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Your wallet is having a panic attack

At this point, it's almost a running gag - except it's not funny: our generation needs two incomes and three side hustles just to pay rent and bills. Every other post on social media is about life "hacks" on how to make money or how to save money. Owning a house seems about as realistic as riding a unicorn to work. Talking about work... corporate has become our purgatory: not bad, but not good either. We are waiting for the performance review like the day of our last judgment to know if our wage is keeping up with inflation. Spoiler alert: it's not.

I am no exception, folk (see the end of this article, I won't bore you with the details from the get-go).

Personal finance (by that, I mostly mean paying bills) is the #1 stressor for a lot of us (between 33-90% of the population, according to the internet, you can google it). I would argue the only concurrent major source of stress in 2023 is health, which, for some of us, is a problem that could be fixed by throwing money at it (dentist, anyone? massage therapist? personal trainer, and organic veggies?).

I am the #1 fan of yoga and breathing as an anti-stress and anti-anxiety solution, but YOGA CANNOT FIX MONEY PROBLEM. Yoga as individual practice will help manage stress - the symptoms and consequences of an activated, dysregulated nervous system. If the source of stress doesn't go away, the stress can be managed, not eradicated.

Stress-inducing is a good enough reason for me to talk about money, but hold and behold, there is more:

In the theory of yoga, taking care of your financial health and abundance is part of the 1st chakra: the root chakra is in charge of safety and stability and is similar to the 1st and 2nd layers of the Maslow pyramid.

Money talks

I often hear in and out of the yoga community that yoga is spiritual. That spirituality is not about money, it's about deeper values like love, family, and peace. I say: to love and spend time with your family, you first need to stay alive. To not be more helpful than harmful, you start with being physically self-sufficient. And to feed your family, you need money. Money is not evil, it's a tool. Just like shame, it's by avoiding talking about it that it becomes the most prejudicial.


I am in favor of fairly compensated work. In favor of decent wages, minimum wages allowing anyone to live and not just survive. I am in favor of unions, that give more negotiation power to their workers, in favor of labor laws that prevent child labor and give us sick leaves, holidays, and in theory, paid overtime. I am even in favor of Universal Basic Income (UBI). We're getting political, I know. I also want to support you in starting a business to have more flexibility and do things on your own term. I want to you advocate for yourself when asking for a raise or switching career for something you are passionate about.

Aparigraha and Santosha

Aparigraha is one of 5 Yamas (see this article for more information about what is a Yama) which means No Greed or satisfaction, and is very close to Santosha or Contentment, one of the 5 Niyamas. For the purpose of this article, I will focus my attention on the material side of these two.

Both are used in abundance by people in the yoga community to avoid talking about money. Of course, I disagree.

Although it is true that endless or empty greed will suck the joy out of your life, in psychology these types of greed are believed to be a coping mechanism for emotional and social needs and with enough work and self-awareness, can be transformed into something more positive.

I do not believe that most people are greedy. Wanting a raise because you are more qualified than a year ago is not greedy. Wanting enough money to buy ice coffee without panicking when looking at your bank account isn't greedy. Wanting to afford your dentist without calling your mom is NOT GREEDY. Wanting a higher salary to afford more time off to spend with your kids is not greedy.

I argue that we can appreciate good moments and be grateful (really healthy for our mental health!) WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY wanting and working for more. We can appreciate our job, yet working toward a promotion. We can enjoy time spent with friends and wish we could go to that very extra restaurant one day with them. We can love our children and hope we can afford to send them to the university of their choice. We can be grateful for the opportunity we had to learn new skills at work while looking at job hopping because these new skills are not fairly compensated. We can want a higher salary, yet acknowledge that some struggle to put food on the table every night and have compassion for them. Money, despite what we have been told, isn't a finite amount since we can create value infinitely, and having more doesn't necessarily take away from the next person (if so, remember Ateya - not stealing).

Managing individual greed is a personal journey, however, on a bigger scale, the economic system we live in encourages and rewards greed. Accumulation of wealth quickly escalated during the industrial revolution, giving birth to modern capitalism and since then, encourages corporations to be greedy at the expense of workers' wellness.

I would encourage you to buy from stores you know respect workers' rights and give back to the community (local or international) - and yes, it is extra work to do your own research, but it truly matters.

Note on Karma

Karma is a type of yoga. Karma itself as a force is not only the law of retribution and reciprocity that we all know and love, it is also dedication to work for the sake of work without expecting any result.

My sidenote: intention matters. When I am focused on a task, I don't expect a specific result. However, the intention (doing some good, being helpful, improving someone's life, ruining someone's life, etc.) stays in my mind during the task and will create an imprint in space and time around me. Karma, to me, is like sending someone's vibe with a labor of love. It's not "thoughts & prayer", it's "prayer & actions".

Note about Yoga Instructors

If you were ever curious, Yoga instructors usually invest between 2,5K$ to 5K$ in their initial 200HR training, potentially followed by a paid or unpaid internship, and every specialty training ranges between hundreds and thousands more (just like professional schools or government-subsidized college studies). Senior instructors usually have several 200HR training in different styles and/or an extra 300HR advanced training (for a total of 500HR+). With preparation time and studio maintenance, a class will take between 1.5-3h of time, and the average teacher starts at minimum wage and, like other professions, earns more with experience. A full schedule will usually range between 15-30 classes per week, depending on how physically intense they are (from hot power yoga with lots of core at 40°C to relaxing yin & meditation).

Full disclosure: I never taught yoga full-time (meaning I always had other sources of income, usually several jobs), partly since getting classes to teach and bookings come with time (word of mouth, referrals, cover, seniority, and demand for classes during a high/low season or booming/recession economy) - and I am not known to be able to stay in place for too long, and partly because like in many industries, the wages have not followed inflation for the past decade, and the average salary is the same than 2013 (and now is our cue to feel old, I said 10 years ago and we all thought 1993).

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