Gawker adorably refers to them as the “funemployed,” the group of laid off and seemingly well-off citizens who are grabbing this unemployment thing by the horns and making the most if it. (yep, Gawker again. twice in on week. this yoga thing must be huge). The New York Times published an article today about how some Ashrams are seeing a surge in attendance recently due to people who’ve been laid off and are seeking escape and/or change of pace. It is likely a few yippies (yoga yuppies) are to blame! What? Did you want them to just go to class in Soho every day?
But man, these Ashrams sound fantastic…$300-900 a month for 3 square meals, awesome activities like biking and yoga on a beautiful country landscape free from the burdens of urban life, all in exchange for “light chores” like washing dishes, chopping veggies or sweeping floors. Easy! Wonderful!
The Himalayan Institute sounds like a dream: for $875 you get a private room, 3 veggie meals a day, morning meditation, hatha yoga classes, a breathing and relaxation practicum, and all you’re responsible for is about 4 hours of easy chores. woohoo!
Oh. hm. That’s only for the 28-day self-transformation program?
Er, mind you, these jaunts are not for the cash-strapped low-income yogis, or teachers even. So for most of us who can barely pay rent let alone accumulate this obscure thing called “savings” these days, be forewarned, you are NOT paid for your work at the Ashram and credit card bills will not magically pay themselves no matter how much you meditate on it. You may, however, gain personal insight and growth, something totally worth it if you happen to have a few thou’ lying around and spare time to make a “a righteous contribution.” Cause it’s the Recession people, not the deee-pression. (wonder if they’ll accept food stamps)
Well it’s either the humble Ashram, or the acceptable retreat to paradise. Choices, choices.
So could you say this retreat/Ashram business is… booming? Expect more retreats and Ashrams of the sort popping up in a town near you!…we can hear the marketing minds of lulu lollies already churning.
And hey, at least it’s one thing the state can’t force regulation on…for now.
The article also mentions weekend treks up to Ananda Ashram, in Monroe, NY, which the Times writers seem to love since they’ve written about it several times (The Simple Life Dec 08; Day Trip: A Spirit-Friendly Retreat in the Catskills June 08)
Hard Times are Jamming the Ashrams [NYTimes]
Earlier Time: Yep Yogis are Yuppies!