Can Money & Spirituality Mix?

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After this recent article on came out telling people how much I make a year (thank the gods I pay my taxes properly), I became deluged with people, many from mind/body fields, asking me how they could do the same.

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There are going to be those who react negatively to the notion that money and spiritual teaching can be harmoniously interconnected.

Honestly? I don’t care.

Because I’m living proof that both can happen. So, by the way, are the very first yogis who came to America. They accepted the invitation of wealthy society women and men who brought them here and paid for their travel, lodging, food, and every comfort they needed. They even bought them their own ashrams with people to serve and take care of them. This happens in India too, by the way, and has from ancient times. People buy food, then give it to monks. They have jobs, and on the weekends, they go help out at the ashrams. Parishioners tithe their income to the church. Monks make beer and sell it to keep their monasteries in the black.

In my opinion, we need to get over our yogier-than-thou, lack-oriented mindset when it comes to making our finances as healthy as our bodies in yoga practice. Otherwise, we allow more resources to go to the greedy, the power-hungry, and those who may not have the spiritual training to use money wisely and spend compassionately.

It’s time for yogis to enrich themselves, and the world, on every level.

Money has always been exchanged for spirituality, even if by secondhand means. More importantly than money is the energy it represents. If you give away your energy in any form without doing something to replace it evenly, then you will end up drained, not balanced, and certainly not abundant.

I’m here to help you even the score.

If you could make a great living, and do what you love, and help offer some of your resources to good causes, would you? Or would you rather be trying to serve while remaining overworked, stressed out, and broke? Because that’s the state I see many spiritual people settling for, when in fact, they would be able to give more, and of higher quality, if they balanced their cashflow with their life force.

I’m in the middle of a second edition of my e-book Conscious Commerce, which brings together experts like yoga blogger Nancy Alder, Business of Yoga guru Mark Laham and Ava Taylor, founder of YAMA Talent (and my manager), and me, a yoga teacher who has managed to create financial stability for myself and my family without losing my soul.

Until it’s done, I thought a great way to address the most pressing questions, ones I think apply to yoga teachers and healing professionals alike, was to do a recurring blog.

Feel free to send your questions to [email protected] or post them in the comments below.

Let’s get you receiving the same abundance you put out there into the world every day.

Conscious Commerce Question of the week:

From: Cailen Ascher


Hi Sadie,

My name is Cailen Ascher, and I came across information about your online yoga empire at the beginning of this year.  I’ve perused your website and thoroughly enjoy your engaging yoga videos. First off, I just want to say that I am so impressed and inspired by your journey from overworked teacher to lifestylist – crafting the life you want and desire.

I, too, am a yoga teacher and hope to build an online presence so that my teachings can reach a broad range of students.  I understand that your yoga philosophy is expressed through your concept of “Core Strength Vinyasa” – and I was wondering how important you think a “niche” is when building your brand. Did developing “Core Strength Vinyasa” distinguish you from the get-go or did that develop later after your online presence was already strong?

I understand that you probably have a busy and fulfilling schedule, but I would very much appreciate any thoughts you have regarding “niching”.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to look for you on twitter and Facebook!



Hi Cailen,

I think, like anything, the more clear you are about what your unique message is, the better. Otherwise, people have trouble finding you or knowing what you’re about.  It’s death to your chance to attract a large following whenever you try to be like everyone else. If I can’t tell the difference between the 5, 7 and 8:30 teachers at a studio, I’ll just interchange them depending on what time’s good for me. Then again, if the 7 pm instructor is knowledgeable, plays great music, has a focus, and a personality to match, then I’ll make a special effort to go to him and her every time.

This is just to say that a ‘niche’ doesn’t have to be a whole style you create, and you don’t have to know exactly what you’re going to stand for…but the more you can be yourself, and teach the class you’d love to take, the more you’re started along that path, and you will be instantly more attractive to students.

This kind of self-awareness and allowing goes whether you’re attempting to communicate ourselves to others in life, or sharing your voice through the medium of yoga postures. Some people might be organized enough to create a style of yoga or some other branding first. I, however, was just teaching without any of that, and over time, I found myself drawn to the ‘core’ aspect of yoga, and also to self-knowledge and self-expression both on and off the mat.

I noticed that when I talked about those things, the class lit up, I lit up, and I felt the most authentic and passionate. I began to study more books and trainings that centered around aspects of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual core strength, and eventually cultivated enough expertise to call my yoga a “perspective on all yoga”–not as much a style–called Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga. Then again, I’ve always had more a rebel attitude, and my own ‘Sadie style’ of speaking, dressing and approaching self-empowerment and yoga. So I’ve been a well-attended teacher from the first year I claimed myself.

Whether my brand these days is more CSV Yoga or Sadie Nardini, I really can’t say. But my niche is always generating your personal power and freedom from the core in every way.  I think it’s important to know who you are, and continuously rock that on all levels to find true and authentic success in your field. In my opinion, people who try to stand for everything, end up standing for nothing but a big, murky mess.

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Sadie Nardini

Sadie Nardini, is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, an anatomically-optimized flow style that gives you more results and benefits for every minute spent on your yoga mat. She is a holistic anatomy geek, healthy hedonism advocate, yoga expert, author, and TV host who travels internationally bringing empowering tools to yoga teachers and students everywhere. Her new book, The 21-Day Yoga Body: A Metabolic Makeover, Life-Styling Manual to Get You Fit, Fierce and Fabulous in Just 3 Weeks! (Random House), is out now, and her TV show, Rock Your Yoga, is playing across the country on the new Veria Living Network. With Sadie, you’ll sweat, laugh, learn, and come away transformed, informed, and inspired anew. Learn more at

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anonymous Sep 12, 2012 3:59pm

[…] with people feeling bad about turning it into a business, but at the same time not remorseful in making money for their work, this situation sheds light how much we all need to learn about professionalism, giving credit […]

anonymous Feb 29, 2012 10:08pm

[…] husband and I both own our own businesses. He is a general contractor and I own Active Kat Yoga. Owning your own business has it’s advantages. You can take a day off, or if you need to go in late or leave early occasionally you can without […]

anonymous Feb 10, 2012 12:32am

Having a lot of money is not an obstacle to spiritual development. Needing it is.

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 2:39am

Keep it up Sadie! Thank you for giving out as much as you get. You are an inspiration and a great teacher.

I'm currently reading your "Road Trip to the Soul" (stop 4) and spent the whole day chucking out junk that has accumulated in my environment over the last ten years. It's been a tiring but satisfying day.

Much love.

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 1:34am

Awesome article Sadie. Posted to today.
Thanks for sharing your insights. LOVE"Yogier than thou."

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 2:52pm

You go girl! How many teacher trainings cost LESS than $500??? How many teaches have FREE videos, breaking down the asanas for us??? How many teachers constantly interact with the public via blogs, FB, Twitter (and Pinterest, ask me…:) )
I thought so….You have magic to share with the public & KNOW how to get your point across! Here's to tripling that salary in 2012!!!!! xoxo ~Mamaste

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 6:51am

Thank you for continuing to inspire, Sadie. For those of you who are posting from a negative space, I’d like to share my perspective as someone who has spent time with Sadie.

I followed Sadie around Philadelphia when she was here last spring (Remember me Sadie, you’re Philly stalker 😉 ). And I just want to share my experience – because it seems some folks think she’s insincere, or this is “just a business” for her…

Not only does CSV deliver as a perspective on Yoga when you take the physical class, but Sadie genuinely knows her stuff, stands in her truth, and deeply cares about all that step into her nation. And that energy directly translates through everything she does – from the live workshops, to the DVD’s to the Teacher Training (which is also amazing…).

The way she teaches and what she teaches deeply inspired me to stand in my truth, and to make some big changes in the way I walk in this world. She is providing a huge service in this world – one of which I am so grateful for… it has changed me for the better – and I commend her for being able to live a comfortable life because of it.

Have you taken a glance at her teaching/traveling schedule recently? Have ya seen how hard she works.

Hard work should be compensated… It’s not as if Sadie sits a-top an empire looking down on everything, dictating and never participating. She gives of herself in everything she does. And, you can’t fake the kind of genuine authenticity she exudes… you just can’t. She SHOULD be equally compensated for the energy she puts into everything she does – as we all should…

As a full-time yoga teacher myself, I can speak directly to this idea of energy exchange… At one point, I WAS one of those people that thought I should basically be giving everything away… do you know how fast I burnt out?? Do you know how much I started to dislike teaching – it was heart-breaking for me as someone who wants to reach people and make a difference…

Sadie’s point here isn’t “hey, look how much I make…” It’s – hey – look at the abundance that’s available to ALL of us – yoga teachers or not…

What I get from her core message is that – when you stand in your truth, and you participate in life from your integrity, life changes – in the exact direction you WANT to live it. And I’ve experienced this first hand… it’s not some airy fairy woo woo concept… it’s truth.

If you’re feeling negatively toward this, or you think maybe we should all be paupers… perhaps that’s an indication that you need to take a good hard look at where you are, vs. where you REALLY want to be…

We are here to experience joy… we are here to experience abundance… when we feel negative – it’s an indication that we’re moving in the wrong direction.

Again – thank you Sadie for standing firmly in your truth and having the courage to express it. Keep on Rockin’ it girl!

    anonymous Feb 4, 2012 7:27am

    Excellent post. I thought I was reading my own mind with regards to Sadie. Not everyone realizes just how hard she works. I couldn't do her schedule, no way.And the courage she shows. She's quite a sensation.

    anonymous Feb 4, 2012 12:54pm

    I love you! I could not have said any of this better myself. Thank you for your loving perspective, based on the reality of actually experiencing me in person. You rock!!


anonymous Feb 4, 2012 6:21am

LOVE this! Love you Sadie!

Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
Follow on Twitter

    anonymous Feb 4, 2012 12:52pm

    THANKS, Tanya!

    Mad love to you too, sister!

anonymous Feb 3, 2012 10:19pm

btw, you mentioned "beer and monks." Try this one for size, though: Dom Perignon. One of the world's most expensive champagnes….made originally by monks to support their ashram.

anonymous Feb 3, 2012 10:11pm

Great post Sadie….brilliant. Balance rocks 😉

Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

Braja Sorensen
Lost & Found in India
Editor, Elephant Spirituality
Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

    anonymous Feb 4, 2012 12:57pm

    Thank you so much, Braja! I really appreciate you sharing this with more of our community here.

    Balance does rock! Lol…It's my new mantra:)


anonymous Feb 3, 2012 6:07pm

Yes, Molly it is a business. They should have made good on your claim.

My comment was also was taken out of context. I claimed that the videos did not act as a trailer for her longer or more comprehensive mass media work.

I do plenty of pilates mixed in with yoga in my personal practice. The inspiration from her work I used to bring to yoga class, purposively, on my own, and in the back of class (which held a lot of water until a new owner took the studio over). It actually got a teacher to teach to my accessible corework (and energetic) needs, and not expect me to do poses I could not do (such as wheel or headstand, at that time–in a LEVEL I CLASS!) to be able to train my core.

I was a master at modifying sideways, at the risk of turning the yoga class into something it was not supposed to be in the first place.

anonymous Feb 3, 2012 3:31pm

Hi Vision Quest 2,

I thank you for your comments. I'd just like to clarify one thing;

My YouTube videos are not in service of selling my DVDs or Teacher Training. Au contraire–I never mention my products in them, unless I make an intro video for specifically that purpose. I have been committed for the past few years to giving away more content for free than I have for sake. I have made (so far) 200 videos, some shorter teachings, but many full-length classes of 30, 60, even 90 minutes–hardly the "trailers" you described. Since you say you don't practice with them, perhaps you should try it, and feel the practice, which is steeped in the anatomical training of Leslie Kaminoff and the muscle meridian work of Tom Myers, as well as the movement I've designed through my years as a teacher studying Kundalini, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and others as more than just Pilates, though, I must say, since most other yoga teachers do not focus equally on the core…I'll take that as a compliment.


anonymous Feb 3, 2012 12:05pm

The problem?
This is exactly how the benefits of spiritual practice went from genuine to narcissistic.

anonymous Feb 3, 2012 7:41pm

Yes, I love to see a local teacher taking a class. It makes my practice the richer for it. Plus, the infinitesimal proportion of time my eyes may flit upon them, I am busy picking their brain for my home practice. For the studio pricing to those other students–you know, the MAJORITY of your students who have stable finances despite this economy, I am an infrequent to near-non attendee … ☺

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 12:56pm

Thank you, Cailen, for inspiring me to write this, and more posts like it. I agree–it's intention that matters, and if yours are based on integrity, then no amount of money in the world can steer you wrong.

Namaste! Let me know how things progress with you.

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 1:11pm


I'm sorry for your trouble, Molly.

I actually replied to you on Facebook back then, and I did it again today when I saw you wrote–and you might like to know that I responded before I saw any of your comments on this page. I also sent your email to my support guy, and I was not aware that he didn't follow through. I will certainly check that out for you.

The thing is, just so you know the deal, the Daily Om people are the ones that have full control over the download situation on their site. That particular course is not run through me nor my support guy. The fact that he said he would try to help you means that he is going above and beyond to try and remedy the situation. He will have to go through Daily Om and get special permission to download the material from them, something that they don't usually do. It states on the material that the course is not downloadable, something you may not have seen when purchasing it.

If he was waiting for an address or somehow his offer got lost in the sauce, I'm sorry, and will personally write to remedy it. However, this is not something that is really a call we can make–we can only try, as we always do for the extremely tiny percentage of people that have technical issues with the material.

In addition, just so you, and everyone reading this are clear: I'm proud of the amount of money I make. Yahoo didn't "out" me; I told the journalist my income, even though she said I didn't have to. I want yoga teachers to see that it's possible that if you work hard, and stay true to your principles that they, too can make a good living.

I'm sorry you had a negative experience with trying to get the course in a format it is not offered in usually. But let's share that responsibility, OK?

Please write me at [email protected] or on Facebook with your mailing address, and we will either download you the course, or let you know that it's not possible. I hope that will remedy the situation for you, and when you get back from traveling, you can start the course online. I think you'll love it, and I would love you to do it! Let's try to work it out.


And we will. Ple

anonymous Feb 6, 2012 10:37am

LOVE this Melita!!! Totally agree!

And, you're welcome Sadie – can't wait to see you in Philly again sometime 😉