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Teaching Yoga: Free Yourself from Money Guilt
I remember early in my career as a yoga teacher, and someone pointed out that I always seemed to have new yoga pants and that I must be doing “pretty good” as a yoga teacher. I’m sure they meant it as a compliment, but my insides went dark. I felt shame. Even though I knew I’d actually gotten “paid in clothing” for a photoshoot and that my wardrobe was the opposite of making money, I was still embarrassed.
I was trapped in the money-guilt mindset that so many yoga teachers suffer from. Many of us decided to be yoga teachers because we felt called to share yoga. We truly do it to serve our students. With this approach—of being in service—it becomes difficult for us to charge money. We are in conflict.
Furthermore, when we start to experience success, we often don’t wear it the way other professionals do. We feel shame or embarrassment at being financially successful because we worry it reflects poorly on our commitment to serve. Add to all of this the history of yogis who didn’t ask for financial compensation at all and our money guilt doubles.
Be a Guilt-Free Yoga Teacher
You need to let that go! First of all, those yogis were taken care of. They were given food, clothing, and a place to live.
They didn’t have heating bills or need bus passes to get to work or face premium prices for fair trade, organic food. Times have changed. This is a different culture. We are not ancient yogis.
Second, being in service doesn’t have to mean we feel like we are in servitude. For us to serve our students best, we need to be teaching from a good place. By that, I mean, we need to feel inspired, joyful, and rested. If we’re struggling to make ends meet, stressed out and working our pants off, we’re burnt out! And our teaching suffers. So, taking care of ourselves is part of our service, and making enough money is part of that balance.
3 Steps to Freeing Yourself from Guilt
The first step is awakening ourselves to this reality and accepting that making money does not make us “unyogic.” Living in abundance is not the same as failing at aparigraha (non-greed).
The next step is to identify when this money-guilt crops up (like when I still felt a need to justify to you earlier in this blog why I had new clothes).
From there, it’s all about letting it go. We need to release ourselves from this notion that we don’t deserve to make a good living. We need to reject the perception that we are somehow not “in service” when we do. And, we need to shift our mindset to abundance (including our abundance) instead of living under the weight of money guilt.
It’s going to be work. It’s going to take time. Here is a simple mantra for moving out of the money-guilt mindset and accepting abundance freely. This mantra channels the popular elephant god Ganesha and his power to remove obstacles and cultivate abundance: Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namah.
Here's another article from special contributor, Charlotte Bell, editor at YogaUOnline-Living Gracefully with the Financial Challenges of Teaching Yoga.
Yoga for Chronic Pain: Yogic Keys for Relieving, Managing, and Eliminating Persistent Pain Issues.-A course from YogaUOnline and Yoga Therapist, Susi Hately.
Reprinted with permission from yogateacherprep.com.
Laura Martini E-RYT 500 has been practicing yoga for over 12 years, teaching for 9 and also leads yoga teacher training programs. She’s built a thriving business teaching at a variety of Kelowna-based studios, serving private clients in her home studio and leading unique yoga retreat experiences all over the world (which always sell out). Her success as a freelance instructor, retreat leader, and business owner is something she is passionate about sharing.
Creating Yoga Teacher Prep was all about providing the support she sorely missed when she went through the process of becoming a teacher and that she still sees new teachers struggling with today. Believing that everyone who is considering yoga teacher training has something to contribute and wanting to help them on their journey is a powerful motivator for her.