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What Paying for Yoga Makes Possible

Over lunch this week, a friend asked me what the ‘yoga equivalent’ of LinkedIn might be.

This question alone highlights a fascinating lens into the perception of yoga, don’t you think?

Instagram, was my answer.


It got me thinking about communication in a social, global world varies from platform to platform, and profession to profession. Rather than highlighting homogeny, it presented an opportunity for reflection and introspection.

My LinkedIn profile has a number of my various ways of being in the world, including yoga. Including that I am the Director of Yoga at the world’s tiniest yoga studio, which is a position almost no one knows what to do with (including me). On LinkedIn, we have the opportunity to endorse others for their skill and prowess, and this imparts a level of certainty when folks are looking to hire employees or consultants. Rather than counting ‘likes’ and comments, LinkedIn is a network that one can explore. If someone writes an endorsement, one can then see who is endorsing and what they do, and so on, adding (or dissolving) credibility.

Instagram does not offer this. Rather than the quality of connections, it seeks the volume of interactions among accounts, which may be owned by a person or a bot. This is not evil – in fact – I enjoy Instagram for many reasons, including that I get to explore visual worlds shared by National Geographic and NPR, and I get to listen to folks whose lived experience is different from mine. I don’t need to engage as a professional here – I get to explore and wander as a consumer and a contributor. Although, I do a mix of both.

On Tuesday, I stepped in last minute to sub a prenatal yoga class, in which there were two students. At the end of the practice, one student said, “This was the singular most important yoga class of my life,” and the other one sent me an email Friday saying, “I’ve been raving about your class – telling everyone I run into.” 

I am not writing this to toot my own horn.

I am, however, curious about the intersection of these phenomena.

Since 2000, with a few blips off of the radar, I have studied birth. I have danced among medical-adjacent roles, taught thousands of pregnant and postpartum folks, invested TENS of thousands of hours and dollars in training. I hope **to god** that I have synthesized something of benefit. Something that is informed both by the biology of the phenomenon and the philosophy of yoga.

Something fucking wonderful.

What I offer doesn’t really have a name or a category, and it has felt absurd to talk about it on LinkedIn, where the suits live.

It has felt hollow on Instagram, as I don’t have any images of my own pregnant body to demonstrate my lived experience, nor have I taken **any** photographs of the births or the deaths I have attended. There isn’t a way to respect the privacy and the sacredness of the worlds I walk while visually representing the spiritual belay. My friend Cynthia calls me a ‘quantum acrobat’ which feels like the most accurate way to describe holding and bending time and space.

I’m sharing this with you today, because I have found myself increasingly irritated by my interaction with Instagram and yoga. Not the yoga body porn, but the bizarre dichotomy of ‘DM me for a buddy pass’ alongside ‘please come pay $2,000 for a week of luxury with me on this inaccessible retreat where we will leverage underpaid workers in an economy far from home and drop mind altering substances.’

Why are we advertising free yoga?
Why are we funding this with extractive retreats?
What are we DOING?

Adorable of me to get irritated by this, right?!


The students who took my prenatal class this week each paid $20 for the hour long session. The student I counseled through a pregnancy loss paid me nothing. This week’s personal economy was fueled by the compassionate offering of paid work for something outside my dharma, and the generosity of students who could not attend a workshop last week but paid anyway. Last year’s 1:1 clients. The students attending the other classes and yoga teacher training whose dollars contribute to my salary.

This is why I implore you to pay for yoga if and when possible*. To seek out studios with ethical leadership, or platforms that pay their teachers in earnest, and to pay the full price of admission, not to engage in predatory platforms that harvest from this economy and sink the ships of yoga studios. Maybe the class you take will not by the singular most important class of your life, but your contribution into the ecosystem will surely make that possible for someone else. Someone who is precariously close to the edge of desperation.

This is what paying for yoga makes possible.

Thanks for reading,

*this is not intended to shame or remove access to yoga for those who are financially marginalized. Yoga pricing and economics are complex, nuanced, and in some ways paradoxical. This invitation is for those who have the means to pay to practice discernment about where and why and how the share their financial excess in service of the greater good.

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