Thanks to Molly Birkholm, and the powerful Womens Empowerment Initiative, the last months I have come to realise that I have had, for decades now, a scarcity mindset. This is rampant in the Yoga community as we emulate austerity and detachment.
Many great teachers have professed that to become enlightened we need to practice austerity. And we do. That the practice of Yoga confers all boons. And it does. The boons of being content with what is. The boon of self-awareness, integrity, empathy, deep connection and relation. And a knowing that all in the material world is ephemeral, and therefore as long as we look at the big picture, we cannot be without or truly suffer. These are infinite gifts, and we will eternally benefit from them. Abundance is.
But these beautiful insights and wisdoms are wonderful when we live in an ashram and have all provided for us. Or when there is a network supporting our spiritual mission for involution and transcendence, to benefit the greather good of humanity.
But when we are living in this world of today, needing to look after those in our care, pay bills, put food on the table, offer services that will sustain, not only us, but the world at large, these wonderful gifts of transcendence help give us perspective and find our place. Yet they do not provide us with the material substances we need.
So how do we find balance between needing to practice austerity for nourishing our mind and soul, and our right to abundance to nourish our body and emotions?
When I look at the reality of the world we now live in, I realise that we need to value our presence as Yoga teachers. And here I mean Yoga with a capital Y, not the yoga of asana and breathing. Our gift and service to others and our ablity to uplift the world by increasing the level of consciousness of the world’s inhabitants, is not a small gift.
Sure as Yoga teachers, we are only holding our students hands and leading them to their own inner wisdom, conscience, willpower and unfolding of self-awareness. But these are great gifts in a world where we are all running ourselves into the ground for things that won’t even make us joyous. And this ignorance of not knowing where our true happiness lies, and sustains the Rat Race, is relieved through true Yoga practice.
Now how can we charge money for that which has given us so much? How can we place a price on something that is priceless and available to all? Was my thinking for the past 10 years.
‘Business of Yoga! Hah! Ridiculous, I thought. I am not illiterate in finance. I am frugal, have no desires for things, I can save great! Yes I am not a great generator of money, because Yoga is free, it is All, and everywhere. But due to my expertise in the practice, my passion and love for it, money will come to me. People will be transformed, and they will give from their own appreciation’.
Well as you can see there was a huge gap between my expertise and skill and the way I was going to be paid for it.
This lack of value I placed on my part in the play, created a scarcity mentality, which became a life of scarcity. Not only in my life circumstances, but it affected how I began to see everything. Whereas before these ideals were symbols of freedom and detachment, I now felt imprisoned by them. I could’t land, I couldn’t accumulate or allow myself to succeed. As these would lead me to a materialistic life, a life of commitment and responsibility was what part of my spiritual practice had become.
This idealism actually fed a lack of self worth in the end. I brought this about by not having a good relationship with money and success. As Ashley Turner, Yoga teacher and psychotherapist, so poignantly pointed out, Self-Worth is knowing your worth in money by tuning into your inner radiance, aligning with all you have learned in your life, all your development, and from there you know what price feels right for what you have to offer. This is very different from placing a price tag on your passion.
So I didn’t have financial literacy, as Robert T. Kiyosaki says, in the end. It has caused me to underpay myself and portray my service, my skills, and my profession as not valuable. All my colleagues in this profession, and all my students who profited and weren’t granted the possibility to sustain me and therefore their further education, as not valuable! It was the reason the Yoga schools I set up in different countries didn’t make it. I couldn’t get past money = a capitalistic world. I couldn’t set up a sustainable business model for a passion, a vocation I wanted to share and offer.
And I am sorry to All of You who missed out because of this lack of understanding. And this is why it is vital that we as Yoga teachers, educate ourselves not just in the Yoga tools, mind layers, emotional movement or anatomy, but to create success for ourselves and those who benefit from our work, to find a sustainable model of operation. So we can be changemakers, build strong businesses that can actually have an impact not just on our bank accounts and students consciousness, but also our communities and economies by sending money into places that create social investment and improvement, for a world that is ‘me and you’, rather than ‘me or you’.
That is true Yoga 😉
So I learn from my mistakes and continue to educate myself in the realm of Yoga, Ayurveda, mind-body therapy, mind and psychology, and now also money, success and business. They are part of life and as such a part of Yoga. I have come to terms and swallowed the frog, as a business teacher once told me. I completely disagreed with him then. I was certain that I was exempt from needing to turn my passion and deep love for Yoga into a business. The money would come, due to my Mani, my shining jewel of passion and knowledge of the science of Yoga.
Now I realise I would have learned a lot more in the business course if my mind was free from my biases. Seeing money, business and success, as life flowing its material abundance through my life.
So I dived into the realm of money, abundance and prosperity.
These are our natural birthright. These are the states we all long for. We inherently know these essential qualities are our true nature.
So I have delved into many books to remedy this enormous gap between my Abundance and my Austerities. Taking the steps to create a bridge between the two, to strengthen one and enhance the other, connecting both.
This is Yoga.
If you too feel this immense gap as palpable here is some recommended reading:
The Soul of Money by Lynn Twist
Dare to Prosper by Catherine Ponder
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Power of Intention by Dr Wayne W. Dyer
Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
The Resilient Power of Purpose by Larry DiAngi
May we all be prosperous, live in abundance and take the steps to create a world that will sustain us All in a harmonous way with all living things.