it made me question what i do and how i earn my income, and it shook my perception of my self worth.
you see, a large percentage of the yoga classes i teach are admission by donation. the attendance fluctuates drastically and so do the donations. i've said in the past that i find participants to generally be very generous, and i think this is because they feel like they get value from their time in the class.
for weeks on end the donations will add up to more than the hourly rate at some yoga studios. and these extra funds benefit giving back to the community space that we practice in, as well as allowing me to buy necessities so that i can keep doing what i do. but then sometimes, seemingly for no reason, the donation box will sound more hollow than usual....
non-attachment, yes. things come in, and they go. all passes, everything changes.
however, on that day i musn't have had enough green juice because that seed of doubt had crept in and in that moment i heard myself say, "i'm sorry, i can't go away this weekend because the people need their cheap yoga."
time to remember why i do what i do. yes, there was actually a reason i undertook this project...
the idea came from time i've spent studying vipassana meditation under the teachings of S.N. Goenka.
Goenka's 10 day vipassana courses are offered exclusively on a donation basis. the intention with this is to keep the teachings true and pure. they (the teachings) musn't be altered for those who would pay more. they musn't be marketed. but more importantly, they must be available to all who could benefit from them, regardless of social or financial status.
my personal yoga practice has given me so much benefit in my life, i can't even begin to describe this to you...
yoga is a valuable method of self-care/development/awareness that should be available to everyone, regardless of their ability to trade it for money. i know this.
this is why i started teaching donation classes at Pachamama, and more recently at the Commons. in the hope that it would be a haven for all of us, we could go without thinking about membership deals or terms and conditions, and certainly not about what expensive gear you wear to class.
that the time on your yoga mat would be about YOU. ME. US. in a practice alone, together.
"Dana" is a word from Pali, the language of the Buddha, which means "generosity".
Goenka says that if you finish your practice and you feel like you've gained some benefit from the teaching, you are welcome to practice dana. and importantly, when you give a donation, it is not payment for your admission. you give so that another can also receive the benefit that you have received.
you pay for someone else.
so when you show up on your mat, be grateful to know that someone has paid your way today.
and i'm sorry that i forgot, momentarily, what i was doing. i remember now. ok, let's get on with it.
namas(fucking)ste! and be happy. (love you Goenkaji R.I.P.)