5 Things Yoga Taught Me About Money
by Spoiled Yogi.com
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, ya’ll!
The time of year we drive around, braving traffic and tons of people, rushing from Point A to Point B to buy gifts, put up decorations, get our fanciest frocks (or ugly sweaters) out of the darkest corners of our closets and prepare food for parties all to celebrate the holiday season. Yes, there are religious reasons we celebrate the holidays.
But I honestly don’t think that’s why we subject ourselves to all the hustle and bustle this time of year. That, I believe, has more to do with letting the people we love know just how much we love them. (And, OK, just a little bit might be about impressing our friends and family, too, because after all, we want them to love us back!) It’s a beautiful thing if you think of it that way. And it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy like the Coca Cola polar bear on the inside.
Well, it does until I open my up my bank account and suddenly feel a little less warmth and a little more PANIC as I think, What the heck happened to all of my money!?
This is especially true for me this year when, aside from the craziness of the holidays, I also had to have a very simple (and very expensive!) outpatient procedure and found out my upstairs toilet has been leaking into the walls underneath (and rotting floors, ceilings, and who knows what else in the process)… You know what they say, when it rains it pours (apparently into my house!).
REMEMBERING TO BE GRATEFUL
Even so, I’m also super grateful these days that my yoga practice has helped shape my ideas on money in profound ways. My yoga practice has helped me to find a good balance between spending and saving, brought an attitude of mindfulness toward where my hard-earned dollars are going (and what affect that has on my personal energy as well as its larger impact on the world), and I’ve learned to devote less of my time and energy stressing out about every little cent. Some of this is admittedly due to privilege and I think it’s important to acknowledge that (I’m not rich by any stretch, but I’m comfortable). That said, I still think yoga can help most anyone find a greater ease around money.
5 THINGS YOGA TAUGHT ME ABOUT MONEY
1. Abundance is a state of mind. I have plenty of food, shelter, warmth, and love in my life. Yoga has taught me I have the choice to savor them all and feel blessed or spend my days pining away for the lifestyle the Joneses put on their credit cards. I think I’d rather be happy and content.
2. Things are less fulfilling than experiences. I love when a yoga teacher asks me to be still for a few minutes after a pose and just observe how my body and mind feels. For me, contentment is that moment of rest after a great chest opening yoga pose like Camel Pose (Ustrasana). I’ve noticed that when I step back to observe how I feel after any heartfelt activity in my life—a yoga class, hike, or visit with a friend—I feel better than I’ve ever felt after a shopping trip, no matter how big or grandiose the purchase. The happiness I feel after a fulfilling experience is also longer lasting and less harmful to myself (and usually the planet) than the high I get from spending money on things I didn’t need in the first place.
3. But some things are worth every cent. I think of living a healthy, yoga lifestyle as an investment in myself and my future. It’s true that I might spend more money on healthy foods, yoga classes, preventive health care, and things that motivate me to be healthy than is always necessary for my daily life. But I truly believe that these choices will save me a lot of money and heartache later on.
4. Seeking stability and flexibility is the key to balance. My body is naturally very flexible, so to avoid injury I have to work harder at building my muscle strength to create stability in my poses. I’ve learned a similar lesson in my financial life. It takes a willingness to use money on things that matter (like my health and experiences with the people I love) and a structure (I’m talking about a budget!) to keep everything in check.
5. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat. Ahimsa (or non-harming) to me means not using more than I need, finding creative ways to give new life to things I’ve already got, and buying things secondhand when it makes sense. This saves tons of money, has made me realize just how many things I already own, and makes me feel good about the way I’ve chosen to live my life.