So do you have to be rich to do yoga?
The demographics say that yoga practitioners are in the upper income bracket – with a median income of $75,000 or higher. (Alas, the average salary of a yoga teacher is 39% lower than the average worker in the US.) But we don’t think that you have to spend money on yoga to be able to practice it.
To do yoga, if you know what you’re doing and can practice at home, all you need is a yoga mat (or maybe just a rug). The yoga gurus of the past were ascetics who owned nothing but a loin cloth. The yogic lifestyle calls for a turning away from consumerism, and generally advocates mindful living, serving others, giving back, etc. Sure, there are yoga classes being offered out there that cost more than $20, and we know the celebrity yoga teacher phenomenon is alive and well.
But really, to take some classes at a local yoga studio doesn’t have to be a pricey affair. Especially with all the donation based and ‘community’ classes that are pretty common these days. And with the latest craze of introductory deals, you can find even yoga classes that cost next to nothing.
Why doing yoga implies you’re doing well with money
We think the reasons yogis and yoginis are often somewhat affluent are not related to the cost of yoga, and we’d like to offer some alternative explanations:
1) People that are more well-off are generally people who like to take care of themselves. And yoga is definitely taking care of yourself! Kind of like the study from a few years ago that suggested people who drink red wine live longer and are healthier: turns out it’s just an observation. People who drink red wine are more affluent, so they generally eat better and visit the doctor more often. The wine has nothing to do with their health!
2) The correlation between wealth and yoga may be the correlation between wealth and any leisure activity (like playing music, swimming, or reading books). People who are well-off have the time to do it, because they don’t have to spend every waking moment trying to make money to survive. So in that sense, it does help to be somewhat comfortable to do yoga – because you have to have the time to do it.
3) Could it be that the wealthy are more apt to realize that money doesn’t make you happy? That the keys to happiness are found in spiritual pursuits and feeling good in your mind and body, and being healthy? If so, it’s no surprise they dabble in yoga.
We know for a fact (from personal research) that many yogis and yoginis out there are not buying $100 yoga pants or special yoga shoes from Nike. And while some of us have had the experience of an exclusive yoga retreat on a far away exotic island, for most of us that sort of thing isn’t in the cards. But to practice yoga, these things aren’t needed. And there are always ways to experience the beautiful things in life, to “manifest” them.