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Ida Burroughs

I have been teaching yoga for five years now. It was always my intention to find a way to offer my yogic expertise to some group, but I had wanted to waiit until I felt 'successful', that is, I had a few full classes that I could count on to be well-attended. When I teach classes, the people who attend are usually happy with my teaching, but often they don't continue, and I am left again with a small group. Lately, I have been considering offering to give some of my knowledge for free to a local hospital, hoping to al least help somebody with what I know. These articles were timely and right on the mark for me. Thank you.


thank you for this article!
we have a yogastudio that normally charges 15$ per class for a single lesson.
when we put charity classes together last year to get money together for an inner-city kindergarten, almost no one showed up. from the three to six people that came, one or two did not donate anything at all (mostly the people loaded with money). and we did not schedule these classes in addition but put them into the normal studio class schedule with the regular teacher for that class. all the other classes were packed!
students truly thought that there was a string attached to the charity classes..


Thank you for this thoughtful article to which I'd like to add another aspect.

I am retired in the sense that there is no need for me to work for money as I have ample resource of my own. But I am not retired in the sense that I do like to play a useful part in society applying my skills and expertise.

Most people in my position would reach for purely voluntary work. But as a yoga teacher and therapist, I do like to share my knowledge experience and healing ability with others. Why not then offer services for free ?

As a professionally trained person, the idea of not charging and thereby 'undercutting' the ability of equally qualified people to charge at market rate is anathema to me. Also, I subscribe to the view that money is energy AND that it is part and parcel of the value system in western society. To not charge gives the impression of 'cheapness', something not quite worthwhile. Yoga not worthwhile ?!!!

The conundrum was resolved by 'charging' classes at the going rate with proceeds going to charity. So the charge is a donation and it is refered to as such. At the start, everyone was invited to nominate a charity and after a trial period in which charities rotated, we as a group 'adopted' a charity. We find that this gives us more focus, increasing the sense of community within the group and creating a regular bond with the world outside the yoga room. Students get to know of the charity's activities through its newsletter.

Besides the classes, I do some one-on-one therapy work. Clients are asked for a discretionary donation. As most people cannot afford to pay the going rate and would not seek the services of a colleague, there is no question of undercutting the market. However, If a person can pay the going rate, then I do suggest that as the level of the donation. These donations go to the same charity. My experience is that clients find the charitable aspect so worthwhile that they give generously within their means. They too get a copy of the charity's newsletter.

The result is that everyone is winning. Class students and clients love the fact that they are contributing to a wider goal by practising yoga. It makes their commitment more worthwhile and it takes away the idea that yoga is a 'selfish' activity. Plus we do this as a group, creating a whole new dynamic. The charity is very happy with the regular donation and recently invited us to come and visit some of its projects. As for myself, I am very happy to be practising, guiltless towards myself and my colleagues and content with the positive contribution made to individuals and society. It adds up to a healing experience for all. The practical expressions of yoga's philosophy are too numerous to mention !

Aisha Mawasi

I did enjoy this made me smile all over my face...and the comments. I teach Yoga in Trinidad and Tobago. My teacher who was a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda taught Yoga for free. I have been teaching for over twenty years and have never charged. Now retired, I have a few students who come to my home in a small area.
I have never felt comfortable with actually charging money for yoga classes...we were taught 'freely you receive, freely give'.
More recently, at my gym one morning a week, I do some work with a few of the interested ladies. It is rewarding.
Of course, in a different setting(rent, electricity, music etc....)I would have no option but to institute some sort of fee.
Thank you all for your wonderful work.
Namaste....God Bless.

Helen Lloyd Jones

I have always believed that Yoga teaching should be given freely. In our club we set up a donation system where people were free to give what they could afford. I can not remember a single occasion when a student did not leave a donation.

However regretably there are many people who believe the more money you pay, the better the teaching you receive. In Yoga, this is very often not true as the more genuine Yoga teachers want to make Yoga available to everybody.

Interestingly I have coached for nothing in another subject, knowing I was helping youngsters. Amazingly the family I helped most later tried to make my life hell. I often wonder whether they would have treated me so disrespectfully had I made them pay the full market value for my time.

Do not undervalue your worth, where people can afford to pay let them pay, help those who are genuine but can not afford to pay by giving them ways of helping you. I still have a money tree, a plant given to me by a youngster I was coaching who ran out of money so I continued to coach her. She told me whenever you give a money tree to a person who has been kind to you, they will always prosper.

Everytime I see that tree I think of her and I have made many cuttings and given them away, telling people what she said, creating a chain of kindness. Karma yoga in action!

ac p brc

The title of the article does not comply to the approach described by the Ananda Marga monk. It seems that his perspective indicates that, in terms of benefits, one will get what one invests in the practice o fyoga. If one believes the only way to get benefit through yoga is by paying lots of money for it, than one will depend on the money to become a yogi, whereas Dada has expressed that yoga is a right of all, and so there are no economic or material restrictions for one to learn it. In that case it seems that the price paid is intrinsic dedication, and perhaps adherence to some principles of life. SO one will give to yoga according to one's own desire for it, whereas in the commercial way presented, the measure of your desire is set, homogeneous, not related to each individual's uniqueness.
Probably the goal and the benefits of the systems presented also differ. In one side the price is material and so the benefit must also be material (such as body shaping, better physical health, etc), whereas the other approach indicates that the goal of yoga is not a material gratification or outcome, even though the benefits may come, as secondary as the price paid for those benefits. In this case the goal is clearly spiritual oriented.

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