philosophy of abundanceBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

What is the philosophy of abundance? Is abundance just a disguised word for “money?” Can money be used for a good cause? Do you wonder why some Master Yoga Teachers, Gurus, and Swamis frown on the idea of Yoga teachers “talking up” the concept of practicing Yoga for abundance? The reason is quite simple: Most people think of material wealth first. Why? This is an example of survival instinct, and money is a part of survival; but there are many more types of abundance for Yoga students to learn beside money. Physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional abundance are worthy of note, but the desire for a better life, by acquiring material wealth, is hard to put out of your mind. Let’s look at each aspect of abundance from a Hatha Yoga student’s point of view.

Forms of Wealth

Firstly, please remember that wealth is not always material. Physical abundance could be seen as physical prowess. This is why Hatha Yoga has become so popular outside of India. When a new student becomes proficient in Hatha Yoga, he or she feels better almost immediately; sometimes to the point of ego bolstering and this is not a direction for Yoga teaching to take. The physical senses are our most primal and can be realized without any difficulty. Your friends, family, and coworkers may even notice the changes that are happening to your body due to Hatha Yoga practice. When teaching Hatha Yoga classes, remind your students to keep their ego in place. Mental abundance can easily be seen as intelligence. However, a person’s intelligence cannot be demonstrated, unless it is successfully projected and proven through the use of good communication skills. Union by knowledge, which we know as Jnana Yoga, will also require much more work than most people would initially think, and communication is a necessary skill required in order to share knowledge.

Spritual Wealth

Sadly, spiritual abundance is becoming rare in some cultures. The spiritual connection to God cannot be seen, but can be felt. Unfortunately, we try to measure the spiritual world with scientific instruments from our physical world. How can you measure prayer or the benefits of prayer? How does science explain miracles? Science often remains baffled or claims miracles do not exist. Science is useful, but has created the “virtual world” for a generation who may end up lost in computer games, obesity, poor health, and unconstructive use of time. However, we know the virtual world exists because we can see it. Emotional abundance is most often taken for granted. Our family and friends provide security, but we wish for more material wealth. When death or illness knocks at our door, all the money in the world may not be enough.

Emotional Wealth

If you have positive emotional abundance, you are truly rich. When you have material wealth, emotional abundance may be very hard to find because you do not know who your friends really are. Money attracts people, but those people might not have friendship in mind. Many of the financially wealthy are givers, and there will always be someone who wants to take advantage of it. Now, you see that abundance is many things, but the most valuable treasures in life can be attained by the financially poor. If, or when, you mention abundance in a Yoga class, start with the most important forms of abundance first. If you find yourself with too much material abundance, give the excess to a worthy cause.

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