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Ask the Yogacist: What Are the Rules of Yoga Teacher Gift Giving?

in The Yogacist, YD News

yogacist-logoDear Yogacist:

I have a holiday dilemma. I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years off and on and just recently connected with a teacher who is amazing and has brought my practice to another level. With the holidays coming up and all, I thought that I should show my profound gratitude for my teacher with a gift. The only problem is, I’m not sure it’s acceptable to give yoga teachers presents, and if it were, I have no idea what to give! What is the proper etiquette for yoga teacher gift giving? Please help!  – Sincerely, Presently Puzzled

Dear Presently Puzzled

Aw, isn’t that sweet! First thing’s first, almost everyone enjoys appreciation! Should you feel obligated to give a material gift? Of course not. But since in your case you’d like to, whether it’s acceptable has to do with why you’re presenting the gift, and of course, if the actual gift is in good taste. No mesh leotards for the yoga teach ok? To fully answer your question we’ve consulted the best resource on the planet, the interwebs, in search of the very best in gift giving etiquette. Because, let’s face it, we can all use a refresher! So when it comes to gift giving in general, a very important thing to remember is, as with etiquette, it’s not about you! It’s all about the other person. In deciding whether or not to give a gift, consider the object of your appreciation, in this case your yoga teacher, and take into account how they may react to such a gesture. If there is any doubt, leave it out! Of course, this will also help you decide what to give.

Here are a few simple rules: #1 give within your means – no need to break the bank. Maybe Santa Bikram gives Rolexes, but you don’t need to! Besides, there’s rule #2 give from the heart – some of the best gifts can be homemade treats, or heartfelt cards. And of course #3 give without expecting to receive – especially to your teacher, who shares the gift of yoga with you each class. You’re showing your appreciation, so give without expectations, and let that their joy be your gift in return.

mystery-giftNow to what kind of gift. Here are a few ideas that won’t break the bank, and won’t leave you feeling awkward: a favorite book you think they’d enjoy; a gift card to book store, coffee shop or local business you know they frequent; a potted plant in honor of your growth in learning. Whatever you choose, be sure to attach a thoughtful handwritten note. Sometimes even just a card can speak volumes! By the way, you may want to skip alcohol as a gift, unless you know the teacher well and are sure they’re keen on the sauce. Remember, yoga is your connection, but it doesn’t have to be a “yoga gift”!

However, if you’d like to stay on a theme, so to speak, a few items from the YD Holiday Gift Guide can lend some inspiration: The Good Card, Ayurveda Vata Nurturing Sampler Pack, a #yogadork t-shirt!

Do you have more ideas? Add them in the comments!

Have a question or quandry? email The Yogacist at yogacist@yogadork.com

The Yogacist will be a recurring weekly column featured (almost) every Tuesday on YogaDork.com – to entertain, to educate, to let you know you’re not alone!

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6 comments… add one
  • Thank you for this post, I was just wondering the same question!

  • as a teacher, I would be happy with a sincere, look-me-in-the-eyes, heartfelt “thank you.”

  • Thank you for this. I tweeted you sometime Thanksgiving and asked you to address this question and I thought you just totally dissed the issue. Now I have some good guidelines. Namaste.

  • while i teach yoga without any kind of expectation of gifts or rewards (seriously!), on my final class before my winter break i was pleasantly surprised to receive a few presents from students: kefir, a bottle of white wine, and a homemade yoga mat bag.

    as a yoga teacher, it can be difficult to get a sense of what kind of impact i have on people’s lives. but these little tokens of appreciation left me glowing for days.

  • This past week one of the students in my free class asked if she couldd give me something. I thanked her for her consideration and said simply by bringing a friend to class each week that was gift enough. She said, “No.” Going on to explain, she recognized the time and effort that go into a class and since she enjoyed it so much wanted to make a vinyl lettering for my home (its one of her hobbies/businesses) I was thrilled and will gratefully accept her gift at our last class next week. That little act of recognition will keep me teaching the class for another year.

  • Diane

    I do very much appreciate these gifts from students although they are never expected. At the holidays, if I can get my stuff together, I give to my students a little gift to them – this time were herbal sachets that I make. This is my way of thanking them. I’m learning from them day and day out and they have made me a better teacher.

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