how we'd love for you to donate to us.
a letter from one of our co-directors.
As a generosity-based studio, it’s true that we rely on the donations you offer in order to continue providing sliding scale classes, retreats, trainings, and workshops.
That’s the case with most businesses: there’s a payment offered, and something rendered in return.
But what we’re trying to cultivate here at Swan River Yoga Arabi is just a little bit different.
Our studio was founded on the principle of seva, or service to others as a path to individual and collective freedom. Seva has to do with the attitude we take when we take care of our homes, our families, our community, and our planet. In seva, we don’t do acts of service because they make us feel or look good---quite the opposite. Seva can be humbling, hard, and according to the teachings, should be mostly invisible (in other words, we’re not looking for attention or accolades for doing good. We do it because we trust that it can free us from suffering).
In a similar vein, there are two attitudes you can take when you donate to the studio.
The first attitude is transactional. It’s shoving a couple dollars into the donation bin out of a sense of obligation or duty, because you feel like you’re supposed to. Or even letting pride sneak in when you donate because you’re donating and you don’t even have to, since this is “free” yoga. (Don’t worry if you recognize yourself in these scenarios. We all do!)
But there’s a second way to donate also. And the second way to donate is not about you at all. It takes a little more effort, but the second way to donate creates an opportunity for your mind to cultivate thoughtfulness, kindness, and seva. The second way is this: it’s recognizing that since our studio doesn’t require you to pay, you’re not actually paying your way at all. Your donation is creating the means for someone else to enjoy the studio.
So you make your donation an offering. You donate with the wish that all beings might have access to yoga, wellness, healing, and health regardless of their ability to pay for it. You donate with the hope that this space which has served you has the resources to continue serving others for a long time to come. You donate for someone else to be able to take class who might not be able to afford it.
Try it on for size. The next time you Venmo us, drop us a few dollars, or see your membership fees come out of your bank account, notice the immediate reaction in your mind. And then see if you can experience a shift in your attitude and turn that donation into an offering of love for someone else.
It doesn’t have to be much. You can try this with just a dollar. While we ask that your donation be meaningful to you, that meaning lies more inside your attitude than the amount. Can you turn that dollar into the potential for a community of uplifted, compassionate, loving beings? Can you turn that dollar into the potential to be freed from suffering? Can you turn that dollar into an offering to the type of world you wish to create?
We totally believe it’s possible. It’s why we devote so much love, time, and energy into this space: because we believe in a magical world of beings who support one another. Give it a try, and see how it feels in your own heart and mind. We think it’s worth a shot.