“You’re just about the money!”
There is a unique tension in the world of yoga around money.
Or better said, there is a unique tension in the minds of those of us who teach and practice yoga.
According to a 2016 Yoga Alliance report, yoga is a $16.8 billion dollar industry in the United States alone—so someone is making money.
But why are we all so afraid of money?
Perhaps we have not taken the teachings of yoga all the way through to our bank accounts.
We still see money as something that is not spiritual. We view it as a dirty, nasty, and often stressful aspect of mundane life—as if there is such a thing as a mundane life.
We resent spending it, we pray for more of it, and we fear losing it.
I have dealt with my own tension around money and spirit. I have felt ashamed of my success, played it down, and hid in the shadows.
I’ve also parked my luxury car down the street from my studio, so no one would think of me as a money-grubbing douche bag.
I’ve feared the Lululemon-wearing lynch mob who will pay $150 for yoga pants, but then crucify a teacher for charging more than peanuts for a life changing transformation.
I’ve also been dirt poor. Friends, eating macaroni for a week is not a spiritual experience.
So is Laksmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity wrong?
We have the belief that some things are “good” and some things are “bad,” and unfortunately, money falls into the latter.
Perhaps we’re fueled by a religious hangover that says “money is the root of all evil,” when actually the quote is “the love of money is the root of all evil“—which really means greed, hording, manipulation, and lack of money is the root of evil.
This false notion also creates false beliefs blocking our success:
It is good to give, but bad to receive.
It is good to struggle, but bad to succeed.
It is good to help others, but bad to prosper in doing so.
This leads to a repeated cycle of poverty, not only in our bank account, but in our spirit.
Our communities should be brimming with fulfilled, purpose-driven, and intentional people who are living the full expression of divinity—with ease, grace, abundance, and generosity.
Laksmi, with her golden coins, is in almost every yoga studio in the world. Yet, few yogis have embraced the truth that she is a representation of the wealth within. Let me repeat that: the wealth within.
Yoga teachers who continue to devalue their offerings, and refuse to learn business skills or clean up their money mojo, are perpetuating a story of struggle to millions of students—and may even burnout, give up, and go back to a regular J-O-B.
Students, in turn, project their unresolved worthiness issues and fear around money back onto teachers and studios when they dicker about pricing, evaluate teachers based on cost, and generally devalue themselves and the tradition by looking for a bargain.
I’m not saying don’t get good value for your money, but too many times the fear of money is what’s making the decision, instead of truth.
Because the truth is that everything is spirit.
It all comes from the marrow of the Great Mother. We are settling for a half-lived life, and a false spiritual path if we believe anything else.
Money is the tool for you to offer your service to the world, and for you to receive transformation. We don’t exchange beads and bannock anymore. We don’t wash our guru’s gitch for 20 years to receive the Truth—we offer our Amex card.
Think yoga studios can keep their doors open on mantras, yantras, and goodwill? Nope.
Money is what buys your food, powers your lights, puts gas in your car, and allows you to go to the next Costa Rican yoga retreat.
Be grateful for it.
As a yoga community, it’s time to grow up and be in honor of money.
We either embrace, embody, and align to money—or we continue to play the spiritual wannabe who has all the right kind of incense, but no real integrity.
We either see that we are addicted to being “the martyr” and continue to use that we are “helping people” to bolster our own egos, or we do the deep work to heal our fears about success, self-worth, and shamelessness—and then we rock the heck out of all of it.
And before you freak out—no, it’s not just about the money. But money is the tool for us to experience beauty, ease, grace, generosity, and divine living, as we offer our soul service.
Even Mother Theresa is reported to have said: “It takes a checkbook to change the world.”