Yoga and Abundance Theory

In the last couple days I have been a part of several conversations about yoga that all had an interesting premise – that yoga operates on a “zero-sum game” premise.  Here are a few examples:

“There’s already a studio in that city…won’t the owners of the old one be pissed if there’s a new one moving in?”

“Oh, he’s having trouble progressing in his teaching because the woman in his area won’t let him get to the next step because she doesn’t want to share her students.”

Hmm.  Not unfortunate that people make these comments/observations, but unfortunate that such a mindset is so prevalent.  It presupposes that there is a set amount of people practicing yoga, that is unlikely to change.  If a new studio or a new teacher gets going, the business or the person merely splits the existing student population and everything is diluted.

This is not unlike an analogy that Noah Mazé used in the workshop I took with him today.  Couples have one child, love it so very much, and then wonder if they have another if they will be forced to divide their love between the two.  Most parents will tell you that this is ridiculous; that they just increase the amount of love existing in their lives and love the both of them enormously and fully.  They might even argue that the presence of and love of the second one increases the amount of love they have for the first one, and in doing so, increases the amount of love in their lives.  In which case, it looks like love is something we can always make more of, as Noah emphasized today.

So what else works like that?  Seems like energy does.  As I rambled about in my last blog, it seems like there is an infinite supply of that – so long as we realize we are drawing on it and borrowing it, and not being so egotistical as to believe that we are the source and creator of it.  Seems like some other emotions – happiness, empathy, generosity, even anger, greed, and jealousy might work like that.  There can be more, if you want there to be.  These feelings can multiply exponentially on themselves, like viruses (for good or ill).

But what about yoga students?  And food?  And the big one…WEALTH?

Here’s a different perspective on the yoga student one.  What if the second studio moves to town and has a totally different advertising strategy, and a bunch of people from a very different social group start going there.  They never went to the original studio; didn’t even know it was there.  But now that they are into their once per week class at the new place, they find out there’s another studio that has been around for a while and check it out.  They like the class they went to there, but they like the original class too, so they just decide they are going to go twice a week instead of once.  And they tell some friends.  And before you know it, everyone in town knows what yoga is, even if they aren’t doing it, it becomes a part of the town’s culture.  The result is more overall people doing yoga.  Perhaps they don’t split the existing group at all.  In this model, competition breeds more for everyone.  It could easily work that way with competing teachers as well.  Maybe having two around encourages both to be better, and to support each other in this effort, and their students grow with them.  Just like love can multiply, so can yoga.

Which leads to the big question, can wealth multiply?  I must admit, I am less sure about this one.  I certainly was raised to believe that where one person gains, another one loses.  But recent theory suggests otherwise.  For example, someone invents a software application unlike any others, and makes a lot of money off of its sales.  Perhaps some of that money spent by the consumers would have spent on books or CD’s, so the bookseller might be losing.  But perhaps the existence of that innovative application spurs someone else to develop another new application that piggybacks on it.  Or the application is so popular the inventor needs to hire ten people to manage the growth…which creates more wealth for more people.

These ideas are part of the basis of what is called “Abundance Theory” – the opposite of the “Theory of Scarcity,” which a lot of us were raised on.  It’s a worthwhile exercise to try to look at the world through this lens of abundance – and it’s not easy, either.  I’m trying.  Maybe start with love, and then take it from there.  Let me know how it goes.

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~ by bridgetannlyons on March 5, 2011.

4 Responses to “Yoga and Abundance Theory”

  1. So beautiful, Bridget!

  2. Love it. I absolutely believe in the power of abundance to multiply. I have proven it in my life over and over, even more so since I’ve become an Anusara devotee. 🙂

    • Thanks for the support! Sometimes people think you’re crazy to try to hold true to an abundance perspective, especially if you live in a town where businesses keep closing, and people keep moving away. Bolsters from afar sure help!

  3. Beautiful! True light spoken and received. Thank you. Namaste.

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