Is it WRONG to Earn Money Helping People with Ayurveda?

By on June 18, 2012

We recently received a couple of comments on our Facebook page that surprised me, but I was really glad to have this brought to my attention:

“The first mistake in an Ayurveda practice is accepting money for something that was meant to be free! Human to Human. This is a very important point when it comes to healing people.”

“I agree…He is absolutely right. I’d like to ‘unlike’ your page, how do I do that? No harm intended, but it isn’t healthy to think of or practice Ayurveda as a business, or to think of making money from the needs and suffering of others.”

I figured that if two people said it, there must many others who also feel that way…and there’s probably at least a little bit of that in all of us since I haven’t met a single Ayurvedic practitioner or Yoga therapist (myself included) who started studying Ayurveda and Yoga because they thought it would be a great way to get rich! We get into this because of a passion for health and consciousness and a desire to meaningful purposeful work that helps people.

I’ll share a few thoughts on this, and then I’d love to hear from YOU. So please leave a reply at the bottom of this post and let us know your thoughts on this topic.

Money is currently our main medium for valuing things in our society…it’s a vote for our priorities. The U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent survey showed that the top areas where Americans spend money are:

  • Housing – 34.43%
  • Transportation – 15.61%
  • Food – 12.99%
  • Insurance – 11.15%
  • Everything Else – 10.45%
  • Health Care – 6.37%
  • Entertainment – 5.49%
  • Clothes and Services – 3.52%

The fact is that when we spend money on something, we’re more likely to value it, and when we invest in our health and consciousness we are prioritizing these areas of our life so that we are more likely to make important changes. Investing in a health program is actually an essential part of following through and getting results!

I also know that unless a wave of independently wealthy individuals decide they want to start offering free professional Ayurveda services to the public, practitioners are going to continue to need to charge for their services, and that when practitioners approach their practice as professionals with professional programs and professional rates, it’s easier for clients to feel confident in the value and trust enough to invest and get support transforming their health.

I’m obviously a fan and supporter of Ayurvedic practitioners and Yoga therapists being able to make a living doing the work they love. I believe it’s good for them, good for their clients, and good for their communities.

What do you think?

About Jacob Griscom

Jacob Griscom is the President of Everyday Ayurveda and Director of the Grow Your Ayurvedic Business program, the leading program for Ayurveda practitioners to grow thriving professional Ayurveda practices.

13 Comments

  1. janedanielsen@yahoo.dk'

    Jane

    June 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I totally agree with you, money is currency, good to raise our conciousness.I am training my mind to raise above poverty, and tell myself I am rich, it all start in the mind.

  2. lmroberts13@gmail.com'

    lynn roberts

    June 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Money is an exchange of energy. I am an Ayurvedic practitioner in Elkins Park PA. I have spent thousands of dollars for my training in Ayurveda. My clients understand that I put 120% of my energy into each case I work on, focusing on lifestyle, diet, herbs and energy/body work. I grow most of my herbs in my 10 year old perennial garden, then make teas, tinctures, vinegars, salves and ”medicine” with them, individually for each client. The clients I work with understand it takes time and money to do these things. They understand that trading a consultation with me for eggs or is not going to pay my mortgage. The information one receives in a session with me is priceless. You would not walk into a bookstore and ask the cashier for a free book, even if that book contained information everyone should know. My business is Ayurveda and it is the sole thing I do.

    In India, my teacher was the Ayurvedic healer and Swami of a community. In exchange for teaching and healing, the community supported him. They built him a house and brought him food, water, goods. This is the system of exchange yoga, Ayurveda and other Vedic traditions were built upon, and in many places in the East it still works this way. Unfortunately, in the West we do not do this and must rely on money to support us.

  3. this_is_for_nothing@yahoo.com'

    B

    June 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    My Jyotish guru and a man closer to God than I will ever know that there are five things that God decides.

    1) your spouse
    2) your children
    3) your education
    4) your money
    5) your time of death

    These are the things people constantly worry and hanker over. Just passing it along.

  4. kimberlygiunta@yahoo.com'

    Kimberly

    June 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I really resonate with what Lynn said. In addition, I offer my services pro-bono for 3 sessions per month in lieu of volunteering in my community in another capacity. It satisfies my need to give to someone who otherwise would not be able to afford my services. I also donate money to causes that I support which I would not be able to do if I didn’t earn any money.

    I think many people (myself included a times)associate earning money with a lack of virtue. This simply isn’t true, but there are plenty of wealthy people in the spotlight that (not to get judgemental but simply to illustrate the point)exemplify poor values, morals and spiritual depravity. And while there are wealthy individuals who are loving, modest, sincere, generous, non-violent and conscious, how often do we as a global community see them in the news?

  5. karmasherabwangchuk@yahoo.com'

    ksw

    June 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    it is not wrong to earn a living but if you want to live in the big house on the hill then probably it is better to find another profession

  6. renay@ayurastro.com'

    R

    June 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Carak, an ancient seer of Ayurveda, himself states that money is a necessary exchange between client and doctor.

  7. sbbaake@sbcglobal.net'

    Susan Baake

    June 19, 2012 at 6:06 am

    My experience was that Ayurveda is not free in India, any more than is any other profession. The practitioner must be able to pay his living expenses, and it does not seem reasonable to expect him to have much time to focus on Ayurveda if he has to earn his living doing something else.

    At the same time, since wellness is so central to the pursuit of a good life, I feel it is important for the vaidya to make his services accessible to as many people as possible at a fair price. The only question then becomes, “What is a fair price?.” I still struggle with that one.

  8. alena.kadidlova@gmail.com'

    Alena

    June 19, 2012 at 6:18 am

    I see that my clients do more best to change the habbits and getting better if they pay for it. When I did some sessions for free, almost everybody did not continue in the tasks what I gave them. So it is a good stimulant for people to take the advises serieus and do what is right for them….MOney give them the feeling that it is worth..

  9. painfree@lisabelisle.com'

    [email protected]

    June 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I agree with Susan and Alena. Not once did I recieve anything for free in India while undergoing a 4 month Ayurvedic Cleansing and training, I was actually looked at in the opposite way, as an ATM machine, my prices increased as the days went on.
    As per my business I try to keep my prices low enough for everyone to afford them, but also so that I can make a slight profit to continue my work and studies and to keep my lifestyle. I also give free lectures around the community and do monthly drawings and specials so that everone has a chance to experience the treatments. Also… if you ever work with Groupon, Living Social… so on.. this should be considered working for FREE! Just wrapping up my 300plus sales with Groupon, not fun!
    Alena hit it on the head and if there is no monetary value associated to a service or advice most people these days don’t put the effort into it and follow through, have seen this time after time.

  10. megan.murf@gmail.com'

    Megan

    June 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    It is so sad to me that some people feel that in order for our work as healers to be an offering of love, we must not receive money. It is so important that we also offer love to ourselves. Without that how can we ever offer love and support to others? If I offer all of my service without charge, I would be putting myself in a very unloving situation – being broke! I want to have compassion for all of my clients AND compassion for myself. I cannot give quality services if I, myself am depleted – financially, physically and emotionally. That means I must take responsibility for all those areas of my life. To me, that means I must charge for my services what I feel is in integrity with the quality of my offering – no more, no less.

  11. Ayurveda.ys@gmail.com'

    Sheila

    June 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Just as Ayurveda, there is no one way to achieve a goal. Giving encouragement tends to go farther than telling others how it is. Perception of circumstance changes as life around us and therefore ourselves change. As each of us lives, shall we perceive what is best for us and offer advice to those who seek it from us. I know I LOVE what Jacob is doing for those of us seeking his advice. I have two beautiful daughters and I feel Ayurveda is a part of me. There is only so much time in a day, I am thankful to spend my time doing Ayurveda, this can continue and I needed someone like Jacob to help me with the practical business aspect. I have not purchased anything from Jacob yet so he IS offering plenty free. From what I see so far, I am sure the entire program is well worth the exchange and when I am ready I would feel good supporting him and his family. I feel there is value in giving and receiving.

  12. Sylvie Barthelemy

    July 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    The idea that one should not charge for healing work belongs to centuries past, when one could live very decently without much of the stuff. As Jacob beautifully explains money is energy we get in exchange for the love/attention we give. And as Stuart Wilde would say ” life is energy money is energy and there is plenty of both!” i love money for how it enables me to love the world back. the more money i have the more i can give it away to people/programs/causes i support. .
    Here’s to a (better) world filled with rich, giving and compassionate healers!

  13. Joseph@ayurvedaremedies.co'

    Joseph Thomas

    July 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    There is nothing good about a society that runs out of money.

    Money is not spiritual… It just is.

    Making money an idol, is to lose sight of it’s purpose. The purpose that we give to it empowers it for the means we intend.

    All services between us should be compensated for, unless it is intended as charity.

    There is no medical profession in the world that comes with a pro-bono attachment.

    Why should Ayurveda?

    Great Comments!

    Respectfully,
    Joseph

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