What we’re facing today as human beings, as parents, friends, colleagues and business owners are huge challenges, the nature of which has not happened before since the Industrial Revolution. The combination of the challenges of climate change, resource depletion and economic crisis is unique and extreme. Even if you don’t believe what we’re being told about climate change and peak oil, the simple facts that we live on a finite planet with a rapidly growing population is surely enough to tell us that we need to think differently.
Either way, we are being called to question how and whether we choose to “exploit” the planet’s resources. Does our home – Gaia, Mother Earth – exist purely for our short term benefit or are we a special, yet dispensable, part of a huge, amazingly complex and beautiful ecosystem? Do we have a responsibility towards future generations of humans and other creatures or do we only need to fend for ourselves, whatever the outcome?
What does this have to do with Yoga? How do we relate our enthusiasm for yoga and with how we live and work in the world?
If we wish to behave authentically, those of us who teach Yoga, sell Yoga equipment, offer Yoga therapy or any other Yoga related product or service, need to be able to reconcile the ways in which we ‘do business’ with our Yoga principles.
An important way to do this is by ensuring that our business practices are sustainable.
A sustainable business is a venture that takes into account the impact it is having not only in the present, but also for future generations to come. This is what sustainability is about – acting with a view to the long term and with a responsibility to those who have not yet been born. In addition to this, sustainable businesses take the short and long terms views on their impact on the planet. We must also bear in mind that the business of business is to generate wealth – in whatever form that might take. I’m deliberately including a broader definition of wealth here than purely profit, for example, wealth as wellbeing, community, knowledge, happiness, quality of life etc.
The social, environmental and economic benefits that result from a small business are more simply known as the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit.
You might ask yourself: ‘How might the world be a better place as a result of my Yoga Business being here? How could it enrich mine and other people’s lives? In what ways could it contribute towards the wellbeing of our precious planet? How might it generate wealth in a broad and balanced sense?’
Your Yoga business in the context of the yamas.
Ethical and sustainable business practices ensure that we are careful not to cause harm, to ourselves, to others, to the planet and even to future generations. It also encourages truthfulness, non-stealing and to live within our means. Yoga Business is not about the traditional “cut and thrust” of fierce competition, but is more to do with how to collaborate with others, form mutually supportive allegiances and offer the budding Yoga student some choice in where, how, what and with whom they learn. This is the yamas in action. So, ethical and sustainable business is totally in alignment with the yamas and, by running your business along these lines, you can be sure that you will remain in alignment with your Yogic values.
If you’d like to find out more about how to put these principles into practice, whether you’re a newly qualified Yoga teacher, or someone who has been teaching for many years, do consider attending our weekend workshop in May:
Working in Harmony: Ethical, Effective Business Practice for Yoga Teachers – 12 hours. 18th and 19th May 2013.
Tutor: Sally Lever M.A.(Oxon), DipM, LCHDip.
Subject areas covered:
• An overview of the business aspect of teaching Yoga, from an ethical, balanced viewpoint.
• Different ways to get started, plus tools and techniques to support growth, effectiveness and sustainability.
• How to avoid burnout and how to reconcile marketing and business with Yoga.
• Practical information on internet presence, starting and maintaining a newsletter and cultivating personal referrals, as well as basic tips for personal finances, taxes and liability insurance.
This weekend will also include Vinyasa Krama Yoga practice sessions taught by Charles Cox and a questions and answer session.
To check availability and to book, please contact Steve.