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.