There are many forms of Yoga. These styles focus on mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Some Yoga styles focus on a combination of the above-mentioned aspects, for a completely holistic approach to good health.

Knowing this – one might think that staff members of Yoga centers would realize what is being taught in their classes.

According to an article, by the New York Times, which was published on July 11, 2009 – Sybil Killian, General Manager for the OM Yoga Center, in Manhattan, questioned whether yoga could fairly claim to be a spiritual pursuit, in an era when, according to an industry estimate, it earns $ 6 billion a year in the United States.

“People buy $ 1,000 pants to sweat in, because while they’re getting enlightened, they need to look good,” Ms. Killian wrote in an e-mail message to other New York yoga teachers. “Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, yoga is an industry. One need only leaf through the advertising section of Yoga Journal to know that.”

Perhaps these statements were taken out of context. Heaven knows interviews can be misinterpreted, but our students are having trouble affording a pair of pants in the present recession. At the same time, it is possible that in Ms. Killian’s neighborhood, the rich are becoming incredibly rich – while the rest of the world is figuring how to make ends meet.

Yoga students tend to be full of substance, educated, and searching for logical solutions to their health. Up to this point, I have never encountered students wearing “$ 1,000 pants to sweat in because while they’re getting enlightened they need to look good.”

Albeit, there is, at least, one Yoga Guru who owns 35 Rolls Royce cars, but he is an extreme exception. Most Yoga instructors teach classes part time as independent contractors for local studios and health clubs. Most studio owners have slim bottom lines; although, we might want to seriously consider selling upscale Yoga clothing to people who will pay outrageous money for them.

If Yoga is a $ 6 billion a year in the United States, that money is being spread across hundreds of thousands of classes across the country. Let’s draw a comparison: If hot dogs were a $ 6 billion a year industry in the United States, one hot dog stand owner might manage to do quite exceptional, while many would earn a humble income.

Finally, when did anyone decide accepting tuition or donations was “unspiritual?” Any facility, center, or meeting place, needs funds to operate. It would be a wonderful world if we did not have to be concerned with money. However, all organizations, including charities and trusts, run on money.

© Copyright 2009 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, has written many books on the subject of Yoga. He is a co-owner and the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga Teacher since 1995. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit:

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Categories: Yoga