Original Purpose of Yoga: Should Yoga Be Free?
I used to say originally all yoga was free. The original purpose of yoga practices was designed to enhance moral character, ethical behavior, calm demeanor, poise, and eventually liberation. Under this definition, you could include Jesus and Buddha as great yoga teachers, neither of whom charged money for their teachings. So free online yoga classes should be the norm, correct? Well, let’s step back a moment. It’s true that originally there was not any financial exchange for yoga’s teachings. But there were plenty of costly expectations. What yoga asks of its participants is a level of dedication and effort that adds up to a huge sum of time and energy.
Today in our yoga environment students are not giving to the teacher the way they used to give in the form of food, farming, janitorial duties, administrative duties, textile duties, etc. Back in the day, students gave basically everything to the environment created by the teacher to meet everyone’s needs (including the teacher). So, students did pay with their time and energy. Paying money for a yoga class is very similar to how it used to be in the sense that your money represents the time and energy that used to be exchanged. Now, the teacher takes the money they charge for their teachings and uses it to provide for themselves.
With free yoga online, the student gets yoga literally for free as they may be giving nothing! You could say in not giving, these students are missing something very special. So, my suggestion is to figure out how you can give or serve somehow, someway.
Teachers need to survive and outside of the old school environment of an ashram or hermitage, charging for classes provides for the teacher. The issue is when it came to providing the limited energy needed for hermitage duties, most all were equal. Who couldn’t wash clothes or cook food or plant and water seeds or tend to cows? Yet, when it comes to money most are not equal. So when money enters the picture things can get tricky. This is why I started donation-based yoga classes in Santa Monica, California back in the 1990s. Allowing people to give what they believed they could, yet at the end of the day getting enough for myself. Maybe I didn’t get what those other studios were receiving at $20 per class (I actually averaged $5.50 per class). Yet, it was enough for me to more than survive, and thus keeping with tradition in the sense of making yoga available to all. Yoga videos online free doesn’t mean you can’t take the money you would have paid for a class or the money you have donated to me and find a worthy cause to give to!
So, the best classes are the ones that help you understand all this. The ones that inspire you to give instead of taking. The ones that release from deep within you a desire for the happiness and liberation of all. Don’t forget this mentality is key for physical health. Giving takes courage and courage reduces fear which is the foundation of stress. The reduction of stress is the largest factor in physical health. So, the best online yoga classes free are the ones that accomplish all that was stated above with the addition of the “best” meaning the ones you resonate with.
There are lots of styles and approaches so don’t be dissuaded if you don’t like a class or style. Just keep experimenting with all types of yoga and you will discover the online yoga workouts that are conducive to you. As I stated above, I created donation-based yoga back in the mid-nineties and in line with that mentality, we have put many free classes up online for anybody and everybody at poweryoga.com. Feel free (pardon the pun) to give them a try. We have free classes for beginners and for those of you who have a more mature yoga practice that includes meditation!
Since these classes are for free, I request (just a request) that somehow you figure out a way to give back!
See you all on the mat!