What does yoga have to do with money? Two ethical precepts of yoga are do no harm and tell the truth. Both of these come in handy when considering our relationship with money and a consumer-based economy. There’s a highly insightful article from Yoga Journal that teaches us how we can apply these and other yogic principles to our financial habits.
A little taste:
Few Americans celebrate the devastation of individual lives, families, and local communities that occurs every time a corporation orders a mass layoff to bump up its stock price. But that didn’t stop us from cheering as our 401Ks swelled fabulously in the late 1990s—helped in part, yes, by layoffs. Given a simple choice on a ballot, most people would vote against polluted water, sweatshop labor, and global warming. But all three problems enjoy landslide victories every day at the checkout stand in the form of non-organic food, cheap clothing, leaf blowers, and other ethically questionable but popular products.
Almost everyone, it seems, gets a little crazy about money. Even the wealthy sweat about having enough, notes Brent Kessel, a certified financial planner and president of Abacus Wealth Management, Inc., in Pacific Palisades, California. For instance, some of his richest clients worry that the next market plunge will take their pricey lifestyle down with it, he says. And that’s exactly why Kessel, a longtime student of Ashtanga Yoga whose financial counseling is influenced by the Yoga Sutra, thinks money is an underrated spiritual tool. “It can become a bell of awakening in your spiritual practice just by watching how you react to it,” he says. “Where am I holding tension in my body as I do this transaction, pay bills, watch my portfolio increasing or decreasing? All of these are just opportunities to be conscious. I think that’s my primary passion in my work—to use it that way.”
“…We can never be perfect. I’ll never know exactly how everything I’m consuming affects everyone along the chain, but I’ll do the best I can, without becoming neurotic, to decrease the impact I have on others through consumption.”
• Earning ethically
• Living lightly
• Voting with your dollars
• Investing from the heart
• Giving effectively
• Living in balance
Read the Yoga Sutras.