More than 24 million U.S. adults practiced yoga in 2013! This is a dramatic increase from 17 million people in 5 years. According to Mathew Schaser of Equity Engineering, "If the rate of growth continues, every American will be practicing yoga by the year 2032."
These statistics remind me of an amazing experience I had picking blackberries one summer. No matter how many berries we picked, thousands more matured the next day! This was one of the first times I consciously appreciated the abundance of the Universe. I opened up and fully embraced that what I need is always there.
While picking berries, I would sometimes get snarled in the thorns. I noticed that if I reacted and pulled away from my center, the thorns would meanly grab a hold of my skin. Its natural protection mechanism was there to remind me to appreciate the abundance being offered.
As millions more students find the mat, studios and teachers sometimes see other studios and teachers as fierce competition and forget that we live in an abundant Universe. Being genuinely happy for the growth and success of yoga, will ultimately create a larger pie for all involved. Fear that another teacher will steal their students is a natural defense mechanism, but this reaction away from center radically lowers the temperature of the abundance thermostat for all involved.
Virginia Postrel stated, "The abundance of information, goods, tastes, and sources of authority creates unparalleled opportunities for individuals to get exactly what they want. But this plentitude threatens authorities who believe in telling individuals what they can have rather than letting them choose for themselves."
While a good teacher can open the doorway to the infinite possibilities within the hearts of their students, a great teacher knows that it takes a village to support not just the individual but also the village. Wayne Dyer said, "Abundance is not something we acquire, it's something we tune into." Before we get caught in the circumstance of reacting to the growth of yoga and start quartering off the pie and getting prickly about who is encroaching on the territory, let's tune in to how we can make a larger pie for all to feast upon by opening to how we are all in this together.
Opening to the abundance mindset is to realize that millions of new students are finding their mats. Corporations like Aetna are implementing mindfulness and yoga programs. Yoga is now almost commonplace in schools, cultivating new yogis that will have a lifetime to embrace their practice by seeking out new studios, teachers, retreats etc. Even Medicare began coverage of cardiac rehabilitation programs that include yoga in 2012!
To be in alignment with the heart of the yoga practice is to remember the right students will find the right teachers. New students will forever be stepping into the practice. Seasoned practitioners will branch out and find new approaches to the practice through different teachers and they will never forget their favorite or first teacher.
So rather than seeing competition as something we need to guard against creating thorny circumstances that lead to exclusion, claim staking, and censoring, I suggest opening to the knowing that each student, teacher, studio etc. are important roots to the whole berry bush. Tune into the abundance of the Universe, embrace that what you need is always there, and actively support the growth of the yoga industry by supporting your fellow teachers on the path.
2014 Outlook for the pilates and yoga studio industry, Snews, December 2013
Google Trends for Yoga, June 3, 2015
USA Today, Ancient Practice of Yoga Now Growth Industry, March 3, 2015