Lululemon not only sells tough and trendy yoga gear, the stores offer free classes designed to inspire a practice, build community, and teach yogis the correct way to do asanas and develop a daily yoga habit. Test-drive a stretchy hour on the mat, courtesy of the store that gives it up for yoga, no purchase necessary.
How to Find a Class
Check your local Lululemon store to see what type of classes are offered and when they meet. Most locations offer classes seasonally, while others hold them year-round.
When and Where
Use the Lululemon store locator to find the locations nearest you and check the website calendar of events for scheduled yoga classes. Many stores have a weekly class. Since the class is in the store, which moves racks and stands to clear a space, you'll typically see a one-hour yoga session on the schedule before the store opens for the day, or in the evening after closing.
For example, the West 75th and Broadway store on Manhattan's Upper West Side offers Namaste at Nine, a yoga class from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays. In Palo Alto, a Sunday class at 9 a.m. in the Stanford Shopping Center serves up Digital Detox, an all-level yoga flow class. Both are free. Not all stores have classes year 'round so refer to the calendar or call the store to see what's on offer.
Types of Classes
Lululemon looks for top-rated local yoga teachers to run the free classes. Since students are drop-ins, an experienced teacher will present a multilevel class to engage everyone from beginners to advanced yogis. If a class is targeted at a particular level or special interest - such as hot yoga - that information is included in the online class description.
The Lululemon website includes a list of popular yoga styles: Aerial, Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Hot, Iyengar/Restorative, Kundalini and Yin yoga. The classes you'll find will depend on the facilities and local teachers; however, you're unlikely to see an aerial yoga class, and Bikram-style hot yoga usually requires a dedicated studio for heat control. What you will find a lot of are Vinyasa, Hatha, and Yin yoga sessions - styles that can work for all levels and not intimidate a novice.
Prep for Poses
Yoga relieves stress, and the experience of a community yoga class at Lululemon is as stress-free as the store can make it. No special preparation is necessary.
Advance Sign-up and Gear
No advance registration is required. Just show up a few minutes before class starts, sign a waiver at the door, and choose your mat. You're welcome to bring your own mat, of course, and many people do. However, if you are traveling or don't yet have a mat, no worries. Lululemon has the mats and, if the class requires it, yoga props such as blocks and straps.
What to Wear
The stretching and poses depend on correct alignment so your clothing should be as stretchy as you want to be. Baggy isn't a great look because the teacher will want to check your position, and a body con or slightly loose outfit is best for that. Just be sure you can move and breathe, and that you're not swathed in yards of cloth. You will sweat, so clothes that wick away moisture will be more comfortable. Synthetic fabrics designed for running, workouts, dance, or yoga won't restrict your Cow Face pose or your Downward Dog.
Yogis love the free classes and flock to cool weather indoor sessions, as well as the classes that move outside in balmier seasons. One New Jersey-area student said on Yelp, "Within the past year I have gone to various Sunday yoga practices and I have loved every one." Another remarked, "It was such a great experience, I cannot wait for next Sunday!"
New York magazine made Lululemon Soho a "Critic's Pick" and noted as a plus, "...on Sunday nights after closing, customers of all levels can participate in a free in-store yoga session led by local instructors." One Scottsdale resident told the Arizona Republic that variety is the appeal, "I wasn't sure what yoga studio I wanted to go to, and I knew that they alternated teachers from different studios." Inside Vancouver says, "... an impressive array of offerings, from hatha to vinyasa and everything in between."
More Than a Shop Op
Lululemon devotees swear by the brand for reliable performance and style-setting comfort, and they consider the hefty prices an investment. A free class taught by a respected local teacher is a bonus. Some yogis make it a part of their regular practice, keeping an eye out for new collections or the latest yoga bag. If you have the self-control to resist updating your yoga gear collection every week, free yoga turns that brand devotion into a bargain.