I was surprised the other day by yoga. I thought I had a decent understanding of the philosophy of yoga and had invested ample amounts of time in Karma yoga. However, I had an interesting experience that taught me a lesson I did not expect to learn from yoga.
I have begun a little freelancing with my yoga studio and we were going to work on a trade and in doing so I found myself in a quandary. The business side of me understands my prices, why I charge what I do and I have it all thought out and solidified. I have a solid billing system and things work for me. But when pressed with coming up with an hourly number for my yoga studio, a little voice in my head said, “Really? You’re going to charge your normal prices, really? Come on Karma yogi, really?”
I was struck at how awkward it seemed to charge my yoga studio so much for my work. I thought and pondered about it for a while. On one side, the yoga studio is not lacking in business, it charges me a lot for my unlimited access, and my work is quality and my time is precious. But on the other side, the humble yogi in me wasn’t so sure. It seemed to me that a discount was tolerable in this situation as I felt it would be karmically positively charged. I mean it’s yoga.
So, I made up my mind to charge much less than I normally would for other clients. This was going to be a special exception to my rules. So, proud of my decision, I sent off my hourly rate to the manager of the studio, a woman I admire and look up to as a mentor.
Her response was a quote from the Gita:
“The secret of karma yoga is never to accept a wrong situation, a situation in which you are exploited, discriminated against, or manipulated, because it is bad not only for you but for the exploiter as well.”
And then she proceeded with her own interpretation:
Not that I am an exploiter but part of Karma in the Gita is finding our ‘seat’ in what we are actually worth. This practice allows for others to step on the path to self-recognition of worth. Ya know? So please rethink what you would like to charge us for your services that is fair and worthy of your beautiful talents and that is what we will move forward with.
I was humbled. I thought I was being the “good yogi” by lowering my prices, when in fact, I was doing the opposite. I had no idea. I was so surprised by her response and the quote from the Gita.
In the end, I charged my normal prices, and the response I received from my yoga teacher, was that she was proud of me.
In the end, yoga continues to surprise and encourage me. It is continually encouraging us to find our own seat in life, and be aware of and acknowledge my own self worth.
You too, are worthy. Where is your seat in life?