Just in case you read Eat, Pray, Love and now believe spending a month (and $19,795) at an ashram will change your life, the New York Post is here to tell you…it probably won’t. Thanks to the book, spiritual retreats are incredibly trendy, but many who take them end up broke, not enlightened, buying courses and books they can’t afford. “There was always the sense that money you spent in the ashram—even if it put you in debt—was money well spent,” says a former ashram employee.
Not to mention that your “guru” could be a con man—especially since, in the unregulated industry, anyone can claim to be a guru. Even so, “people want to be happy,” says a yoga blogger, “and if something can be purchased to facilitate that happiness, they’ll do it.” And they’ll have plenty of opportunities: A related Post article details the more than 400 retail tie-ins to the book and upcoming movie, from $32 perfume and $45 candle sets to $152 prayer beads.