I am going to talk about something that has long been considered taboo in the world of self-help, self-care and mindfulness...money. For a long time there has been a quiet shame around asking for compensation for services in the world of yoga, meditation and self-care. I know that I am not alone in this because I have spoken to several of my friends and fellow colleagues about this topic and it seems to be ever present. I also know that this is true because I myself have fallen into the trap of feeling as though I need to offer my services for free in order to "gain exposure" or "get my name and my brand out there". Ironically, the post below this one is about the free oils class that I am hosting this weekend, which happens to be sold out. Please don't get me wrong, it is my JOY to be able to do this. And I have made a comittment to my doTERRA team to offer education and support in knowing how to use essential oils, because I believe one of the greatest gifts of going through a wellness advocate is that you also, get them and their knowledge. They are also all willing to invest in helping themselves, their families and the planet. That being said, what I do know is that the balance of these free offerings and undercompensation tends to be way off compared to the value that we place on ourselves and our work. This needs to change.
As teachers and practitioners, we have to value our time and our efforts more...
I have been a Yoga Teacher for over a decade now. Not only did I initially invest in my teacher training, but I have taken countless classes, workshops, seminars and programs since that time. I have read and studied and followed this area of interest over the course of the past decade to a degree that I could actually HAVE a degree in it. I do not, nor do I think that matters. But that is part of a problem, as we live in a society, especially in wellness, that so values the ability to PROVE our worth rather than to simply KNOW our worth.
Teaching yoga is a skill. There are so many skill based professions out there that don't require a 4 year degree. For example, when I go to get my car fixed, I don't ask the mechanic where he or she studied. I don't look on the wall to see what degrees are hanging. And while yes, we often go off of word of mouth recommendation, we do most often trust that because they have a garage and are offering their services, they have some kind of skill in fixing cars. It may have taken them years to acquire those skills, or perhaps they were passed down generationally, or perhaps there was a natural talent and interest that led them to the belief that they could actually fix cars and charge people money. But at the end of the day, they believed enough in their own skills to rent a space, buy a sign and charge a fee for their service.
As mindfulness practitioners, we need to be more like the mechanic. We need to trust in our own study, our own knowledge and our own talent. We also must start placing more value on our own effort and the TIME it spent honing our skills. Even more than money, time is our most valued resource. We have a finite amount of it on this earth and in this life. There is no reason we should not be compensated for it, when putting our energy into being of service of others. Service does not have to equal struggle and this is an antiquated mindset that must change. On the other side of things...
...We have to deem ourselves worthy of spending money on our SELF.
I do believe that if we can shift our mindset as teachers as mentioned above, this will also begin to shift. It is another form of teaching really. But yes, we must erase the stigma that it's not ok to spend money on resources that help put us in better connection with our self. Whether we are talking about therapy, yoga, a gym membership, a massage, coaching, essential oils, a retreat or an online course, at some point it has to become ok to help ourselves BE ok. I do not believe it has to cost a ton of money, or that we need to go into debt doing it. And believe me, as a yoga teacher who is married to an actor, I understand all to well the reality of a budgeted household. We are both working every single day to produce financial freedom, while also pursuing what we love, and that doesn't mean that there isn't struggle and sacrifice. But there are still times when we know that our own health and wellbeing is not the thing to be compromised. Instead, we most often choose to forgo the stuff, because for us, it doesn't matter as much as keeping ourselves healthy and our growth as human beings continual. We must also remember that...
...Money is an Energetic Exchange.
At the end of the day money is simply an energetic statement that says "This is where I place my value", both in how we charge people and how we spend on ourselves. We become more abundant in the areas where we choose to focus that energy. Either we ask for what we are worth and trust that those who feel and see that will continue to show up, or we say "I am worthy of spending this money and time on myself in order to feel and be my best self, because that matters to me". Both are in the name of abundance and both come from the choice of where we place value through finanical exhange. But we cannot have it the other way. We cannot put out free energy and expect that one day, someone will finally recognize our worth and pay up. And we cannot only seek out what is free and expect that we will all of a sudden we will feel like a million dollars and that's that. We both get what we ask for AND what we pay for.
Last year, I started a new business. I asked people to trust me enough to pay me and in exchange I would coach them using my years of experience as a student of yogic philosphy and mindset training and practice. Like the mechanic who decided they were worthy of opening up their own shop and asking people to pay them, I put value in my knowledge and asked the very same thing. In 9 months, that business has doubled. I am still not where I want to be, but I know that I can continue to grow and continue to ask for what I am worth, because energetically I know my own value. And I know the value of doing this kind of work and saying yes to spending your time, effort and money on it.
I will admit that last year, I gave away a lot of my time and services in the name of that old mindset of thinking that's how to gain exposure and get my name out there. And there will still be times when that is appropriate, becuase truly, I find great joy in being of service and making myself available and accessible. But I am also in a new mindset that knows I have a greater responsibilty if I really want to shift the landscape of how we view self-care and wellness. I ask people to put themselves first for a little bit of time each day and that MUST, at some point include energetic investment, including money.
My dream is to be financially abudant enough to have the freedom of time with my family AND to work and live with the utmost of generosity, in service of others. In order to make that happen however, I must first value and be willing to fill my own cup. Speaking of that...
I have two workshops coming up in February and March. Both of them are online and both of them cost $30. They will each consist of an hour long masterclass and then continue on throughout the month with support from me and a like minded community. February's workshop falls in line with this topic very much as it is called "Fill Your Own Cup" and is all about how to place yourself at the forefront of your own attention and care, for a little bit of time each day. March is a Meditation workshop and challenge to help get you started and strong in a daily meditation practice. In the $30 cost, I am essentially asking you to value your own time and attention at around $1 a day (a little more in February and a bit less in March). I am also asking you to value the time and effort and thought that I am putting into these two programs, which spans over a decade of time and study. Let's shift the narrative around this topic of self-care, self-worth and the value of taking time to care for ourselves, both as the teacher and the student. Let's value our own energy so that there is no confusion, or shame in knowing our own worth. I am worth it and so are you.
To Sign up for One or Both workshops (and get a small discount for doing so) click HERE.
is a Mama, Wife, Teacher, Writer and Creator of One OM at a time. She has been teaching and studying yoga since 2008 and has taught at studios in Syracuse, Boston and New York City. For two years her hOMe was wherever she, her husband Justin, their daughter Audrey and pug Oscar find themselves as they traveled for Justin's job on the national tour of Matilda the Musical. This way of living has really taught Sara that yoga and mediation requires nothing more than some time and a space for your mat. You can find Sara teaching regular classes in NYC, workshops and retreats all over the country as well as in her very own online studio right here!