16 October 2008

There is no recession in yoga...

In Mysore practice with Tim Feldman
October 2008

The other day, I heard one of my friends refer to herself as a recessionista. I was complementing her on the stylish jeans she had on and she responded “Target.” I had never heard of the term but I thought it was cute and catchy. My curiosity lead me to some online research and I came upon an article called “The Year of the Recessionista.” Apparently a recessionista is simply someone who seeks to remain fashionable and stylish on a tight budget.

I began to think about how the current economic situation has made an significant impact on the health and wellness community. When I promote yoga to my friends and people I meet, one of the first questions they ask is “how much does it cost?” It’s true, money makes the world go around, and the cost of yoga keeps people from wanting to go. Most of the time, it's just an excuse (I see how those people spend their money) but I understand that in many situations, people cannot afford to pay for a yoga membership, especially in these hard economic times. There are mouths to feed and bills to pay and the cash flow for a yoga practice simply isn’t there.

BUT…when the economy crashes do we allow our life practices to crash too? When jobs come and go and the stock market fails us, do we stop going to church, quit praying and give up on the higher power? I think during times of economic hardship we need to remain dedicated to our practice even more. History will always test us. There will be wars, recessions, rising gas prices, earthquakes, hurricanes, epidemics, the list of catastrophic events goes on. We may not be able to control history but we can certainly control our yoga practice by always returning to it. How we approach God may change, but God will always be there for us to approach. A true, committed yogi will not allow any recession to compromise their practice. I mean, technically, yoga is free right? By establishing a consistent home practice your bank account isn’t affected. And we ALL know that a committed yogi should have a home practice!

When it comes to health and wellness, we cannot suddenly cut corners or turn frugal. If we want to be recessionistas we should let go of things that are not good for us…alcohol, fast food, bar tabs, clothes, shoes, bad friends, anger, fear, resentment...we don’t need that stuff, and in the end, we really pay a huge cost by holding on to those things. We pay in stress, tears, high blood pressure, heart attacks, headaches and turning into plain old, unhappy, grumpy people...then we die and have to live out our bad karma all over again.

The economy should not be a further excuse to prevent positive changes in our lives. The economy will always change but we can always remain loyal to our inner self. By staying dedicated to the established tradition of yoga and its spirituality, no “recession” can ever touch us.