If we went to an Ashram or a yoga school and found that it is a very good place with good teachers, convenient facilities and conducive environment for learning and practicing yoga, naturally without the people in the Ashram or yoga school asked us to recommend the Ashram or the yoga school to anyone, and without any intention to expect any kind of incentive in return, we will recommend other people who are interested in learning and practicing yoga to go there, but we will never ask for any commission from the Ashram or yoga school for us to do this, nor will we ask for any discounted fees for ourselves to be taking courses there.
As yoga or yoga courses is not a business trading object. It is not like because we like the service from a massage spa centre and we are motivated to recommend it to other people, but we expect the massage spa centre to give us some commission in return or expect them to give us special rate on our future visits for their services. Then this action of recommending something good to other people is not genuine anymore. There are selfish motives or intention behind the action of recommendation, even though it is something good.
We never went to a massage spa near our yoga studio. But due to many of our retreat guests went there before, and had very nice experience, we would recommend it to any other of our guests who ask for recommendation for a good massage spa. We never received any commission from the massage spa centre for us to recommending so many people to go there for massage. We never intend to ask any commission from them, nor do we expect them to recommend anyone to come to us for yoga retreats, nor expect them to give us some sort of discounted rate for us to use any of their services. We recommend it because it has good reputation. If it has bad reputation, we won’t be recommend it to anyone, even if they want to give us commission or discount. We do not ask nor expect anything in return for recommending something good to anybody.
If we are looking for some sorts of commission or discounted fees from the Ashram or yoga school by recommending people to go there, as we think that yoga and yoga courses is like a business trading object or service, then we don’t really know what yoga is about (even though we have been practicing ‘yoga’ for a long time). We had no idea what is the yoga practice about selfless service, compassion, loving kindness, generosity, true charity, non-attachment, intention-less, non-expectation and renounce the fruit of action.
It is great virtue and merit for anyone to be supporting an Ashram or yoga school to run yoga courses or classes, to allow other people to be learning and sharing the greatness of yoga, provided that if they give their supports without attachment, without expectation towards any rewards or incentives in return.
An Ashram, or a yoga school doesn’t sell yoga, or wisdom, or compassion, or peace, or liberation. They can only provide teachers, teachings, disciplines, schedule or program, methods, guidance, supports, facilities and conveniences to the people to be learning and practicing yoga. It is up to the people’s own responsibility, discipline, effort and sincere practice, to realize or attain yoga, or wisdom, or compassion, or peace, or liberation.
The fees or donations from the people is not a business exchange of selling and buying a product or service, but mainly to support the cost or expenses that couldn’t be avoided in providing such courses, facilities, conveniences and environment to allow ourselves and other people to be learning and practicing yoga and become our own teacher. At the same time we also provide some supports to the teachers who need to support their own living and perform their own practice. What a great merit, even if we do not greed for attaining any merits by performing great virtue.
I never asked for any discounted rate for the fees of the yoga courses in the Ashram or from any other yoga schools when I didn’t have enough money to pay for the total expenses in the beginning, including course fee, flight ticket and visa fees, and my parents living and medical expenses. But I didn’t worry, and the money came to me on time when I needed it for paying all the expenses to go to the Ashram in India to learn and practice yoga. As I know yoga or the ‘fees’ for the yoga courses is not something to be negotiate nor trade about. It is not like we paid some money to a hotel for a hotel room, and expect certain types of service that worth ‘how much we had paid’ in return.
If we don’t have strong self-discipline to follow the tight schedule and curriculum, if we don’t have will-power and determination to forbear any difficulties or discomforts physically, mentally, or emotionally that arise in the process of purification, we will give up easily, or drop out and not finishing the course, no matter how much money we had paid for the course or it is a free course.
Especially in real yoga practice about eliminating the egoism is really not a very pleasant experience, it’s not like going to a spa massage which is about paying for a service that will give us momentary enjoyment and pleasant experiences, but it doesn’t help us to eliminate the egoism, craving and aversion, but in fact, it is empowering them.
Attending ‘real’ yoga courses is not about chasing after pleasant experiences, or learning to do a few challenging yoga asana poses. It is about letting go of craving towards pleasant experiences and aversion towards unpleasant experiences. It’s about letting go of pride and arrogance towards what we think we know about ourselves and things. It’s about letting go of what our mind believes what things are. There will be lots of discomforts and aversion manifested physically, mentally and emotionally during the purification process of eliminating the egoism, impurities and ignorance.
If we are able to forbear and withstand all these discomfortable manifestations that arise in our yoga and meditation practice, and be determined to continue the practice until we realize the truth, we will realize the unconditional joy and peace that comes from realizing the truth of things and ourselves, and being free from attachment, ignorance and egoism, craving and aversion, cause and effect, birth and death. There’s no fear and worry, anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment, hurtful thinking and feelings, or painful sorrow and suffering.
If our yoga students or retreat guests feel that the yoga courses or retreats were very good for them even though they had to forbear some discomforts during the course, and naturally recommending the yoga courses or retreats to other people, not because with the intention to bring us more ‘business’, and not because with the intention to get some incentive, commission or discount, but to allow other people to be sharing something really meaningful, then this type of recommendation is welcome.
If somebody says to us, “I love your yoga course/retreat. I will write you a very good review about my experience in your yoga course/retreat, and recommend other people to come to your place, but how much commission or discount can you give me in return?” We will tell them, we don’t need ‘good’ reviews that are not genuinely coming from the heart, nor interested in advertising the yoga courses or retreats to bring in more ‘business’.
You may read about the story about why and how I went to India to learn and practice yoga with this link – https://mydailyyogapractice.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/my-life-stories-part-6/