According to this story in the New York Times, the latest and greatest in yoga is pay-what-you-can. I haven’t heard of any donation-based yoga classes here in Australia (feel free to correct me in the comments), but having read this piece I’m not entirely convinced I’d want to try it. I like the idea of each student paying for a class according to what their budget can allow but do we risk devaluing the time, money and dedication that yoga teachers have put into their training?
And what if one yoga studio adopts this payment method, while the studio down the road, which may have fewer teachers or a smaller space and can’t afford to go down this path, is forced out of business as a result?
“There’s a brewing resistance to the expense, the cult of personality, the membership fees,” the NYTimes writes of yoga, and I agree that it’s good to pull back on the showiness and expense associated with some yoga schools. But is this the way?
I must confess, that some of my attitude is coloured by the revelation that these New York classes pack many, many students into the one studio. “Yoga isn’t about a pristine environment — yogis can work downward dog to downward dog, no matter where they are, even if in a crowded, unadorned studio,” Gumucio explains.
His reasoning can’t be faulted but as a very visual person I like to see lovely, calming or inspiring things around me, it’s one of the reasons I go to a class in summer that practices on the beach – you can’t get a more wonderful environment than that! Would I want to swap it for a cramped studio? I’m not so sure. But perhaps I’m just allowing the class/teacher to influence my experience instead of being in charge of it myself.
It seems, then, that I’m sitting on the fence with this idea. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts and opinions on the matter. Maybe I could be convinced to pick a side!