Yoga Must Become a ‘Must'

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

In western countries there are thousands and thousands of yoga teachers who have been teaching yoga for over two, three or even four decades. Yoga has become their philosophy, their life, their behaviour and their livelihood. There are many thousands of yoga teachers in European countries whose main subsistence is yoga; they don't do anything else.

A compulsion has to be created in one's life so that one will not be able to do away with yoga. It is so easy to learn yoga from the Bihar School of Yoga but in two or three months it will be forgotten. Teachers have to create a situation where yoga is a ‘must'. Yoga has to become a ‘must'. Without it one must feel unable to survive either physically or economically.

To charge a fee

If in this ashram it was decided not to teach yoga, the ashram would be closed in a few months time. It couldn't survive. We have to teach yoga in order to survive. It has to be an economic as well as a philosophic compulsion. Yoga is a good, honest profession and one which has much to do with our ‘national indebtedness'. When I started Bihar School of Yoga many years ago, fifteen days expenditure was twenty-one rupees. Now it is about four hundred rupees.

All over India there was criticism for I was the first yoga teacher to charge. I decided that I had to do it. My guru-bhais (brothers), sannyasins and yoga teachers said, "Swami Satyananda sells yoga!" Today there is hardly any yoga institution which does not charge. If you want something to become stable, you have to dig it deep so that it does not move or flow away. You have to create a base for yoga in society. If you are a lawyer, a teacher or a doctor, do it by all means, but why not teach yoga? There are people in India who are hairdressers and they teach yoga in the morning. They charge for it, but of course they are capable yoga teachers. A yoga teacher should know about the laws of the mind and human emotions. He should be able to deal properly with his pupils.

—13 June 1988, Ganga Darshan, Munger