Why Yoga Teachers Feel Bad for Making Money

I remember early in my career as a yoga teacher, someone pointed out that I always seemed to have new yoga pants and that I must be doing ‘pretty good’ as a yoga teacher. I’m sure they meant it as a compliment but my insides went dark. I felt shame. Even though I knew I’d actually gotten ‘paid in clothing’ for a photo shoot and that my wardrobe was the opposite of making money – I was still embarrassed.

I was trapped in the money-guilt mindset that so many yoga teachers suffer from.

Many of us decided to be yoga teachers because we felt called to share yoga. We truly do it to serve our students. With this approach – of being in service – it becomes difficult for us to charge money. We are in conflict. Furthermore, when we start to experience success – we often don’t wear it the way other professionals do. We feel shame or embarrassment at being financially successful because we worry it reflects poorly on our commitment to serve.

Add to all of this the history of yogis who didn’t ask for financial compensation at all and our money guilt doubles.

You need to let that shit go! First of all – those yogis were taken care of. They were given food, clothing and a place to live. They didn’t have heating bills or need bus passes to get to work or face premium prices for fair trade, organic food. Times have changed. This is a different culture. We are not ancient yogis.

Secondly, being in service doesn’t have to mean we feel like we are in servitude. In order for us to serve our students best, we need to be teaching from a good place. By that I mean, we need to feel inspired, joyful and rested. If we’re struggling to make ends meet, stressed out and working our pants off – we’re burnt out! And, believe me, our teaching suffers. So, taking care of ourselves is part of our service and making enough money is part of that balance.

The first step is awakening ourselves to this reality and accepting that making money does not make us un-yoga. That living in abundance is not the same as failing at Aparigraha.

The next step is to identify when this money-guilt crops up (like when I still felt a need to justify to you earlier in this blog why I had new clothes). From there, it’s all about letting it go. We need to release ourselves from this notion that we don’t deserve to make a good living. We need to reject the perception that we are somehow not ‘in service’ when we do. And, we need to shift our mindset to abundance (including our own abundance) instead of living under the weight of money-guilt.

It’s going to be work. It’s going to take time. Here is a simple mantra for moving out of the money-guilt mindset and accepting abundance freely. This mantra channels the popular elephant god Ganesha and his power to remove obstacles and cultivate abundance.

Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namah


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