The Shift of a Gift

Feb 16, 2022


I have a lot of warm socks. But this pair is different from all the others in my drawer because it was knitted for me as a gift from a student.
Isn’t it true that when you receive something as a gift you have a different relationship with it than a similar item that you’ve paid for? 
In her insightful and heartening book, Braiding Sweetgrass, indigenous scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about her experience of picking wild strawberries from the field as a young girl and considering them gifts from nature. She recalls how different and odd it felt when she saw the same type of strawberries for sale at the market. 
Although yoga isn’t, and has never traditionally been, exchanged as a gift in the usual sense, I think there are some useful parallels to be drawn from this analogy.
Originally, the practices and teachings of yoga were passed down from teacher to student through established rites and lineages. Things are very different now, in many ways for the better. Yoga is widely available to almost everyone in some form, which is wonderful because so many more people can benefit from it. In the present-day context, it is also appropriate and necessary for professional teachers to receive fair payment in exchange for their teaching. 
Yet, in the process of becoming more equitable and accessible, yoga can sometimes be treated more like a commodity to be sold and purchased rather than a gift to be shared and valued. This can affect how we approach the practice and the benefit it brings to our lives.

How would your relationship with yoga shift if you viewed your practice as a gift? 


Read more from the Beyond Asana blog