Shifting Your Perspective

Photo by Juan Diego Reyes

Photo by Juan Diego Reyes

Years ago I picked up a book on impulse at a bookstore.  Something about managing your time to grow your business.  I was in the fledgling stages of creating Vira Bhava Yoga, and was feeling mostly discouraged, frustrated by my slow movement toward my desires, and yet propelled by a deep knowing that this was exactly what I needed to be doing. So, I did what I always do when I feel stuck, I bought a book about it.  My background is not in business, but I am the definition of an entrepreneur (unemployable).  So I decided to educate myself about ways I could turn my dream into reality.  

The best advice I received from this book of essays specifically targeted to tech start up businesses (wtf) was this:  at the end of the day reflect on your successes.  Instead of going down your to-do list and focusing on what you didn’t get done, which most of us do.  Instead of dwelling on the typical obstacles of “not enough” time, capital, energy, support; you fill in the blank, turn your focus to your accomplishments.  If you are working to manifest your purpose in the world, it’s an admirable feat, and it takes time. Committing a little bit of everyday toward that intention goes a long way.  Yet our tendency to focus on our failures instead of our successes veils the recognition of our own brilliance.

It’s not so different than watching my kids grow.  They are constantly changing, shifting, expanding, in body, mind and heart, but the day-to-day demands often keep me from noticing.  Until something huge happens (like my oldest is taller than me all of a sudden) or someone else points out the shifts, they often stay just outside of my awareness.  Not completely unknown, but not really acknowledged or celebrated.  Then in a moment, I realize how time has passed us by, and my little babes are full fledged people.  

So many of us get caught in the spin of overlooking how much impact we are making. Until one day, we wake up, haggared and hardened, and our dreams have come true, but we’ve missed it! We’ve lost ourselves in the never ending race to 'get things done’ and forgotten to reflect on the ways we are creating the life we desire RIGHT NOW!  

So, I started making a new list.  Every night before I would fall asleep I would write the list of things I had accomplished that day.  From “did the dishes” to “opened a business bank account,” from “wrote new content” to “taught two yoga classes,” I started to honor myself for my hard work and commitment. This simple thing shifting the most important aspect of my journey, my perspective.  I started believing in myself and what I was capable of.  I celebrated my successes instead of overlooking in an effort to move on to the next thing.  And, slowly but surely, the evidence of my hard work started to show itself.

There is a teaching in Tantra that states if you want to worship the Goddess, you must become her.  More than anything I wanted to be in the easeful flow of living my dharma, I wanted to receive the abundance that I felt certain was the outcome of working with such unwavering determination to manifest that truth that whispered inside me every day, but it didn’t feel like it was coming.  I spent most of my time lamenting the discrepancy between how much I wanted it, and how little it seemed to be manifesting. The yearning that was the evidence that I was on the right path would become the pain of defeat.  They key is to see the yearning as the force propelling you in the right direction, and not get stuck in the pain of not receiving. For most of us, when we are in that pain, we throw up our hands and change directions instead of seeing the yearning as something to turn towards, not away from. The yearning is the call, and when we attach only to the outcome of success and not to the reality of our own efforts, that’s when we get stuck.  When we feel stuck, we think about whether or not we are doing the right thing, when we could be reflecting on our challenges as the lessons we need to be learning to grow in balance.  The barrier to our success is simply the gap between the yearning and the achieving. One which can easily be remedied by self reflection and trust in our purpose. When we change where we place our focus, we are freed from defeat, and reenergized toward what we are so ready to do.

So when I was stuck, I decided to change my perspective.  I turned to the sweet and absolute abundance of Shakti in the form of Lakshmi, and I began the process of recognizing the parts of my life that were already abundant.  I gave thanks for my family, my friends, my practice.  I honored my growth as a teacher, I cultivated enthusiasm about educating myself in new systems. And it all worked. Here we are. Vira Bhava Yoga has grown and continues to grow.  We share and celebrate the path of Tantric Hatha Yoga in 7 different states, with more planned for the coming years. We have outstanding teachers, mentors, change-makers, and students all over the world.  

I still move in and out of remembering, just as the teachings say we will.  But when I can see the ways that Lakshmi shows up everyday in my life, not just in material wealth, but in love, connection, spiritual growth, joy, generosity, receptivity, openness, and ease, then I feel that energy enhanced.  The abundance that Lakshmi brings only grows when we acknowledge it, and from that place, open ourselves to receive more than we thought possible.  Because that’s the way it works, surrender isn’t giving up, it’s leaning into the whole truth, not just the one to which we have become accustom.

Recommended Readings:

The Soul Money, By Lynne Twist

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind: Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei

Following my Dharma Feels Like Giving Birth

Guest Post by VBY Grad Sarah Austin:

As a mother of three I have some familiarity with this process. I have spent all of this time creating a support system, feeling overwhelmed with excitement and fear all the while having a profound sense of connection with the divine universe. The kind of excitement that gives you goose bumps all over and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  That is what it feels like to be involved in the creation of something that has so much potential that is guiding you closer and closer to living your Dharma.  All the while knowing that after all of the pain, time, new awareness, feelings of defeat and lifestyle shifts you get the most beautiful gift.

 

I have spent many hours, days, and months looking for my peeps.  Working to surround  myself with the people that challenge me to be my higher self.  That when I start to wonder call me back.  Let’s just say it... they call me out on my shit!  These are the people that help outwardly orient me towards my Dharma.  They are the ones that when you celebrate your victories are more excited than yourself and give lots of love when the going is rough. These people for me are my sangha, family, at Vira Bhava Yoga.

 

When your Dharma and your people lineup anything can happen.  Having a strong foundation on my mat has helped to provide clarity in the process of creating this 200 HR training. There is a feeling of center that is grounded deep in the roots of my core, the place where my Dharma is seeded.  There is a reassuring feeling of purpose that comes with every move that we make.  Where will the training happen?  Who will come? Will anyone come?  There is an overriding sense of knowing that has a way to calm the nerves. When the spin cycle accidentally gets turned on and my thoughts are spinning out of control and the washing machine is starting to move across the floor because all the clothes moved to one side;  I remember that sometimes  you just have to “ho'oponopono” that shit!  Meaning I love you, I am sorry and please forgive me.  

 

Remembering that being vulnerable and surrendering to the process is hard. It requires that I call forth the bhav, the essence, of the vira, warrior spirit. It feels so uncomfortable the feeling of having to be vulnerable to ask for help. Not just asking for help with tasks to move the training forward but also in all aspects of life.  Then having the grace to receive that help is even harder.  There is a worldview that we must be perceived to have it all together and under control all the time. When in reality the struggle to try and maintain this image can be soul crushing.  So how can we pause in the moment, recognize that we need help and then empower ourselves enough to ask?  This process is teaching me how to live this in my life.

 

As I continue on the path towards my Dharma there is an endless unveiling of layers being peeled back.  Some of these layers come with a fast rip.  It could be having to have a conversation that is uncomfortable or it could be resistance to get on my mat.  Some of them have been quite soft and fluffy.  Lingering in a luscious practice or feeling empowered for standing up for what is true to my authentic self.  The layers to the self are abundantly simple and complex. There are some days when all I can connect with is the Annamaya Kosha, the physical body, the most tangible layer to connect with.  Knowing that there is a very interesting conversation happening between all of layers, Koshas, sheaths of the body.  Each informing and shifting continuously.  Allowing me to rise to, to challenge my level of studentship, ownership of knowledge.

 

Digesting each morsel of experience in all the layers of my being making myself, preparing my self, to be present in the process of manifesting this training.  Knowing that this training is a sankulpa (tangible, powerful TRUTH in action) oriented towards my Dharma. The most beautiful gift of all.

 

Sarah Austin, RYT- 500, grew up in Asheville, North Carolina She has ventured far and wide on her quest for spiritual growth and returned to the magical mountains of North Carolina bringing Vira Bhava Yoga 200 HR Teacher Training to Brevard Yoga Center starting in October of 2017.

 

It’s Been A While

It’s been a few months since we’ve sent out a note, but we haven’t gone anywhere.  We have been here the whole time.  Pulling in our resources, refining our vision, strengthening our team.  Vira Bhava Yoga is so much more than what most people see from the outside.  We are a small business with a big vision.  We are a Yoga company, but we are trying to do it differently.  We are not trying to fall into all of the norms of the Yoga Industry: flexibility (61 percent), stress relief (56 percent), general fitness (49 percent), improve overall health (49 percent), and physical fitness (44 percent) from the 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, instead we are attempting to return to the authenticity of yoga and share that with the world, we are working to empower other people who feel similarly about yoga to share their voices in their communities, and  we are working to make it possible to thrive while following the path and practice of Yoga.

What does this mean?  It means that we are rebellious in our process.  We spend countless hours observing ourselves and our place in the industry and adjusting continually to meet the path of Yoga regardless of the world’s expectations and desires. This looks like disappointment to some, that we unwaveringly follow the path of practice even when it doesn’t fit the popular norms.  We don’t heat up our studio, or dumb down our language, we don’t hide our reverence for the practice’s spiritual roots.  We also create space for everyone’s unique voice to be heard, allowed, and honored in the context of the business vision.

And you know what, it’s hard work.  So many days, in so many situations, it would just be easier to fold.  To reduce our work to the popular common denominator, to let go of the integrity on which we have build this business for the last 5 years. Instead we stand steadfast, often at the expense of being “liked” or “understood.” We are determined to stand in the truth of our vision, transforming the challenges into lessons, and refining our systems by learning from our mistakes.

We have said for years that we want to be the training that people “whisper” about instead of the training that people shout from the rooftops.  Does that mean we don’t want to be seen? Emphatically, NO!  It means that we want to be seen for what is real and true, and are willing to be patient for those who align with what we are offering.  If you are curious about what we do, then reach out.  We are so much more than a Yoga Teacher Training, we are a company that serves to catalyze communities of Authentic Warriors. Vira Bhava Yogis are willing to embody the essence of a warrior, and to live a more fully authentic life. Our teacher training programs are designed not only to teach yoga, but also to support students as they take their practice off their mat and into their lives.

Vira Bhava Yoga also offers opportunities for our Advanced Level graduates to create lucrative businesses in their communities. We offer a turn-key yoga teacher training license program to our graduates, 84% of whom are women. Our licensure provides ongoing revenue to our license holders, so they can make a sustainable living doing what they love.

Learn more at http://www.virabhavayoga.com/vira-bhava-yoga/


So, while it may seem like we’ve been gone, we’ve just been busy supporting Vira Bhava Yogis in the world; The Golden Mandala Donation Yoga Studio in Nevada City, CA, Rishi Yoga in Reno, NV, The Breathing Tree in Canton, IL, Whitetop Yoga in Abingdon, VA, Brevard Yoga Center in Brevard, North Carolina, Pure Motion Yoga in Atlanta, GA and a special shout out to Rochelle Trudo, who will be bringing a Vira Bhava Yoga Teacher Training to Austin, TX in 2018. Each of these studios is an expression of the unique vision of empowerment that Vira Bhava Yoga offers to those who seek us out. We are so thankful to have found you all and to be working together to co-create a vision of the future that we believe in.