On Clothing? & GiveawayMy Profile

  • $20 for yoga for a month! HOLY SMOKES! It’s like $150 a month here!

    But I agree, you have to factor in travel time in this equation.
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted..Your Future In FreelancingMy Profile

    • $150/month? Where do you live again? Even the really fancy pants studios around here draw the line at ~$100/mo for all the yoga you can handle.

  • I don’t have a problem breaking up with people. But sometimes I think companies make it so hard to break up with them, so you don’t break up with them.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted..What is Your Next Career Move?My Profile

    • “I think companies make it so hard to break up with them, so you don’t break up with them”

      I think there probably is something to that. A friend from work finally quit his gym. They had made it hard enough to do that it took him several months to get over to the gym during specific hours when the manager was in to do it!

      • Wasn’t there a Friends about that very thing? Chandler wanted to quit his gym but the “retention specialists” or whatever they called them were hot women who always talked him out of it.
        Frugal Paragon recently posted..Goals for MarchMy Profile

  • The drive alone was a good reason to break up if you ask me. The last thing I want to do on a Saturday morning is drive 30 minutes away to exercise!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Club Thrifty March 2014 Budget BreakdownMy Profile

  • I’ve done that with hair stylists. But then I’ve had the awkward moment where the next stylist wasn’t working either so I took my old stylist back. I’m surprised they didn’t trying to cut all my hair off in anger. You know how getting back together can be. I agree that once you find a class you like though with yoga, it’s hard to switch it up. I have a yoga instructor I really like and never go to anyone else. ever.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Life UpdatesMy Profile

  • CincyCat

    I didn’t want to break up with a trusted doctor, but she decided to pursue academia, and no longer see patients. :( It really was a great move for her, but I was devastated. I always said I would drive as far as necessary to see her because I trusted her that much.

    • That’s tough. A friend of mine lost his doctor last year when the doctor stopped accepting insurance and became a concierge-only practice. My friend didn’t want to pay the (big) premium for the concierge service, so is still trying to find a new GP he likes that’s not too far from home.

  • I broke up with my chiropractor because his office manager threw a tantrum and called me an idiot in the reception area of my office in front of several people because she missed all of her follow up appointments and I wouldn’t give her any more contacts. I felt it would be a bit awkward to go back to her territory after that. 47 is really too old for a public tantrum anyway.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..How a Health Savings Account Can Save Your RetirementMy Profile

  • I love the total cost analysis you did with your previous class. It’s really rare that we think about our activities or purchases in that way, even for us personal finance bloggers. I mean, we all track our expenses and itemize to a certain degree. But do we ever consider the transportation costs inherent with our trips to Costco, or the ancillary costs associated with regular activities (like a beer with the team after league play)?

    Holistic costs are common sense, in theory, but hard to think about in practice. They lie hidden in our budget line items.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Rashard Mendenhall is My HeroMy Profile

  • Not exactly a breakup, but we did cancel a family photo shoot when we decided blowing $500 on pictures wasn’t the smartest move. The photographer is actually a neighbor/acquaintance, which made it a little more awkward, but we brazened it out!
    Frugal Paragon recently posted..Goals for MarchMy Profile

  • I switch up my physical activity pretty often because I get bored. One year I was all about running, then I was all about yoga, then I was all about these new orange theory fitness classes. I break up with fitness a lot but the good thing is I always move on to something else!

  • It’s hard, especially when you have such a friendly relationship with the yoga instructor, but I like that you took the cost (both financially and time-wise) into account.

    I’m a runner three times per week who does strength training once per week (in good weather). Not perfect, but it’s decent. I don’t really interact with professionals for my exercise, but since I did move last year I might join a running group to make new friends. Just have to wait for the snow to clear up.

  • I tried Yoga once. It was a thing my GF and I were going to do for a while. After the first session, we broke up (me and Yoga, not the GF). It was great. Weights and aerobic exercise is better in my opinion…

    Do you still have the rentals?
    No Nonsense Landlord recently posted..Targeting Your Market to Maximize Income (long post)My Profile

  • I empathize with your plight. I live 30 minutes away from the yoga studio I go to regularly, so it’s both a time and financial commitment. I love it and believe it’s a good use of both, but it’s a tough sell when the practice under-delivers. There’s a bit of turnaround at the studio I go to and I have seriously considered going to other studios where the classes and instructors are more consistent. I started yoga at this studio and am close with the owner and some of the regulars so it’s not an easy decision!
    Kendal @HassleFreeSaver recently posted..Stories That Rocked My Week – #4My Profile

  • Haha, I have zero loyalty to any service provider. I’ve never had a doctor, hairdresser, or any other service provider long term. I just go wherever is available for everything and don’t give it a second thought.
    Erin @ My Alternate Life recently posted..How Much Do Cats and Dogs Cost?My Profile

  • I am pretty bad with this – every time I need to “break up” with a service provider or instructor, I just stop showing up and start going elsewhere. It’s probably not fair of me, and it would be preferable if I just told them why I wasn’t going to be coming anymore, but I don’t usually go that route. Sometimes, I’ll phone and let them know. If I had to break up with my massage therapist for some reason, I would formally tell her, because I go to her every week and it’s just me and her in that room for an hour each Thursday. That would be hard.

  • vh

    I’m back with Shane, the beloved and brilliant hairstylist…

    When I was laid off the job, I had to break up with Shane. Just couldn’t afford the price of an up-up-upscale salon — seventy bucks for a haircut…I don’t get my hair colored, permed, or straightened.

    For five years I bounced from stylist to stylist. Couldn’t count the number of bad styles I’ve had, and I swear to god, if you say “I HATE bangs falling down in my face,” that causes the numbskulls to give you bangs.

    He’s ninety bucks now, by the time you figure in the tip. But he’s worth it. He’s sooo worth it.

    Yoga would be a different matter. Once you’ve learned the poses and technique, why keep going back? Can’t you do a routine in your own living room, free of charge?
    vh recently posted..Creative Work: Good for Your Health?My Profile

  • I also work out Sat mornings, but when I think of the commute and the class itself, it’s only an 1.5 hr vs. 4 hours.

    Sounds like the new yoga place is awesome. I know I need to do more yoga, because I have very tight muscles in certain areas, but yoga for me is like eating brussel sprouts. I don’t enjoy it that much. But maybe I need to find a type of yoga I like. Once I went to a studio where we did a half hour spin class and then half hour of yoga afterwards. That was pretty cool.
    MakintheBacon recently posted..The Price I Pay to RelaxMy Profile