What is the measurement of a successful Yoga teacher? Should a Yoga teacher take money for classes? How do you define success for a Yoga teacher? Is it your contribution to the common good? Is it by producing successful teachers? Is it by technical prowess? Is it by how many students you have? Or, is it a combination of these factors?
First things first: Are you “selling Yoga?” If you accept a fee for teaching Yoga, no matter how small or large, you are selling Yoga. If you do not like my frank approach to this issue, then teach Yoga for free. This is not a problem, and that is good Karma Yoga.
However, do not open next to a commercially aggressive Yoga studio or ashram. If you decide to do this, you will see your finances “crash and burn” – while your students flock to the wealthy Guru down the street. Yoga students often think that free Yoga is “junk.”
Once upon a time, I taught free Yoga too. It is not easy to explain a passion to your family, which drains your finances and challenges the quality of your life on a daily basis. If you keep teaching Yoga for free, you will lose a lot of sleep, before you live on the street, with the homeless, or finally, start charging for Yoga lessons.
It is amusing when very wealthy Yoga Gurus claim Yoga is not for making money. My answer: “Excuse me, how did you acquire all that wealth?” Why would a rich Yoga Guru lead anyone to think that taking a payment for teaching Yoga is wrong?
This is why some people appreciate Bikram Choudry’s candid remarks. He says what he thinks and makes no secret about living a life of luxury, due to teaching Yoga. At least, he is honest about his belief system.
Therefore, if you accept payments from your students, be honest with yourself. You can always use the money to help others, but you need to pay your overhead costs, eat, and sleep with a roof over your head, first.
If you still feel bad about taking money for teaching Yoga, please open a studio down the street from my location. We will regularly donate toward your meals at the local soup kitchens. Your giving heart is in the right place, but people without money are often hungry and homeless. I hope you clearly see my point. So, please do not listen to anyone who tells you that taking money for teaching Yoga is wrong.
Whether a Yoga teacher is rich or poor, a successful Yoga teacher does not worry about money – the universe will supply it.
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