I adhere to my rule that I don’t teach yoga for free.
This wasn’t always my rule.
When I was a new teacher, or new to a certain community, I did teach for free from time to time in order to get more exposure and meet new people.
But now, No Free Yoga. This is the rule.
I would also like to add to that, No Cheap Yoga.
And I’d like to add to that, No Crazy Ass Expensive Yoga.
And I’d like to add to all that, that I make exceptions to these rules on a case by case basis.
No Free Yoga
My experience has taught me that free yoga is good for no one—not the teacher and not the students. The exchange of money is an energy exchange. Usually when money doesn’t exchange hands, the exchange is not balanced and it’s the teacher who ends up on the depleted side.
Very simply put, I don’t teach for free because I don’t feel good when I do. Something isn’t right.
In the whole of the yoga community, it does everyone a disservice when teachers teach for free…I’ll let you ponder on that one.
BUT, I make exceptions. The exception only comes in the form of actual money. The exchange between me and an even organizer or a student may not be money, but there is definitely an exchange of some sort. I have colleagues who I know do right by me and those they work with, at least most of the time. These colleagues, I am happy to support in a way that doesn’t require money—but this wouldn’t be all the time, whenever they ask (and they wouldn’t ask all the time, which is why I like them).
I often exchange with students. Some kind of service for a class. It’s not always agreed upon ahead of time. Sometimes it just comes with the feeling that it’s the right moment and the right thing to do.
No Cheap Yoga
Cheap yoga doesn’t make me feel good either and the results of offering yoga for cheap are, in my experience, never good. It’s not worth it, simply put.
In the whole of the yoga community, it does everyone a disservice when teachers teach for cheap…I’ll let you ponder on that one as well.....
No Crazy Ass Expensive Yoga
I have to say that when I go to Paris and want to take a single class, my heart stops for just a second before I decide if it’s worth it or not. Usually it’s not, but that’s because I’m really picky about the classes that I take.
I know that running a studio is expensive, I know that. I know that it can be a real money pit. But, ouf, it hurts to pay 20 plus euros and up for one class. I don’t like it.
Free and cheap yoga isn’t beneficial and prices that make yoga an elitist activity isn’t beneficial either.
I can’t tell you how many people have encouraged me to go luxe, to create retreats for rich people. I was into the idea for a while, I have to admit. But, there is something in it that isn’t me. That’s not to say that it’s a bad idea. It’s just that it doesn’t jive with who I am.
The Right Price
The right price is a feeling. It’s a knowing that the energy exchange is right. It’s the balance of the offering and the receiving.
When negotiating the price of my workshops, let’s say, at any given studio, the studio owner or manager and I discuss how much the workshop will cost to students. There’s always a magic number that relates the quality of the workshop with the community I’m serving. I will reject a price that’s too low as I will reject a price that’s too high.
Then there’s the negotiation as to how to split profits. I have my own magic number, a percentage that I want, but then there’s the negotiation. Will I accept a percentage less than my magic number? Yes, depending on a whole bunch of other factors. It all depends. When do I insist on my magic number with absolutely no possibility of negotiation? When I factor in everything else and see that the exchange will only happen in terms of money (as in, the organizer and I will probably never be friends, the amount of exposure from the event isn’t that great, it looks like I probably won’t have a very good time, etc..).
It all depends.
I encourage you to create your rules and to really see how comfortable you are with them.
Are you willing to say “No" to situations in which you don’t feel good?
Get good at that.
Feel totally comfortable with it.
Get good at saying “Yes” when it’s right and only when it’s right.
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