When people tell me yoga is expensive, I often ask them, “Compared to what?”
Practicing with my first real yoga teacher, I felt like I was getting longer lasting tension relief than I did from a massage therapy treatment – a $95 per session cost. I felt like I was learning about myself and learning to experience life with more ease, which I consider to be two of the main goals and benefits of counseling – a $90 (or more) per session cost. And, I was finding more pain relief than I had previously found from any work I had done with a physiotherapist – a $75 per session cost.
I am certainly not suggesting that yoga replace all these different healing modalities. Since finding yoga, I’ve found a massage therapist, a counselor, and a physiotherapist who all use elements of the yoga practice in their approach to healing, and I’ve experienced powerful transformations through the insight and work of each of these practitioners. But, in evaluating the financial value yoga has for you, it is important to consider the often inherently therapeutic nature of the practice.
Yoga is a collection of different practices that can be used for a variety of different reasons, and an important part of the practicing yoga is clarifying what the practice is about for you and consistently re-examining why you are continuing to practice. Once you understand how your practice supports you, ask yourself how much energy (financial or otherwise) that support is worth?
At this point in my practice, my purpose is to seek health and well-being. I’m not overly interested in looking impressive in the poses, and I don’t get too determined about making specific shapes with my body. Yoga, to me, is ultimately about how good I feel in my body, the ease I experience in my day-to-day life, and the amount of love and kindness I extend to myself and the people around me.
When I look at the challenges we are collectively facing – from the basic struggle of being emotional creatures to the pressures of a scarcity mindset to the destruction of our shared home – and consider the depth of support a holistic yoga practice offers to human health and well-being, I have a really hard time thinking of yoga as anything other than an incredibly necessary and practical expense.
Yoga is like food for the soul.