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Was hat Dana im Yogaladen verloren – Spendenbeiträge? About Dana and Donation-Based Yoga Classes

Meet Dana – not the singer of the band Gaiatrees that I met at a meditation teacher training last year and who will hopefully soon have a mantra singing event at Yogaladen. No, it is the Buddhist practice of giving and strongly related to our “pay as much as you can” concept at Yogaladen. We often get asked why we don´t just sell 10-class-passes or monthly memberships – here is one attempt to explain why it may make sense to meet Dana.

Let me start with money, this concept that occupies a lot of time at my other job in the financial industry. What is its purpose? In effect, it is an attempt to objectively measure the value of something RELATIVE to everything else. This relative value is for everyone to see and makes it easier to do business. What is the result? Our interactions involving money become exactly that, business transactions: I give you this (product) ONLY IF you give me that (amount of money).

consumer democracy vs dana im Yogaladen

As a result, the way we spend our money is a clear reflection of our values. Every time we choose to eat at McDonald´s or the local bakery, we make a clear statement: “I currently value your product more than someone else´s and support your business practices and the way you treat employees, shareholders, farmers to the environment”. We participate in a form of “democracy”: every Euro in the pocket is one vote. By spending money, we cast our votes.

Very much in contrast to business transactions, Dana in buddhism is the practice of giving without expecting something in return. It is strongly related to the ideas of sharing, donating, and the personal quality of generosity. Therefore, Dana is NOT: throwing a coin to a beggar to finally get him to leave you alone, or giving out of fear of disapproval, to gain a good reputation, or to return a favor (repaying debt). So Dana is not payment for goods and services rendered, but given from the heart. Here, we make important statements to ourselves and the world:

(1) we choose to support something we love rather than buy something we (think we) need.

(2) we send a clear message to the universe and ourselves: I have enough!