You’ve heard the phrase “the rich get richer.” The “poor get poorer” follow-up is so understood, it’s rarely spoken. While the phrase may or may not be true in the material world, I am here to tell you, it’s absolutely true in the world of wellness and yoga. The people that consistently show up for yoga once-a-week or more enjoy the lion’s share of the benefits. They seem to move gracefully and mindfully through the poses, are unafraid of new challenges and have an overall sense of ease, both on and off the mat. They rarely miss class (don’t they have anything better to do?). To the casual, sporadic yogi trying to make peace with a body full of tension and integrate a scattered mind, it hardly seems fair!
So how do the rich get so rich—in yoga? It’s simple: They show up. Friends in from out of town? They bring the friends along. Deadlines? Instead of managing the stress Facebooking on the sly or grabbing a candy bar, they come to class. Wealthy yogis don’t make routine doctor appointments during yoga class. They don’t volunteer to help out a friend during yoga class; besides, their real friends all know they have yoga during that time and wouldn’t dream of imposing!
Over time, the “rich” yogis build momentum. You’re familiar with the time value of money; well, there’s a time value of yoga. Your principle re-invests and keeps paying larger dividends. That said, you know if you miss a week or two and don’t make it up somehow, it’s like an early IRA withdrawal and your earlier contributions are penalized. Savvy yoga investors don’t get sick as much, so they don’t miss class because they’re sick. They don’t get injured as much so they don’t miss class due to tears, pulls, sprains. In fact, they don’t miss LIFE as much. The “poor” yogis go in fits and starts, missing class due to illness, injury, doctor and PT appointments, and yes, even hair appointments (newsflash: your hair is dead!). Once they miss a few weeks, they disappear. And the rich get richer…
Notice there was no mention as to the abilities of the “rich” yogis. Some are naturally flexible, most are not. Some are athletes, many are not. Some of the “richest” students have major issues—issues that could make for some handy excuses : 45-degree scoliosis curvature, cancer, vertigo, bursitis, sleep apnea, panic attacks, heart issues, artificial knee/hip, pushin’ 90, caregiver of small children/spouse/animal, saving the world, looking for a job, losing a job, running a company, rescuing dogs, early onset Alzheimer’s (good news: the muscles remember what the mind forgets IF you have strong practice). Yet, somehow, these captains of commitment SHOW UP! I marvel and rejoice when I see them walk through the door, week after week, year after year. We’re family—the best kind—the supportive kind!
So how can you be a “Rich” yogi? It’s not simple, but I’ve seen people elevate up from the yoga ghetto to solid middle class and even on to “mat mogul.” 😉 You won’t have to change your body, but you’ll have to change your mind to implement the Top-10 Habits of RICH yogis:
- They “advertise” their yoga commitment to friends and family and thereby reduce the chance someone will attempt to impose on that time.
- They make-up missed classes/ weeks by going to an extra class.
- They often shoot for twice per week, so if they absolutely have to miss, they’ll at least have gotten to one class.
- They don’t schedule appointments during class—not for anyone, be it the “best” brain surgeon or best hair stylist.
- They simply say they have an “appointment” with a serious tone if they feel the other party won’t understand the gravity of their commitment.
- They have learned to disappoint others some of the time so they don’t have to constantly disappoint themselves.
- They come to class even if they don’t feel 100%–sniffles, tired, sprained something—we’ll put you on an island and work around it.
- They do yoga when they travel, either on their own, or they find a class – it’s great way to meet people!
- They often make friends in class or invite their friends to join their class; this adds a social dimension as well as accountability.
- They don’t arbitrarily “take a break” and miss a session because they’re going to be “busier”—that means you need more yoga, not less!
It’s a simple allocation-of-resources issue: where you put the resources for those 2 hrs a week– that’s what grows. If you put them into grooming, you’ll look great, but you won’t have the benefits of yoga. If you put them into socializing, you’ll have even more invitations that get in the way of your yoga class, but you won’t have the benefits of yoga. If you put them in to working late, your boss will have even higher expectations for your working late in the future. If you put them into helping others, you’ll have even more pleas for help and feel even more overwhelmed. If you put them into your kids, your kids will have no model for self-care and an inflated sense of importance—there’s a reason why, in a plane crash, parents are instructed to put their own oxygen masks on FIRST!
Finally, don’t think you need to miss your weekly yoga class once in a while to keep “balance” in your life—your weekly class IS THE BALANCE. It’s the anecdote to all the physical and mental negativity in our lives. Miss it and all that negativity just accumulates. You wouldn’t want your trash collector to come every other week or once per month. Be as conscientious with your health as you are with your trash! Plan for your wellness as well as you plan for your finances—all that money won’t matter without your health, mobility and quality of life.
PS. If you’re wondering about the bear, it came up when I googled “rich yogi” so I went with it! That’s Yogi Bear and is buddy Boo Boo, not to be confused with Honey Boo Boo.