Charging for Yoga Classes: Greed or Good Practice?

This was in response to a post on the kundalini yoga teacher’s forum, subject: knowledge should be free. The gist was that this person thought it was hypocritical to charge for passing on spiritual teachings. The following is a response.accepting money for yoga classes

Many people believe that spiritual knowledge should be free. In many ways it is, but living in a world of duality, one has to give in order to get. That is also in accordance with karmic law. Karma is simply cause and effect, which was proven scientifically by Newton in his third law–“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” As far as charging for this knowledge, the waters get muddy here in the west, in our modern capitalist system.

In the past, spiritual tradition was typically handed down from Master to Student at great physical cost. A new Chela, or student, wishing to find a master and learn the spiritual path would travel arduously up into the Himalayan mountains and once he found the master, would then work for that master for several years or more until accepted. That is if the master accepted him in the first place and allowed him to work. After this tremendous expression of commitment, the student would then get one kriya to practice and master. In that context, if you stop to think about the volume of technology Yogi Bhajan passed on in such a short time, it’s mind boggling.

Now– there is also a spiritual law “Itarashtam tithar kashtam,” which basically states “empty handed you come, empty handed you go.” If you don’t give something in exchange for the teachings, then as soon as you leave the class the whole thing will leave you. Says Yogi Bhajan: “This principle of Itarashtam tithar kashtam cannot be sacrificed or the student leaves the class without having received any benefit.”

Along with the principle of tithing, giving in exchange for the grace of these teachings is an honor and an act of gratitude. Oftentimes it’s hard to swallow “charging” for yoga classes or the western methods of marketing applied to a spiritual practice but this is another way in which the whole world will realize that “It’s all good… It’s all god”

As Wayne Dyer says in The Power of Intention, “You cannot get sick enough to heal one person on this planet, you cannot get poor enough to make one person wealthy on this planet, and you cannot get confused enough to un-confuse one person on this planet. No amount of you feeling bad will help others because you are losing your connection to source.” A yoga teacher who can’t teach classes because they have no money serves no one at all.

The only limits to abundance are in the mind. I would say that there is definitely a lot of greed in the world and it’s disgusting. How would you be able to stand up or keep up against such a dark force as greed without living abundantly and making oneself as bountiful and blissful not to mention as strong as humanly possible? There’s no spiritual crime in being in the world with all its apparent faults. In fact, that’s the only true path of a spiritual teacher is to be engaged in the world so that all whom you come into contact with are uplifted. Remember, you don’t fight against darkness, you keep adding more of your light. Being your absolute best is what truly uplifts the world. If you shine a light on a shadow, the darkness disappears.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Thoughts of “Spirituality VERSUS Money” rather than “Spirituality AND Money” come because of wrong teachings that have been going around for centuries. These ideas are perpetrated in order for the so called “chosen” teachers to excert control over the masses.

    Everything in this universe including thoughts of spirituality and of money come from one single source–God/Brahman/Pure consciousness/whatever the name one may want to give it. When this is the case, how can money and spirit be at odds with each other? They are not in opposition to each other, except in our minds. Even a spiritual teacher (if that is his chosen life’s purpose) needs to make a living. As long as that living is earned in gratitude and not in greed, then spirituality and money are not in opposition.

    This is why the Hindu deities are represented wearing gold. Gold is considered to be made up of high vibratory spiritual substance. Also, Goddess Lakshmi is the ruling deity of abundance (health + wealth + prosperity).


  2. Maybe if the teacher was given a gift of m&m’s?

  3. If something is offered for nothing it is not as well appreciated. The give and take of everything in life is what makes
    the world go round. It would be wonderful if the barter system was well in place but unfortunately it does not work
    so well in our modern society.

    Money is not an issue in my yoga class; it pays the rent for the studio with some left over to reinvest in trainings,
    supplies and hopefully to pay some bills.

    Lastly, yoga and other spiritual disciplines need not be a profession of poverty of greed, simply a way to connect with
    ourselves, each other and the universe.

  4. Money and spirituality are quite opposite things. A true spiritual leader doesn’t care about material things. His aim is to save his disciples.

    As for disciples, donation is the first and foremost practice for them as it enables them to get good karma from their master and advance their practice smoothly and fast. Thus, there should be no fee for spiritual classes. However, if practitioners want to advance quickly they should donate to a spiritual leader.

  5. @yogi Sun13
    Money and spirituality are exactly the same things. Money is a medium for an exchange and that’s exactly what happens in a teaching relationship. The only question is sincerity. We have a unique situation in the west– teaching in a market society. There’s not a thing wrong with the “yoga business.” It simply makes true teachers all the more rare. “Caveat Emptor.”

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