Peaceful Passport

I’m a little ambivalent about yoga. I actually quite enjoy Jillian Michael’s ‘Yoga Meltdown’ DVD, but another experience doing more traditional relaxation yoga was unfulfilling. I’m someone who likes to feel like they’ve worked when they work out, and yoga doesn’t always do that for me. Also, it’s rare that you’ll see me advocate buying into what I consider the less salient side of this supposedly earthy practice – the consumer-driven, high-priced madness of yoga gear from the likes of lululemon. That being said, today’s gift suggestion might just change my mind and open my yoga horizons on a more practical level.

The Passport to Prana program is basically an excellent way for a yogi at any level of experience to try out a bunch of yoga studios to get a sense for what level they’re at, what types of classes are best suited to them, and what places they prefer to get their flow going. Basically you order a passport from the Passport to Prana website, which gives you admittance to one class at each of the participating yoga studios in the program. In smaller markets like Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg, you get to attend about 10 different studios for $20. In larger markets like Vancouver or Montreal, you spend a little more ($30) but get access to upwards of 20 studios, and in Toronto (birthplace of the passport) you could theoretically visit 70 different studios!

To put this in perspective for the unenlightened, one major studio that I know of in my city allows drop-ins, for the whopping price of $17 per class. Buying a five-class pass isn’t much better ($75). They do offer a karma class once a week for $5 plus a donation to a food bin, but it typically fills up hours before it actually begins. So even at the lowest number of studios, you’re still looking at just $2 per class, and if you were psychotic and managed to tackle all 70 in Toronto, you’d be out a few dimes.

So here’s the situations in which this is a great gift. You’ve got a yoga-obsessed friend who you think might enjoy expanding their horizons beyond their current studio. You and a pal are entering a fitness challenge together and want to dabble in yoga to see if it makes sense for your health goals. You have a girlfriend who gets the odd pass here and there for free classes who would be cool with getting a ten-class pass for an incredibly low price, that doesn’t mind hopping around from studio to studio. You know someone that is a disciple of one form of yoga, but is curious to brave some other kinds – including that infamous hot yoga. Or, sigh, you’re giving someone a piece of lulu gear and want to top it up with a practical application in which to wear their new $90 pants.

Because the Passport to Prana is available online, it’s a pretty accessible gift. However, note that it is not available in all markets. Right now Saskatchewan and the Maritimes are sadly left off the map, although perhaps with time they too will join in the yoga revolution that is (still) sweeping the nation.

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