Buddhists believe that giving without seeking anything in return leads to greater spiritual wealth. Dana is a concept in Buddhism that means generosity or giving. It is also the practice of cultivating generosity. Ultimately, the practice culminates in one of the perfections (pāramitā): the perfection of giving. It is characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.

Many Buddhist retreats operate on the concept of dana. My yoga and meditation training at Spirit Rock operated on a sliding scale fee basis and on the last day you also gave what you could afford to pay to all the teachers and staff.

I was inspired to write after reading Blisschick’s post on her installation of a donation button on her blog. Like Blisschick, I don’t have ads on this blog and also like her, I have written many words over five years — this is my 400th post! — and very much appreciate the relationships I have developed because of this blog.

More than a few people have written to me over the years about how inspired they were by my words (“I thought I was the only one to feel this way!”) or how I have helped their yoga practice in some way (for example, my many posts on yin yoga.) This blog is a global teaching tool just as much as my yoga classes are locally.

An old friend told me just the other day that my knowledge is valuable and she suggested that I write a book. She thought it would be shame if I did not put my unique yoga philosophy, my teachings, down in a book because, she said, “You are special, what you have done is special, and once you are gone, who will carry on your teachings? They will be lost.”

My friend wrote a book containing her family recipes because she wanted to share her knowledge, she thought it valuable enough. More importantly, she valued herself enough to do that.

Her words reminded me of what the teachers told us at KYM: that we should spread our knowledge, because if we did not, we would be nothing more than thieves, taking but not giving.

So, like Blisschick, my time and energy and words and experiences are worth something, and I have had a Paypal donation button on the right side for some some time now. If some bloggers can ask their readers to help pay for their yoga teacher training, then I will also graciously accept and appreciate your dana, gratitude, and love offerings. A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to the readers who have donated a few rupees over the years! Of course, readers are free to ignore the donation button, it’s your choice.

But if you have benefited in some way or learned anything from this blog in five years, then consider what that knowledge — indeed, the wisdom of an ageless hippie chick Buddhist yogini — has been worth to you.

Metta to all my readers!

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dana, gratitude, and love offerings accepted

As a practicing Buddhist, I’m all about dana (pronounced “donna”) — “unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.” that is how I make payment at Spirit Rock Meditation Center for my Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation training.

in my last post, bindifry made some very pithy comments about students showing gratitude to their teachers, and I agree 150% with her:

“part of the yoga path is gratitude. it is very important to express that to your teacher.

something most yoga students do not understand. often we are left quite empty. many students never even say “thank you” after a class. it’s sad, really.

I study with an amazing Aussie teacher. part of her teaching is a gratitude circle at the end of the cycle. everyone sits in a circle and must show gratitude to the teacher.

and when you receive shakti from your guru, the respectable thing to do is kneel before him and touch his feet. it’s dharma.”

“I just find it quite alarming how many students, rather than saying “thank you” instead say things like “why didn’t i get more adjustments? i paid my money just like everyone else”

sorry, but yoga teachers are also human beings…people need to be educated about etiquette. other cultures do not have this issue at all, as teachers are considered the highest form of professions.”

“yoga teachers are people like the students and that for students to say “thanks” goes a long way, even though i have learned to live without the gratitude. students don’t tell their teachers thanks or even acknowledge them as their teachers far too often. they do not know that gratitude, like santosha, is part of yoga.

“everyone sits in a circle and must show gratitude to the teacher” — how many of you can honestly say you would feel comfortable doing that? I know that many Americans have a hard time wrapping their mind around the idea of their yoga teacher being their “guru”, but that’s Ego, pure and simple. and fear. “guru” is Sanskrit for teacher, someone who has “great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and uses it to guide others.” nothing more, nothing less.

I believe that lack of gratitude or lack of acknowledgment is definitely an American/Western thing. it’s not that way in India. this American yoga teacher has no problem whatsoever touching the feet of my teacher, an Indian from Chennai who was an original trustee of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, when he comes to teach in Chicago. I wrote about my own feelings about being a good student here.

so it gets my thong in a knot when I write about pay for yoga teachers and I’m told to “be content” or have “santosha”, just accept what is given or not given to you. I DO have santosha, in fact, I feel I am blessed to be able to teach yoga. but like bindifry says, yoga teachers are also human. think about that.

I am blessed to be teaching now at a studio where if two students show up, they thank me for being there, for driving 45 minutes and spending my time with them. this is in stark contrast to the studio where I used to teach where the upper middle-class women had a huge sense of entitlement.

support your local yoga teacher and show her or him some love. that’s all I’m saying.

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