My teacher recently said to me, “Jessica, yoga isn’t something you do.Yoga is something that you become. It is not an act, it is a quality. If you cultivate your body, mind, emotions and energies to a certain level of maturity, a certain quality arises within you. That is yoga. Yoga is a journey within you.” Business often feels like something entirely different.
In businesses we move towards goals, objectives and desires. In a yogic business we seek to move toward desires that improve our offerings within the world – all while viewing desire as a fundamental construction of maya.
Desire, no matter what the object, always tends to be the most dangerous to health and safety. We could go through the vices: money, power, thy neighbor’s wife, long island iced teas, revenge, all of which are sticky, sweet and leave you with a debilitating hangover. This state of “desire turned need” is the case with many business goals as well.
In a yogic or mindful business, therefore, great attention must be paid to what is a want and what is a need. To help, I’ve outlined two very particular goals that must be balanced in the creation of a yoga business.
- No desire for the success or fame of your business correlates to a need.
- You need to learn how to run an operate a business, or partner with someone who does, so that you can maintain an ethical and legal organization.
Number one: The nature of yoga and mindfulness is working toward contentment, even if your precious business model fails. It is in this acceptance of life that we find an opening of our hearts and an extension of our love. It is not a high or a rush with a corresponding plummet. This will be a particularly hard pill to swallow for business leaders who struggle with attachment or who identify as martyrs. I have personally experienced both (in my own body). You (I) must be willing to let go. The same way we discourage self-identification with success in a pose, we must view our process of business.
Lesson two is an addendum to lesson one – both must be enacted in tandem. Learn the business laws and needs for maintaining a legal business. Pay your taxes. Pay workers compensation for your yoga teachers. Provide benefits. Don’t accept volunteers as a for-profit entity to cut costs. I will spend much of this blog space writing and sharing others’ take on these topics. I consider this paramount for the continued success of the yoga industry.
I have three hopes for yoga teachers everywhere, that I believe are needs for a healthy industry
- Yoga teachers, teaching abundance, need to be paid a living wage based on their education, experience and success.
- Yoga teachers need to be protected by federal family leave and workers compensation, which means they must be employees.
- The yoga profession must be better accredited and regulated – as it moves into the health and wellness realm.
I feel so strongly about these that I have started putting this blog of yoga business leaders together. I believe the yoga industry can do these things, and that there are great people fighting for this reality everyday. If you would like to share your take on any of these topics, please send me a note through the contact form on the blog.