New class fees policy

The Be Happy Yoga Project 

Class fees policy

There are two basic rates for all of our open yoga classes; one for people on low income (low income) and one for medium and above income (standard).

We ask you to be responsible for paying the appropriate fee as we accept everything on trust.  It can be difficult for people to judge where they fall on the spectrum financially, so we would ask you to take into account your unique individual circumstances.  For example, if you’re a retired person with a large pension and your own home, or a student whose parents pay all your living costs and provide a sizeable allowance, you’re probably not a concession. If you’re supporting other people financially on a modest income, you may be.  Another way of thinking about it might be to consider what you spend your income on each week.  If it is almost entirely made up of necessities, then you are probably the low income rate.  However, if you have plenty left over for entertainment, eating out at restaurants and buying luxuries then you would unlikely be.    

Some thoughts to bear in mind:

  • Classes have to be financially viable in order to take place.
  • This work is the way we make our living.
  • The giving and receiving of teaching is grounded in a balanced exchange of energies.
  • Among the ethical foundations of yoga are satya (honesty) and asteya (taking only what you need).


If you can realistically pay the full rate, please pay it. If you need the low income rate, then please take it.  We would always prefer you at the class paying the low income rate than not to have you there at all!

We are incredibly grateful to those of you who give the pay it forward rate as this enables those on low incomes to come to classes too!  Thank you.

Work exchange policy

If class fees are beyond your means, then it’s sometimes possible to arrange a work exchange. In this case we would ask you to make a commitment to the class and to the work. Please contact us to discuss if this is your situation. We may from time to time also invite individuals directly to participate in work exchange.

We are currently interested in work exchange with a professional photographer. 

Free community yoga courses

We offer a number of free community yoga courses each year aimed at marginalised groups.  Please contact us if you believe you fall within one of these groups and are interested in a place on one of these courses. 

Free 10 class passes

We understand that sometimes people are experiencing a difficult time in their lives physically, mentally and emotionally.  They may need yoga, but be unable to pay at all or feel that they have any energy to offer for a work exchange.  They may also not be categorised as in a marginalised group.  Please contact us directly if you are in this category as we may, from time to time, be able to offer free 10 classes for a small number of individuals who fit the above description.

Danielle & Michael

Ask a Yoga Teacher…

Our Ask a Yoga Teacher series continues with the following question.

 

Why don’t you play music during your yoga classes?

“While we know there are many people who enjoy listening to music while practicing yoga asana, the lineage we are trained in makes a habit of keeping classes music-free.  This is partially to create a calm environment that is as inclusive as possible (not everyone likes the same kinds of music or is in the same place emotionally or mentally in each class), and partially because we believe that music has a great potential to distract our students from the teacher’s instructions, and from their own internal experience.  Not having music in class is, in many ways, very similar to keeping one’s eyes closed during the practice (which we continually suggest).  Having one less avenue for the senses to engage with, more energy is freed up.  While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that there are benefits to one’s mood that can arise from listening to a well-curated playlist, our classes are set in silence in the hope that you will bring that extra energy towards looking at the mind, and towards learning to change your mood without external props.  The mind does not like silence.  It wants to be engaged and entertained.  By attempting to keep the class without distraction, we hope to create a space for our students to engage instead with their mind, to get a taste of the meditation for which the yoga asanas are only a preparatory exercise.” – Michael

 

 

Ahimsa and me:  A real life story

Last week Michael wrote about ahimsa and it got me reflecting on my own messy, awkward attempts at trying to incorporate ahimsa (non-violence/non-harm) into my own life.  As I sit down to write this, I realise that I can’t avoid talking about my relationship with vegetarianism; more specifically my departure from a vegetarian lifestyle.  This feels very uncomfortable, because I know it will be a great disappointment to some people I hold very dear.

To set the context – Up till summer 2015, I had been vegetarian for around about ten years. There were a few years at the beginning where I called myself vegetarian, but would occasionally eat a bit of meat.  Not good quality meat and not with much/any thought of where it had been sourced from.  I’m afraid to say that I’m talking Sunday morning low-quality pork sausages from a greasy spoon in East Belfast.

Going to my yoga teacher training (October 2006) changed all that.  I resolved to be strictly vegetarian and I was – for a very short while!  I don’t remember when I went back to eating fish, but I don’t think it could have been very long.  Actually, only a cursory probe into my memory banks reveals at least one memory of eating a fish taco in Mexico, less than a month after my YTTC.  

I started to admit to myself that I was really pescetarian.  About 11 months after that first fish taco, I ate fish and chips at a renowned joint in St Ives.  An hour or so later, I had agonising abdominal cramps.  That was the sign from the universe that I needed –  (I was big into that at the time!) – and so I gave up fish as well as meat.

This continued on for years and years.  When I met my husband Michael (at the ashram where I had originally taken my YTTC) I had assumed he was vegetarian too.  We were committed yogis after all and since all the food at the ashram was vegetarian, the issue just never came up.  So I was genuinely horrified and angry to discover that he was a devoted omnivore with zero intention of giving up meat – again!  It’s up to him to tell his story, but he had been vegetarian and even raw vegan in the past, and he wasn’t anymore.
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