I recently walked into a very busy yoga studio and asked if I could leave some postcards advertising Phyzz’s upcoming trip to India this February. The person behind the desk literally raised an eyebrow at me and motioned suspiciously, “Let me see’em.” After taking a look, they huffed, “Sorry, can’t post’em. We already have people in-house that are going to India.”
At some point in recent history, many studios adopted a policy of not allowing the display of yoga activities, classes, and/or workshops at competing yoga studios. These policies have been enforced to varying degrees, but competing? Really? Is that what we’re doing?
I get it. These are hard times for many. I get that business is business is business and that you can’t just roll over and fork money over to the next yogi who’s just trying their damndest to survive and keep their livelihood alive.
But I’m using this piece of real estate on the Interwebs today to remind you (and myself) of an ostensibly familiar concept called Aparigraha - one of the Yamas, or self-restraints in the 8 Limbs system of yoga. Aparigraha is a Sanskrit word that means non-grasping, non-possessiveness, or, more simply put, greedlessness.
With all that’s going on in the world right now with regard to the economy I ask: Do we, as yogis, really want to mirror the paradigm of the few controlling the resources of what should be available to the many?
Again, as a business owner myself, I get that it makes business sense to take measure to stand out amidst the competition. There is a certain amount of “win” drive that one must access in order to make a living.
But how healthy is it to cling to our attachments to wealth and prosperity, to the point where we pointedly institute policies and measures that inhibit the proliferation of yoga as a whole? Don’t we want more people — in fact, as many people as possible — to experience the joy of yoga? Isn’t that what we’re about as teachers, students, and stewards of this 5000-year old science?
C’mon, what are we really doing here, people?