Yoga retreats ranging from $5,000-$13,000 USD are being sold to millionaires and billionaires alike, as a luxury experience. Many sacred practices ranging from yoga to meditation to plant medicine, are quickly becoming mass-marketed commodities of materialism. The spirituality and wellness industry has been booming since the surge of trendiness in yoga and meditation starting in the early 2000’s. According to the New Global Wellness Institute, this market is now a $4.2 trillion dollar global industry.
Many people are jumping on this bandwagon to make profit, taking advantage of the naïve rich, and other vulnerable people looking for self-help. Yoga is one of the most global and popularized of spiritual practices, that has been bastardized by profit-seeking entities. Spiritual materialism creates watered down experiences and packages them in a trendy way for selling power. Many retreats are labeled as transformative experiences that one can accomplish within one week of doing occasional yoga and paying hundreds for beachside massages and beauty services.
Expensive yoga retreats are set up in beautiful exotic places such as Bali, Thailand, Mexico, and Sri Lanka and work towards making the experience as glamorous as possible. Yoga is done for two hours a day, where the majority of the day is spent in spas and relaxing in luxury villas. The Barai in Thailand provides spiritual healing and holistic cleanses ranging from $5,000- $7,000 US dollars. Forte Village Fusion Fitness is priced at $6,655 for single occupancy to practice Ayurveda yoga.
The overcapitalization of these practices has resulted in the loss of heart at the root of why they were so important in the first place. To be for the healing of people by a personalized experience, not mass commercialization. The Conscious Reporter expresses, “By charging money to access the majority of their products, these merchants of spirituality break the timeless cycle of freely giving and receiving spiritual knowledge (which is a fundamental spiritual principle found within the origins of many spiritual traditions).”
There is no quick fix in emotional imbalances. Retreats that promise to fix these ailments from a week of yoga are deceptive. Creating yoga retreats and spiritual practices that charge thousands of dollars creates the false idea that you can purchase your spiritual development. Intention is one of the most important drivers in spirituality. The self-questioning of what you want to achieve and why you are working towards this path.
When the intention of these retreats is primarily to make money, the goal is not to heal clients or assist with real personal development. Spiritual teachers like the Buddha told his disciples to spread peace freely wherever they go, and to “share the way”. It is important to give these practices freely to those who need them, not capitalize off what is meant to be sacred.