How Yoga Teaches Generosity


If you have a candle, the light won’t glow any dimmer if I light yours off of mine. ~ Steven Tyler

Yoga has changed my view of generosity. I have learned to give without expectation and to always remain mindful of the quality of my generosity. After all, generosity in yoga is based partly on two of the five Yamas:

  1. Generosity is the opposite of taking (Asteya) whereby we share freely with a focused, quality effort.
  2. A generous person sees life through a prism of abundance instead of scarcity. In yoga this is known as Aparigraha: there is enough for everyone.

One of my favorite stories about the value of generosity is called Stone Soup.

There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills an enormous pot with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets, indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.

This story teaches us that sharing is especially important when we perceive a limitation. This is normally when we tend to constrict, hoard or withdraw. This principle can also apply to sharing energy, putting conditions on giving love, or holding back our ideas (perhaps because we are afraid that others will “copy” us).  The traveler represents the potential within each of us to inspire others to be more generous.

3 Ways to Be More Generous:

  1. The one thing that we all value is “time.” Take a moment to think of ways you can be more generous with your time.  Can you start by being generous with yourself? Can you give yourself the gift of a yoga class every week so you feel the goodness of your own heart? Then share your time by calling someone to listen, offer to walk a friend’s dog, babysit, go grocery shopping for a friend, volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  2. Consider the quality of your generosity. It’s one thing to give away things you don’t like or are bored with, but what about something more important? It is easy to get caught up with the idea of having or doing MORE for the sake of more. However, this more-is-better philosophy forsakes quality. Go beyond this by pulling a couple things from your closet that you love, and give that away.
  3. Be more open about sharing ideas.  One has to look no further than what happened to Encarta after Wikipedia opened the floodgates of information. I applaud other professionals, such as Chase Jarvis, who operates an open business model for budding photographers. For years I have shared class plans, yoga playlists, philosophical class themes, posted detailed yoga retreat itineraries online with the intention that they inspire others. I consult for free to help others cultivate new business ideas. I want students to build on what I do to create something even better. To me imitation is flattering. It is our responsibility as members of a human tribe to be as generous as possible in sharing our intellectual currency.

Philosopher Maimonides pictured giving on 8 spiritual levels. The first two get to the heart of yoga right away.

  • “The motivation for real giving finds its source in the internal self, not in the expectations of others.”
  • “Anonymous giving – happy people don’t expect a return. They give because it comes from the heart and they believe that joy and happiness are abundant. They aren’t going to run out.”

Let’s come together and open our hearts to all the ways we can be more generous with our spirit, our positive energy, our kind thoughts, our love, our time. And remember your personal understanding of the value of sharing is a reflection of who you are.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life,

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
~ John Wesley



Screen Shot Front Silvia CardEditor’s note: This is another amazing guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur. Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training.

Silvia can be reached on the Web at or, or via email at Twitter: @alchemytours@inspiredyogagal; Facebook: Silvia Mordini; YouTube: lovingyourday; Pinterest: Silvia Mordini; Intagram: alchemytours.

Manduka Large Horizontal #1


5 Ways Yoga Helps

Yoga means union. In a world that bombards us with clichés regarding a mind, body & spirit connection, this is very important. But in real people terms, what is the connection between the poses (asanas), breathing (pranayama), philosophy, and Western psychology? David Frawley, author of Yoga and Ayurveda writes: Yogic methods cover the entire field […]


Sacred Sound: Mantras & Chants

Many years ago when I started a yoga practice, I had no idea what it would reveal to me. I was just hoping for a little extra strength and flexibility, and I did what I could to avoid all the spiritual trappings of the practice. But, somehow, as it does, the yoga did its job. […]

saagara--meditate with the world--see and do together

Crowdfunding Meditation Across the World: See & Do Together Could Use a Little Spare Change

[UPDATE: Check out this new video describing the project…] How cool would it be to meditate with millions of people across the world at the same time?  It would be totally awesome! Well, we’re big fans of the mindfulness-based tech company, Saagara, which recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to aid in the development of a new meditation […]


NamaSTAY Yoga Towel Review and Giveaway!

I know when I practice yoga, whether hot or otherwise, I’m usually a sweaty disaster. It’s a good disaster, but sweaty nonetheless. Since slip-and-slide yoga mat syndrome is totally uncool, over the years I’ve added a variety of yoga towels to my collection to help with soaking up sweat, providing a solid practice surface, and […]


5 Simple Tips for Becoming a Master of Meditation

Want to take on meditation? Here’s 5 tips to help: Sit.  Learning to sit can be a challenge. Do some light stretches before sitting down and then start off with just 5 minutes of sitting–see how it feels. Remember there are many different ways to sit. Find a seat comfortable for you, in a chair, on a […]

saagara--meditate with the world--see and do together

Crowdfunding Meditation Across the World: See & Do Together Could Use a Little Spare Change

[UPDATE: Check out this new video describing the project…] How cool would it be to meditate with millions of people across the world at the same time?  It would be totally awesome! Well, we’re big fans of the mindfulness-based tech company, Saagara, which recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to aid in the development of a new meditation […]

aum - mc yogi 1

A.U.M…(Almighty Universal Magnetic)…by MC Yogi…definitely going on repeat

Time to turn up the volume! MC Yogi just released a sweet new music video that has me pumped about his new album, Mantras, Beats & Meditations, set to release on April 1. His videos always have great visuals, but A.U.M. may be my new favorite. It’s tough to beat the combination of great lyrics, thumping […]


  1. I love your reference to Aparigraha: there is enough for everyone. It’s way too easy sometimes to say, if I give away X, there won’t be enough for myself, but there is truly more than enough to go around! One of my favorite quotes (along the same lines) is: “You must get rid of the thought of competition. You are to create, not to compete for what is already created. You do not have to take anything from anyone.” I reflect on this each day when I think about how I’ll approach all I want to accomplish. Namaste!

  2. Hi,

    Love your site and what you are doing to help promote a healthy lifestyle and help people. I just though you might be interested in solution we just launched that allows experts like yourself to promote and sell their video content. It’s absolutely free so check it out if you’re interested

  3. Hi! It’s amazing post, thank you so much for sharing. I do entirely agree that time is the most valuable thing!

  4. Love your website and what you’re doing facilitate|to assist} promote a healthy mode and help folks. I simply although you would possibly have an interest in resolution we have a tendency to simply launched that enables specialists

  5. Great website! This reminded me of another blog I stumbled across. It’s Jason Garner’s. He used to be one of the wealthiest guys under 40 (Fortune 500 named him in the top 20 millionaires under 40) he talks about how after his mom passed away he found meditation and spirituality and feels more fulfilled through that than money ever did for him. I think you’d appreciate it!

  6. Yoga is not only for the physical and mental fitness, it also teaches us the way of life, live with peaceful harmony and teaches how to help others to make their life happy. Regular practice of yoga and meditation helps our mind and soul to think beyond ourselves and love,support and help others.

  7. I love this, yoga is a great way to calm down and realize peace in the middle of crisis, it simply sets your mind at ease and in the end you become a better person

  8. This was such a refreshing and satisfying post to drift to sleep to. Thank you for your contribution to the promotion of happiness on our planet.

  9. Lovely yoga.. Yoga and ayurveda both are great. Good to know some of the most interesting facts of yoga.

  10. This is the best health article I have read in a long time. The features and benefits of Yoga as described here had left me contemplating about starting it Yoga, thanks to the writer.

Join the conversation...

a yoga blog with tips, tools, & wisdom on yoga, books, & technology