Does my six figure asana-induced income make you say, “Tisk tisk”?

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What would you say if I told you that I make over $100k a year from teaching privates to corporate clients?

This is in addition to the income from on-site corporate classes and the hundreds of people who walk through the doors of my studio each week who earn a paycheck from a Fortune 500 mega company.

The list of corporations that offer yoga is extensive, as is the list of employees of corporations that take yoga classes for a variety of reasons. Stress management, of course, being a close second to tight abs and a firm butt.

What would you say if you knew that I am one of thousands of teachers across the country who directly benefit from this arrangement and relationships just like it? Or, that I am not alone in my six figure asana-induced income and am in fact at the bottom of the revenue barrel compared to most of my peers? Would my income be justified as long as I tithe a proper percentage a month to church—and would the church accept my heathen dollars anyway?

What would you say if I admitted that if I can get this blog post picked up and featured on a national website, it might drive enough traffic to sell more product, get a sponsor, book more retreats or get more “likes” and “pluses?” In order to accomplish that goal, I’ve thought for days about an appropriate yet salacious enough title to do just that.*

Once a teacher applies the tools of business to their yoga, do they loose their street cred and get lumped into the “bad for us” category—like the one percent?

Do you agree with those who argue that once we apply the tools of business, it is no longer yoga at all that we are trading in?

Would you still turn up your nose at McDonald’s or Walmart if you knew they funded the opening of a yoga studio in your town? Would you still be snide about the addiction to overpriced Starbucks coffee if you knew there are teachers who work there part-time in order to spread the Eight Limbed Gospel? Or, answer me this: is it only “bad corporations” that are on the enemy combatant list?  What about all those corporations with “legitimate” ties to yoga? Are they safe and honorable and worthy?

If I piss you off, will you call me the enemy, and if so, for what—participating, or whistle blowing?

Yoga is Not Black and White

According to, the list of corporate clients that offer on-site and retreat yoga include: MTV Networks, IBM, AT&T, Nike, HBO, Forbes, Apple, PepsiCo, General Electric and Chase Manhattan Bank. This list is certainly not exhaustive, as it’s well-know that Google and Random House both offer opportunities for employees to enjoy the benefits of the practice. It’s s also true, though, that the worldwide recession has pinched the fat off of some of these so called “luxury” offerings.

With the global trend of yoga having grown far from its traditional roots, morphing into a western phenomenon, it is hard to escape the onslaught of criticism about the practice, its participants and its superstars. It’s almost expected to read something on Huffington Post each week on how yoga in the West is either ruining the practice or being taken over by corporate greed as its tools are exploited in order to turn a greater profit by increasing worker satisfaction and productivity. “Tisk tisk,” we say in Lotus Pose; “tisk, tisk.”

Written by individuals both within and outside the industry who stand to gain from such criticism, there is a tide of fundamentalism or worse, censorship, within our community.

Even event writer and goddess Chelsea Roff is guilty of lambasting students for getting together to pray with their bodies; or, at minimum, for being hoodwinked (God Bless their souls). Instead of giving all their money to charity, they decided to do some downward dog together and this just wasn’t good enough for this talented blogger. Was it really just a point of semantics that Roff takes note with? Party vs Fundraiser. Charity vs Corporate Greed. Is there something deeper that rubs such purists the wrong way?

I am far from the only one questioning the motives of others.

It has become trendy to fling negativity to those who are not upholding some “Yoga Standard Rules for Engagement.” Is there a list of approved ways to teach yoga and make money that I am unaware of? Perhaps I didn’t get the correct Yoga Alliance 200-hour certification. Perhaps it’s making money at all in the vicinity of an “Om,” that has not been guru pre-approved, that grabs the attention of such naysayers.

Does anyone else take issue with those who participate in, or at the fringe of, our industry and make part of their living by using emotions like scarcity and moralism to demonize those who somehow don’t fill the “proper” mold?

Tell me why we even care about the opinions of those who are not even participating as teachers or students? Some take it upon themselves to write about us as if they’re critics who go to theatre and look for anything to trash because they flunked out of techniques class or sucked at classical delivery.

With all due respect, I will agree with Ms. Roff that many events, like the recent one in Central Park, are in fact for the direct benefit of an already established community rather than creating space for newbies. This, along with her list of worthy charities are the few points in her most recent article that I can admire. However, I don’t agree with the idea that by choosing to spend money on an event as yoga practitioners, we are somehow not living up to a moral code of ethics or practicing what we preach properly. Trust me, thousands of yogis every day move and breath and meditate and by doing so we are in fact changing the world one sun salutation at a time.

I wonder why otherwise intelligent commentators and participants alike are more interested in the Art of War over The Middle Path.

To the critics: when did yoga become yours and not mine?

When did you decide that the way I practice, or the way they practice, is not okay since it does not conform with the way you practice? When did your ego take over and convince you that my Vinyasa Blend is not as good as your Ashtanga or Kundalini or Anusara or that yoga in a gym is less “yoga” than the yoga on an ashram or in India. Oh sh*t, don’t say Anusara, Shelley. Hush, don’t rock that sex cult boat!

Get a Grip!

Where are our spokespersons? Where are the teachers and bloggers—who instead of tearing the community apart, are working diligently day in and day out to share and create sacred space for students who are in deep need and searching for a place to reflect, ground, change and grow?


I will tell you where.

They are in every studio across this country and many across the world. They have families, pay their bills, raise children and sometimes raise hell. Some are crunchy granola vegans and some drink beer on Thursdays and do street yoga after. Call up any studio in America or talk with any teacher and tell them you want to bring yoga to your office—see how many of them tell you to keep your money. I dare you.

They won’t and they shouldn’t.

Yoga belongs to each and every person who chooses to spend time in the practice and damn it, somebody might just have a revelation on their mat that could have an outstanding and world-wide impact. I mean, just the other day I had to decide yoga vs. stab my neighbor’s forever barking dog. If I had the chance to fly to Wanderlust to prevent the murder instead of practicing in my apartment, I would have done so and felt justified.

Yoga is splendid and malleable and the definition is evolving (unlike the definition for mullet which we can all agree only applies to those with an Ache Breaky Heart).

Yoga is many things to many people and the second we all:

>>stop beating each other down and get back to the mat,

>>stop vilifying those pesky corporations for all our problems and see how they generate great interest in the practice (among other noble endeavors) and fund some of the most sensational national gatherings,

>>admit that even our most beloved teachers are themselves owners of corporate entities that do incredibly positive work,

>>admit that there is nothing honorable about poverty and that it’s a good thing to be able to make a living while creating positive change and

>>stop and take a deep breath…

we will be rewarded with a long exhale that will purify the toxins of our collective shame and contempt.

We’ll be reminded, in the ecstasy of the out breath, that we are in a relationship. Let us forgive those who’ve trespassed against us. Let us not be led into temptation. Let us no longer be murderers of the spirit of others or adulterers of our own. Let us step back to the top of the mat in Tadasana, close our eyes, inhale and remember, “there is no I or you.”

We are too close to be blinded to our symbiosis.  We must refuse to be sidetracked from the great work at hand. We must strive to be more, to be better, to be ourselves with compassion and focus. With our drishti, our gaze or focus, set, we can once again walk towards liberation.

Yoga means union, people.

Let’s get together anywhere you can think of to move and breath and get in touch with that mysterious power that connects us to one another. Let us not be ashamed of ourselves and of those who are successful and have abundance. Let us stop focusing on all we think is twisted or wrong in the way others choose to live. Let us preach instead a message of reformation just as my homeboy, Jesus, did. Let us be reminded of the great access we have to the divine light within.

The enemy is not on K Street, the Hill, in a boardroom or at The White House. The enemy is not in the Middle East or in some field in Africa.  True there are many dark forces that walk in these places, but so called “Corporate Kumbaya” is not the problem.

Conquer the enemy of your heart first.

Be non-violent and compassionate and see where that leads—even if it is to a place on a mat next to thousands of others sponsored by Kashi and clothed in threads made by Lululemon.

Party On Garth!

With love,


P.S…In order to keep out of “noble poverty,” I would be happy to read you this post over the phone for $29.95 tax included.


*This post was originally published as “Corporate Kumbaya: The Destruction Of Yoga.”




Editor: Jessica DeLoy


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Shelley Adelle

Shelly Adelle is a entrepreneur, yoga teacher, spiritual enthusiast and experimental human with a passion for accessible yoga and energy work. Shelley brings joy to each class and encourages you to connect to the voice of the great teacher within! Shelley spent almost ten years in NYC where she studied with the top teachers in the industry including Shiva Rea, Dharma Mitra, Anna Forest, Jonathan Fields, Schuyler Grant and many others. An artist, life-coach, reiki practitioner, writer, blogger, friend, former military brat, farm girl from Texas, soap store goddess and actress check out more at ,, Email & Tweet Me: [email protected] @shelleyadelle. Be Blessed, Be Bold, Be Loved.

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anonymous Nov 21, 2012 1:45am

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anonymous Jul 5, 2012 9:10am

So many of the comments here are so smug and hateful. This is where your yoga has brought you? Ironic that "spiritual" discussions stir up so much vitriol…

anonymous Jul 5, 2012 5:24am

Jesus, what a coy, cold tone. Her cordiality could freeze beer. There's no difference between what this woman does and a high-end "massage therapist" who does "privates" from a lot of dough. Who cares? A boring snotty self-absorbed little rich girl is a borings notty self-absorbed little rich girl, asana or not. Yawn.

    anonymous Jul 5, 2012 7:23am

    Brilliant! Forgot that "other" possibility. Seems to run the gamut from engaging the reptilian brain (with yank-and-crank yoga) to invoke that all-important fight-or-flight response (but the subject [er, I mean "client"] is too subdued to either fight or flee) … all the way to possible "happy endings" … but either way, get 'em to beg for mercy and to then hand over the cash … (or || big fail || from the company's cookie jar) …

anonymous Jul 4, 2012 5:44pm

Great post, Shelley! I'm happy for anyone who can help people wake up and realize "spiritual practices" aren't in some holy, separate portion of your life. If you relegate things some things as "spiritual" and therefore "free" , then you shouldn't get paid to create that powerpoint presentation for your financial office either. Spiritual IS your life! There's no separation unless you make one. I love your point about "Yoga is not black or white".

And yes, "Conquer the enemy of your heart first." It's the place "problems" get created from.

Love to hear more, Shelley! Wish you lived near me!

anonymous Jul 4, 2012 1:01pm

[…] Does my six figure asana-induced income make you say, “Tisk tisk”? ~ Shelley Adelle […]

anonymous Jul 4, 2012 5:15am

FYI…people 'assume' Jesus died at 33…but some sources say 36!

The age of 35-36 is actually considered the turning point in respect to important and significant life changes.
This was the age when Siddhartha became Buddha… was also the age in which the Japanese writer got his start and became a great writer!

I am sure there are plenty other examples to site from.

anonymous Jul 3, 2012 10:04pm

[…] they finally open up, they tell me, “Yes, secretly since I was little, all I wanted to do was start a business or get rich,” yet what they learn from spiritual parents or spiritual people is that making money is bad. And […]

anonymous Jul 3, 2012 4:02pm

[…] advice is to do your research and discover what style of yoga asana speaks to you. If you are interested in learning about a variety of styles, find a yoga teacher training that […]

anonymous Jul 2, 2012 9:55pm

Great discussion! 33 is my age & signifies ones Jesus Year; also the number of comments which made me giggle.

Spiritual Enthusiast= On Fire For GOD

(pick one, to me they coexist)

Words I Love & Admire:

Client Focus





Critical Thinking & Inquiry (huge fan & participant)

I believe the “right and wise teacher” exists within

I believe the Babarazzi & I have a secret meeting on Friday

I believe one is not Enlightened by Yoga or Yoga Asana but that both are paths toward self realization

My website was down. A FLOOD of traffic. God warned me about that so I’ve been out on my boat ;0)

~Love Wins

    anonymous Jul 4, 2012 12:22am

    Have you made peace with your neighbor's dog? Love wins so, I hope you make it a priority to love the most mundane relationships. Yoga or #33 are not any more special than farting or #32. Keep on giggling and writing. It's a great fun to read as it is full of your special self.

anonymous Jul 1, 2012 11:35am

Great post Shelley. I don't necessarily agree with everything you say, but I do think you should say it – and loud. Because it's you — and it's real.

Women's Yoga in America is already a form of spiritual prostitution and commercial self-promotion. Frankly, it's upsetting to hear the yoga street-walkers who regularly advertise their services on the Internet sanctimoniously complain about a successful 5-star hotel "escort" — and her exclusive gentlemen clientele?

Really, for all the pretense at high-mindedness, it comes off as simple jealousy.

Get your own corporation? Plenty to choose from!

    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 5:08pm

    Come on, it's more like hired doms – all strap and strop, but no sex – of either gender (particularly young and feisty male upon male dom-sub) … still, I found it funny … you really meant Youths' Yoga in America … I will let your gender stereotyping slide … hey, maybe you got too caught up in Hilaria Thomas bagging Alec Baldwin and thought about "prostitution", as it were …

    LOL, anyway …

      anonymous Jul 1, 2012 9:35pm

      Vision you're a scream. "All strap and strop"…how very poetic! I stand corrected. :o))))

        anonymous Jul 2, 2012 4:55am

        I'm serious. It's already built into young people evolutionarily (if that's a word) to maim or demoralize their elders over 40; if not outright incapacitate them … what is more perfect than the built-in self-mortification of many styles of yoga? Even if taught to high rolling clients in private; although it's more perfect when they have a captive audience of teacher trainees in a class, half-subdued by a cleanse After a while, it becomes a perfect BDSM scenario.

        Hilaria has been using such angles on Alec Baldwin, with the constant, control-freak needling him on his diet.
        No, I will NOT stop. Eating is a God-given right!

          anonymous Jul 2, 2012 11:30am

          There's an other post on EJ in which the author suggests that Alec Baldwin "subdued" Hilaria with his money. Practically raped the poor girl.

          Are some people – women – this stupid and deluded about gender power dynamics — or do they just expect us to be?

          I wonder what color curtains Hilaria will choose in the Yoga Neverland Ranch she builds with Alec's millions? I hear there's an open lot that's currently serving as landfill in Encinitas, CA?

          If you told people this shit even a few years ago, even the cynics would have said, no, American yoga's bad, but not THAT bad.

          A lot of this stuff is the early signs of pop-culture implosion. There are usually a lot of suicides at the end of the Neon Road.

            anonymous Jul 2, 2012 6:35pm

            "Alec Baldwin "subdued" Hilaria with his money. Practically raped the poor girl."

            No, that does not happen with creative, accomplished men with money who go into vegetarian restaurants in New York City and emerge with a new girl friend.

            A poor, carnivorous man I would understand … kinda like the guys on "Girls" and whom I've known in my life … you know, AVERAGE experience …

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 5:11pm

Wow. Poor ol' Shelly, raked over the coals for defensiveness and worse. You could compliment her for using a bit of humor in the face of the relentless anti-corporation anti-money mindset you find here. You could respect her for her courage in entering this particular lion's den (or elephant's den) with her kind of thinking. But any implication that corporations and money can actually do some good in the world seems to let out the worst in the spiritual community.

Most people out there are simply not all that interested in a spiritual life. They'd rather make money, have enough food, provide for their kids, and live quietly without changing the world but doing a bit of unnoticed good in their immediate surroundings. I see Shelly standing up a bit for those people, a group that should but rarely does get some notice here.

I take that back, they DO get notice so long as they are dirt poor and in the third world, but as soon as they ride the coattails of the modern corporate system into the middle class, as half a billion have in the last couple of decades (two billion more in the next couple of decades according to corporate predictions), they seem to rise out of our range of compassion due to their evil pursuit of money.

Btw, y'all know why there's such a growth of spiritualism in the West and probably even in yourself? How 'bout this theory. It's because in the West we have taken advantage of the capitalist system to improve our physical lot and therefore have the leisure to improve our spiritual lot. And we have before us all the wonderful possibilities and alternatives that don't tend to exist when most people are just barely scraping by. Shelly is telling us that even those evil company execs might have a bit of interest in spiritual improvement. Sounds good to me.

And look for an explosion in spiritual pursuits in the former third world. The second and third generations of well-off people will have the leisure to pursue such things.

    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 11:01pm

    oh, yeah…poor ol' rich people, they never get the recognition they deserve. kinda like white people, and ummm, men. All those non-white poor women get all the attention…and for no good reason…. (hows that for humor?) since we live in a world of privilege we should shut our mouths and tow the line?

    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 3:37am


    I agree with this evaluation.

    I do find the post aggressive and defensive (needlessly so) and did not find the tone enjoyable.

    Like this author, I run a business that is quite ethical, provides a much wanted/needed service (to both my fellow practitioners and to our clients), and I make a healthy income (and develop my business in order to provide more income via passive income streams that help provide incomes for other people).

    But, this defensiveness is not how I would assert my own position. I did write several articles on The Yoga Lunchbox ( called The Yoga of Business. In it, I describe how business can be a spiritual discipline, and that when taken as such, it actually creates a situation where everyone wins.

    But in order for that to be a reality, a person needs to know their values, and needs to take on the path of running a business. And that is different than simple "teaching yoga" (or painting, or massage, or whatever). It's not simply what is happening in the classroom when you teach, or what prepares you to teach (yu know, practicing, designing sequences, whatever), it's the "everything else" about how you meet, reach, and retain the client that is the first aspect of business.

    And when yoga teachers stop taking a "me focus" and start taking a client focus, everything shifts. Suddenly, it's business. And suddenly, they're making money too.

    And I know this because I was a royal flakey me-focused yoga teacher for years. And the moment I got my head out of my backside and looked around, success was staring me in the face (thankfully with a wash cloth and soap).

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 5:01pm


anonymous Jun 30, 2012 4:34pm

The problem I see with the current crop of "superstar" yoga teachers is that they do not have, IMO, the knowledge or skills to justify the money they pull in. So, instead they resort to marketing to make up for what they lack in the teaching arena. Here's hoping they invest the money in good 401ks because they are riding the current popular yoga fad. And like all fads, this one too will disappear. One day all the rich white women will find other $10,000 retreats to attend.

BTW, I would love to see a yoga teacher with real skills make huge amounts of money.

As for me, I will still be attending classes at my local Iyengar yoga center , taught by highly trained and knowledgeable instructors, long after fad yoga and these fad yoga superstars have bitten the dust.

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 12:01pm

this seems like a rather aggressive rationalization. The problem with making excessive amounts of money has nothing to do with Yoga or your practice, it has to do with balance and equality in the world (which is related, but not limited to). You have aimed your argument at the least reasonable objections possible in order to rant about how you deserve to make ridiculous amounts of money and support "pesky" corporations (pesky? really? I think we have moved beyond pesky- try destructive, unethical, self-centered). This is an excellent example of someone hiding behind the screen of "I am enlightened because I do Yoga" and not actually examining the deeper implications that come with embracing compassion, sacrifice, and awareness. No I do not support Walmart because it opens a Yoga studio in my town, because i try to look at the greater context beyond my own personal gain… This article is a rather obvious attempt to ignore the greater context in order to feel better about prioritizing personal gain, which to me seems distinctly un-Yogic.

    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 5:36pm

    Rape pillage and plunder economies … then do private session yoga afterward. Breathe in, breathe out. All better now.

    Sounds like the same actions taken by the fictional Tony Soprano hiring hit-man lieutenants and then needing babysitting by his shrink.

    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 3:25am

    I think a lot of this is assumptive.

    While I wouldn't say I "prioritize personal gain" I do recognize that personal gain is a part of this equation for me.

    I've created a business model that I feel is equitable — it allows people to utilize our marketing and space (via paying rent) and they then take in the income directly from the client. It's a win-win. My long-range plan is to franchise this business, and I'm moving gently into a licensing process with one aspect of my business over the next 6 months. This is really to help set up teachers for an easier "turn key" business opportunity that can allow them to earn more income than simply working a bunch of classes at gyms/studios (independent contractors).

    Thus, everyone can make more income.

    In the process, the investment in creating these things — creating the offices, the branding, the business model, working out the kinks of it, running the ins and out, paying for all of the legal documentation and relevant information in that regard (which, btw, is expensive), plus now designing a curriculum that will be utilized with the licensing agreement and then training those people — all of these things are time/money expenses that I am carrying.

    Should I not be fairly compensated for the work that I do?

    And, since I make it very possible for other people to be compensated for the work they do (a yoga teacher 'rents' their hour from us, bringing in the income. If the teacher has 10 people in class, they earn $65. If they have 20 people in class, it's $130. Any yoga studios or gyms these days offering that kind of pay scale?), wouldn't it only be fair for me to be compensated for the extra effort that I do beyond what they do?

    That is to say. They rent the space from me for an hour, and get students. I pay rent on the space. I keep the space clean. I purchased and provided the props. I provide the marketing — branding, flyers, web site, blog, etc etc etc . . .I ask them to help, but do not demand it of anyone. I provide professional development *for free* to the tune of a 10-hr day for me, plus the time preparing for it.

    At some level, should I really not be compensated for doing the work that supports thie work of others? How is it inequitable that I am compensated?

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 8:21am

Rock on Donna Quixote! Let me know how you fair against all those fun windmills you set up.

I know that I've always found it much easier to tangle with my imaginary enemies in uncritical, reactionary diatribes than to sit down and actually think critically and introspectively with them or anyone else. I mean, really, if this is the best the corporate/commercialization of yoga camp has to offer, I'll stick with the Babbarazzi and their refined culturally based satirical critique.

On the other hand, maybe this is just some lame attempt to be edgy so as to initiate debate. Of course, for a debate to happen it's usually helpful to have people willing to explain themselves rather than immediately launching into a defense, but perhaps this is because deep down you know there is something inherently askew with your orientation.

Interesting also that you are mysteriously absent from the "community discussion" here on your own article.

    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 4:46pm

    Me too. My best arguments are always made against people who do not exist. I can critically bitch slap non-existent people all day long.

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:57am

and clicking on your website to find out about whom you are so I can book you for an expensive private- 404 error.. the website you are looking fo cannot be found.

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:55am

I agre with Carol Horton and poepp.
" gressively defensive"
I will up you<'obnoxiouslyly chalenging"

" stop beating each other down"? that had to start before this article.
" Yoga means .. union ( in parenthesis) PEOPLE!!!" why are you makign this little jobslam.. PEOPLE?

I 'get it' that by being published you will get mor ehits and make moe money. Why do so backhanding many? No point. We know many yoga people make lots of money- Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee.. stars, and yes people wor as physical therapists and yes, they do corporate. So what?

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:41am

I have no problems with your article and point of view. You deal in knowledge and in America knowledge is not highly valued, but money is. Consequently the money you require to teach yoga will always be considered much more valuable than the Yoga knowledge you impart. Corporations that hire you are providing a great service to their employees and therefore you need to be operating according to their rules. It requires time and money to acquire knowledge, to open and run health clubs, Yoga studios, etc. I consider the fees I pay for personal training, Yoga studio membership, gym membership to be dana.

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 6:41am

My neighbor's dog was barking constantly also, so I decided to talk to her. She apologized and has since kept the dog outside for very short periods of time. Sometimes I think yoga and other practices can subtly teach us to avoid our feelings and cover them up with poses and mantras, which doesn't serve the world as much as just being true would. I believe that right action is honesty and acting from that, in a kind and compassionate way. The world doesn't need more denial, no matter how it looks.

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 5:55am

I have no time for apologists anymore.
Not corporate.
No six figure income
Not a future client to a Corporate-Wellness-Consultant-Cum -Babysitter
Just struggling to get by
This is probably why there has been OWS

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 3:34am

I am glad to see this, and did not get the sense the author was trying to stifle debate, though given the spiky tone and the '"heal thyself" imperative (which I don't think is necessary to teach or to express an opinion), I understand how it was read that way.

I read little honesty in the "critiques" of the studio world, particularly where the authors would likely not have a practice let alone a teacher without the commercialization, branding, events and so forth. The critiques seem to predicate themselves on ideas about the sanctity of yoga, that yoga is postures (using 'yoga' and 'yoga studio class' interchangeably, only to complain about the dilution of the term), that people attending a yoga class are looking for being=-consciousness=bliss, and the repercussions of choosing to not brand yourself are required to be "genuine" – somehow trying to keep yoga an ascetic and non-public practice. I also read undertones of contempt for complacently and lack of activism, and I can understand this (did the yoga blogs even notice Rio, even for the expected wash that it was?), yet combing an inward looking practice (with all its chaos) with activism (often intentionally chaotic) looks to me like a religious movement, something few are really prepared to give themselves to, and of course a turn-off to those just wanting an inward practice, which is I think why yoga is increasing popular, more than becoming fit, attractive or heavenly.

There is always a better way of course, something better to do or way to spend money, but I see people who are giving tools for the inward process, be it/they shallow or deep, as farmers (sloppy or careful, but farmers) clearing the field, not that they can make anything grow but help set the conditions for growth.

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 12:42am

I could pick my nose all day and call it yoga. Who cares? I might even find some transcendence. I don't think any real yogi cares how much money another yogi makes. And a real yogi also doesn't care what other people think about how much money he or she makes. Just be humble, realizing that the more you know, the more you have to learn. Then nobody will think you are an asshole.

PS I love you.

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 11:43pm

Perhaps there is a better and more yogic way of dealing with your neighbor's dog than either murdering or fleeing to Wanderlust? I don't buy this idea that if you just show up on the mat and practice all would be well. It is crucial to practice skillfully and for that you do need the right and wise teacher. I highly doubt the sincerity and effectiveness of teachers who are promoting that more is better. Middle Path has nothing to do with material gain or material abundance but it has everything to do with wholesome view, right livelihood and mindfulness or direct perception of one's own habitual patterns or samsara/samskara. Promoting the business as usual (bigger and more) is not going to transform anyone's life.

There can be no causal connection between practice and wisdom. But the obstacles to wisdom are deeply affected by practice." – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 10:52pm

Why is the author asking the reader so many questions? The article feels like 1/2 preaching & 1/2 questioning… and what is a Spiritual Enthusiast and a Experimental Human?? What a strange choice of words to describe oneself.

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 10:20pm

This post strikes me as aggressively defensive and an attempt to shut down legitimate inquiry and discussion because it makes the author uncomfortable.

It's important to ask serious questions about whether what's been happening in elite financial and corporate circles in this country has been good for society or not – and, if you happen to be involved in yoga, what it might mean to profit off teaching there.

There's absolutely no reason that labeling something "yoga" should automatically disconnect you from important questions that everyone should be engaged with regardless of their line of work. On the contrary, I would hope that the practice would encourage reflection, learning, and discernment.

However, without that intent and work to link your practice to those ends, it won't happen. Similarly, teaching and/or learning asana will not automatically generate nothing but positive results. We have ample evidence to show that one can practice for years and still be a master exploiter and manipulator – there is no magical absolution accorded through doing Sun Salutations or whatever.

I don't care how much money you make. I care about what your ethical and social commitments are, the level of intelligent reflection and learning they embody, and how you harness your practice toward living them in the world.

Bob Weisenberg Jun 29, 2012 8:22pm

Welcome to elephant, Shelly. Let me see, the last person I can remember who had the audacity to defend capitalism in Yoga was…well, it was me, almost two years ago:

Capitalism is Good for Yoga (Rebuttal: “Sex, Lies and Yoga”)


Bob W. Associate Publisher
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Yoga Demystified, Gita in a Nutshell

    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:49am

    oh, or John Fiend

    anonymous Jul 3, 2012 4:30pm

    Looking forward to connecting and sharing in space-

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:28pm

I am a firm believer that when it comes to Buddhism, the dharma must be free.

That said, I think it depends on how the instructor presents their yoga class.

If its offered up as stretching with some new agey music thrown in for good measure, then charge anything you'd like.

But if it is presented as a path towards enlightenment or a practice that will lead to less suffering, then I'd say it should be offered to anyone free of charge with donations graciously accepted.

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 6:02pm

    But the student has to prove worthiness. You know how complicated that could get. You don't even want to go there.

    Oh, I forgot the teachers also sometimes act like they could choose which students to take on, too–despite the exchange of worldly emoluments. That's okay by me, the market ferrets out those kinds of teachers out after a while, those pretending they are mountain-dwelling gurus …

    anonymous Jul 5, 2012 11:42pm

    Agreed. Dana (dontation) is a key part of The Path.

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 2:55pm

Shakespeare once said something about the lady protesting too much.

anonymous Jul 1, 2012 11:24am

right on, thanks