The cost of yoga.
Someone asked me in class recently, ‘do you go to three classes a week?’ I responded with “the third class is a variable but yes”. Then the topic of the cost of three classes a week was presented. $45. "$45 is a lot a week, plus you drive from Maryborough so the price of petrol as well, that’s quite a lot" was the gist of the conversation. I nodded but I was a bit taken a back but could understand the point of view, but this got me contemplating my point of view.
We had just finished a pranayama session so having to switch my brain to mouthing words, I was on a delay. Reluctantly leaving the peaceful resonance I was feeling within myself to have to engage in the world again, I politely responded on how yoga nourishes me, so to me it is no different than buying food and I left it at that.
But I couldn’t leave it at that, I thought about what I give to get to these classes. I wake up at 4.35am in the morning to get to these classes. Whether I have had 3 hours sleep like I had done that particular morning or 8 hours. No matter if it is dark, cold, or wet. No matter the urge to stay in the warmth and security of my blanket and loving arms of my partner. No matter the $2/L fuel prices, the weekly 186km, 3.5hr round journey never questioned. I get up and I make the 35-minute drive to arrive to be welcomed to the little blue mat.
As I made the journey home distracted contemplating the conversation, I thought about how I asked my partner to give up his Tuesday shift at work, freeing him to mind our daughter so I was able to attend class. So, when you think about cost, the cost in my circumstances has greatly risen. A day’s income from our household budget, petrol, plus class cost.
And we are not a rich monetary household either. My partner works three days a week and I work two so between us our little three-person family lives off the equivalent to one wage. So, I guess you could say that the price of yoga comes at quite a cost in our family.
But what if you could provide nourishing food for yourself and your family for $45 a week? But you had to drive 30mins each way to pick it up? What would you do?
Most families would spend at least $45 on a meal out. Our family doesn’t eat out, we choose to live a simple life, but it means we learn our priorities. $44 a week is actually what Money Smart states the average Australian family spends on restaurant meals a week. I ask you to think, is it nourishing you?
How many people have sought some form of counseling in their lifetime? The Psychotherapy and Counseling Federation of Australia reports the average fee for a counselor to be $100-$160 per hour. If I didn’t prioritize my scheduled time with my guide and her little blue mats, not only would I need counseling, but I would be taking prescription drugs. $45 a week is cheaper than the drug habit I had before I found yoga. So, when you really think about it, how is $45 in comparison?
To me it is about priorities. We are a simple family with a simple budget which as a result forces us to prioritize. What are you prioritizing in your budget?
My $45 a week yoga enables me to work two days a week and earn an income. Without yoga, I can’t maintain a job. I struggle to engage in society in every way. Yoga provides me with the stability within myself to maintain two days a week employment and not tell everyone in explicit terms where to go and run home and hide from the world. It presents relief from the immense pressure of my mind to do everything 100% correct especially when it comes to employment and the turmoil of chaos that wells up inside me to the point that I am barely able to function when I feel that I have made a mistake or have not done or acted ‘good enough’. Yoga supports me to have the presence and strength to homeschool my 5-year-old daughter even though the responsibility of her education scares the living hell out of me. Yoga supports me to have more space to be a supportive, present and a loving partner and not just reacting and being in my own emotional turmoil.
Simply, yoga supports me to live.
Don’t get me wrong my yoga timetable has had to constantly adapt and money is a factor we certainly have had to meet. We have had to make big decisions with factors of potentially loosing our entire income due to COVID and we have uncertainty again soon with surgeries and health.
But to me the question really is, what is the cost of no yoga?
Yoga is the lay persons neuroscience - Yogis have known for centuries that there are layers of mental activity that can be harnessed and directed. When attention becomes concentration and concentration establishes a pause between the rise and fall of thoughts, we arrive into a state known as meditation. The interconnections between the layers of consciousness create the conditions for wisdom.. it arises in the pause, in the interruption of habitual thought.
“As soon as there is stopping, there is happiness. There is peace. When we stop like that, it looks as if nothing is happening, but in fact everything is happening. You are deeply established in the present moment, and you touch your cosmic body. You touch eternity. There is no more restlessness, no more seeking.” Thich Nhat Hanh