Monday, February 6, 2012

Why a million dollars isn't enough to be a yoga bum; a working title for my novel

Yesterday, I was hanging out with a few friends, and the classic million-dollar question came up: What would you do if you had a million dollars?

I replied that I would invest this money so that I can get reasonably good interest on it, and then use the interest to finance my dream yoga-bum lifestyle (basically, quit my day job, go wherever I want whenever I want, and practice and study yoga with whoever I want. Sounds neat, don't you think? :-)). I reasoned that if I can invest this money in some kind of account with, say, a five-percent interest rate, I would have an annual income of 50K. Not a lot, but I might be able to do a bit of traveling if I plan my finances properly.

Upon hearing of my plan, one of my friends, who is a finance geek (being an Ashtangeek, I tend to hang out with geeks of other sorts...), said, "Not to rain on your parade, Nobel, but I don't think your plan is going to work. First, with interest rates being as low as they are, and with little reason to believe that they will go up anytime soon, you'll be lucky to get even a 3 percent interest rate from any savings account with any bank in this country." He then went on to quote a bunch of facts about the Feds and how they are depressing interest rates, and a whole bunch of other things that went over my head. He then continued, "Moreover, with inflation being as high as it is, and showing no signs of letting up in the near future, your 50K (assuming, of course, that you do get 50K) is going to be worth less and less with every passing month."

Well, shows what I know about finance, right? Long story short: It looks like even if I have a million dollars, I still won't be able to be a yoga bum. Bummer...

Another friend suggested an alternative: In this day and age, if you want your million dollars to grow, you will probably have to become an entrepreneur. Maybe start some kind of yoga business with the money, and offer your yoga skills to the public. You're taking a risk, of course, but if you don't take a risk, you will never make money.

Okay... sounds good on paper. Except that I don't have any yoga skills to speak of... I mean, I do, but there is nothing I can do asana-wise that all the Kino MacGregors and David Swensons and Richard Freemans of the world cannot; if anything, they can easily kick my ass out the window in this area.

Of course, yoga is not just asana; I've heard that somewhere. But how does one go about marketing and entrepreneuring the other seven limbs of yoga? Beats me. If you know the answer, let me know. Then again, if you know the answer, you will probably be out there entrepreneuring and living the high yoga life. Would you even have the time of day for a nobody like me? ;-)

Ah, what is the world coming to, that one can't even live one's dream yoga-bum lifestyle with a million dollars in the bank! We must really be in the Kali Yuga, for things to be so messed up!


But lamenting and whining about things won't bring me any closer to actualizing my yoga bum lifestyle. Writing a best-selling novel (or, at least, starting to write a best-selling novel) might. After a little bit of thinking yesterday, I finally came up with a working title for my book (see this post). I'm going to tentatively title it

Ashtangeek: The Origins and Modest Aspirations of an Aspiring Yoga Bum

What do you think of this title? 

Here's my plan. I have set a goal to write something every week, and post an excerpt on this blog at least once a week. If you have any comments/feedback/constructive criticism, I'll love to hear from you. 

This way, I'll be able to finally get off my ass and start working towards yoga-bum-hood. 


  1. Is it me or your completely missing th point?

    You want to be capitalist or Yogi?

    If you want 50k per year, with one million you have got 20 years for you, let's say 25 with the interests
    moreover if you want to live a life, you'll probably end up living many years in India where 50k is more than enough

    Finally, if you live more than 20 years for yoga only, your goal would be to achieve enlightenment and leave behind your belongings and thus the rest of your precious million dollars

    I didn't want to be rude, but when people think only to keep a capital instead of undertaking their projects it drives me crazy specially (it maybe even if) the project is yoga ;-)

    1. I'm sorry that I drive you crazy :-) Perhaps it is true that once I achieve enlightenment, none of my belongings (including my precious hypothetical million dollars) would matter and I will be happy with nothing.

      But given where I am right now, I need to do things like eat and get around and have a roof over my head. And I don't know about you, but where I am, these things cost money. So what is so wrong with having a continual supply of money to ensure that these basic functions can be carried out, if nobody else is harmed?

  2. Oh My God! Seriously, maybe that guy needs to start a practice. I love your title Nobel, keep going, live your dream no matter what anyone says!. I'll buy your book my friend:) Looking forward to more.....all the best to you

    1. Thanks for your support. Yes, we all need to practice; but maybe some more than others :-)

  3. wish you had pinged so I knew you were watching my vids...thanks, and sorry for the delay..i would have been here earlier.
    I once calculated what my yoga bumming cost me (including a the loss of my modest income from leaving my yoga school and hunkering down in Mysore 12 times, following Dear Pattabhi Jois to various cities. and it is approximately $350,000. Do i regret it? Absolutely not, I have an unparalleled education as well as a family of yoga friends worldwide, and very meaningful relationships that spanned more than 15 years with local Mysore families. The insights and joy Pattbahi Jois shared with me have shaped my mind.
    That being said, I was hardly a bum as I worked a nearly untenable schedule to return to Mysore again and again.
    As for this oft repeated ignorance that yoga and a householder's life are conflicting? No, of course they're not. Our teacher was a householder (as is Iyengar, Desikachar and Krishnamacaraya), and shared the responsibilities of personal and family security and success that we seek.
    To toil at yoga while denying one's family security, ease, or comfort would be an affront to Dharma, Artha, Kama and Veda and incredibly selfish - gee mom sorry i can't visit you in the hospital but i live in a tent foraging wild dandelion greens...but give welfare a call...

    BTW, if you stumble on that yoga business that reaps huge $$$$ - Do share!!

    1. My apologies for not pinging, Kiki. I'm not the best at staying connected with everybody in social media; I don't even have a Facebook account. Probably wouldn't have started this blog if I hadn't felt the need to connect with other Ashtangis from my corner of the country (upper midwest).

      I really enjoy your videos. I use them quite a lot as starting points for my blog posts, as you can see :-) Please continue to make them.

      Thanks for sharing your "yoga bumming" life experiences. I've never had the opportunity to meet Pattabhi Jois, but I can totally feel the joy and the bond you have with him from reading your words here.

      And yes, householder life and yoga are not conflicting, nor are they meant to be. But there's always a part of me that can't help thinking (fantasizing?) that it would be really nice if I could just study yoga without having to worry about making money to make ends meet. Hence my yoga bum dreams.

      And yes, if I do find a way to make that yoga business work, I'll be happy to share :-)

  4. For me the only way to follow a yogic path with one milion dollars is to take a ticket to your favorite guru/shala, and give the rest to a charity cause

    The problem with having to take care of the resources and interests of your hypothetical money is greed, thus you miss the point
    Your goal would be what: to try a yogic life for a certain amount of time (possibly many years), and if it doesn't work, you sit on 1 full milion dollars!
    I can guarantee you won't attain enlightment in this case: sorry!

    It's like when you do asanas like a gymnastic: and if you miss the point, there is much less chances that you achieve the goal (but with asanas, due to body/mind interaction, there is still a chance it would work ;) )

    1. "Your goal would be what: to try a yogic life for a certain amount of time (possibly many years), and if it doesn't work, you sit on 1 full milion dollars!
      I can guarantee you won't attain enlightment in this case: sorry!"

      Well, in that case, I'll pass on enlightenment :-)