Who is Vira Bhava Yoga?


In 2010, an idea was born.  The plan was to revolutionize Yoga Teacher Trainings.  I wanted to share the profound practices that my teachers were sharing with me, but with an emphasis on what was real in life. Real life.  Kids, divorce, money struggles, emotional challenges.  I wanted to provide an opportunity for us to share about our experiences in life and in practice.  I wanted these trainings to enable us to assimilate our processes in community, and in doing so, empower each other to learn from others’ experiences, and finally I wanted to support and promote the desire to start living the lives we want to live.

I didn’t want to become an expert at asana or a renunciate who limited the pleasures of life to only the most sattvic.I wanted to honor the doorway of asana and its impact on our spiritual practice.  For me, asana was more than just a physical practice, for years it had been a lifeline. And the practice of asana was the bridge that led me to a deeper understanding of the power of this practice, but it was just a piece.

I was a few years past 30, and was growing less and less interested in demanding my body to fit in to the modern idea of yoga in the west.  I wanted to allow the inner wisdom that we were hearing about in our studies to have a voice. I wanted to try less and feel more, so I did. And everything started to change.  Then I started to share my discoveries with my students, and they started to feel and embody the change too. Something was rumbling, though I didn’t really understand what it was, I decided to trust it implicitly, to take the risk of following this quiet whisper inside me, even if it didn’t work out.  I decided to choose trust over doubt, and it took more courage than anything I’ve ever done.

As a part of this redefinition, I started researching, meditating, and exploring what it meant to be a practitioner of Tantra in the world, and stumbled upon a teaching from the Mahanirvana Tantra (Tantra of the Great Liberation), which taught about the three temperaments of a Tantrika.  

The Tantras speak of three temperaments, dispositions, characters (bhava), or classes of men, namely, the pashu-bhava (animal), vira-bhava (heroic), and divya-bhava (deva-like or divine).

According to the translation of the text by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe), the Vira Bhav “works independently towards the production of acts in which sorrow inheres.” Vira Bhava yogis tirelessly work to examine the places within themselves, and therefore the world, that present as challenge.  This means that they are constantly turning toward the discomfort of life. Uncovering the sources of pain and struggle. And they act. Vira Bhav are rajasic, meaning they are active, sometimes daringly, toward what they believe is the highest and best. The Vira Bhava yogis are the heroes of their own lives.  They contain within them the discipline, belief, and power to enact their dharma. They seek to thrive when it seems like an impossible endeavor, and they learn from their defeats, allowing them to become their own source of power.

As a result of this discovery, the yoga school,  Vira Bhava Yoga was born. And we’ve been sharing, training, and empowering others in the world ever since.  So who is Vira Bhava Yoga?

We are a family of yogis exploring, sharing, and supporting the empowerment of our purpose in our lives.  We have a shared belief of the process of discovery, and we value the process as much as the result. We are students of life whose confidence grows through experience.  We are leaders in big ways and small. We TRUST, that we are an important part of the whole, and that our ideas, our dreams, our voices matter. We are understanding, compassionate, fiercely vulnerable, resilient, honest and real.  We are practitioners and teachers of yoga that value the courage it takes to show up for our lives. The easy and the hard. We turn toward life, rather than away from it, and we show up to our practice to enter into our lives more deeply rather than escape from them.  We are people, just like everyone else AND, we make our lives our practice. We struggle, we get frustrated, aggravated, overwhelmed. We snap at our kids, and sometimes stay up too late. Most of all, we are relentless in our belief that everyone is powerful.

I give thanks every day that I am surrounded by Vira Bhava Yogis.   Everyday, I encounter such powerful examples of who we are and how we are showing up in the world.  It makes me feel proud to stand alongside the them all and courageously engage in the world as Warriors in Yoga in life.  Who is Vira Bhava Yoga? You are.

You are a warrior, a hero. You are living with purpose in all that you do. You are doing brave things in your life and in the world. You are finding the lessons in the difficulties. If you’re looking for a community to share your triumphs triumph or  support as you venture towards it… We would love to hear from you. How are you Vira Bhava Yoga in your world? Please share your stories with us! We grow stronger through communication, connection and collaboration.

If you want to deepen your relationship to yourself and cultivate your purpose with a community of others who powerfully hear the call join us. We offer 200, 300, and 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified training across the country. We also offer an advanced apprenticeship to those who graduate from our Advanced Studies Program. If you hear the call, check us out. We are just ordinary people…. Being great.

Vira Bhava Yoga Podcast Episode One: What is Tantra Yoga?

Happy New Year Vira Bhava Yogis!

I hope your New Year has started off well and the focus and intentions that you desire fill your life.  Here at VBY, we are inspired and excited about the year ahead, as we continue to grow, expand, and refine. In 2018, we plan to share the best of US with you!  

To make our offerings more accessible and fun, we’ve started a podcast! It will be hosted by the amazing Maria Borghoff, Vira Bhava Yogini and the founder of Groove Forward.  You will find our first episode attached. We are  We truly hope you enjoy it, and join this year to deepen your practice, expand your study, and give your power a voice!

Much love,


Welcome to the Edge


What is the edge?  The edge is a precipice between one place and another.  The boundary between what is and what could be.  The experience of the edge is often characterized by intensity and extremes. The edge is a place of unknowns and risk, and a place where there is very little clear direction about the next step. It is the space of transition which often leads us to be both excited and afraid. Hopeful for the movement to the next place, and simultaneously terrified about leaving the comfort of the familiar. It seems that we find ourselves on the edge often in our lives.  It can emerge during big shifts like the edge of a career or the edge of relationship, but it can also happen with something as seemingly insignificant as the edge of a choice.

It is an intense place to occupy, and often we express that we feel frozen, stuck, unclear, and without direction.  So, to stay “safe”, we prolong the process, and hold fast to the familiar and comfortable.  We begin to develop a fear and mistrust about the space between, when in truth it is the space of pure potential. This space just outside of the familiar is where we learn to TRUST, to understand that it is all about us, but it is so much bigger than us.  The less we cling, the more we can feel supported to make the choices that will lead us to greatest ease on our path. Once we step out into the unknown, the next phase of our lives opens to us. But that first step, for most of us, is the hardest one.

The choice to leave the familiar for what is right or good for our life takes a warrior’s heart.  When we take that initial step into the unknown and in doing so, we open a path straight to our center.  For so many of us, this is scary.  We’ve invested so much time and energy into becoming  that we have forgotten our own true being, the unchanging, purposeful, power within.  

It is here at the edge of a quiet moment, or a dramatic life change, where we have a choice. We choose to step out into the unknown away from comfort because we sense it will bring us closer to who we really are. Taking this step will bring us closer to who we are becoming.

Friends and family may think we are crazy.  Our colleagues might question our sanity.  But when we make the choice to honor the call home to ourselves, we become courageous warriors and we feel aligned.  The doubt and fears that we once had don’t disappear, but they begin to ttake a backseat to the hope, excitement, and knowing that surface when you step over the edge. We may do unexpected things like quit our jobs or leave a relationship.  We might become unpredictable and spontaneous and go back to school or become a yoga teacher.  We might allow our true selves to show up in ways that we never allowed before by falling in love or planting seeds in the ground. Regardless of the way your choice will manifest, the edge that we surf is terrifying and exhilarating, and entirely worth it.

If you find yourself at this edge, welcome. You are not alone, you are among good strong faithly company. Together we are stepping over the edge and supporting one another as we wake up, feel more authentically, dive into practice, and make choices that will change our lives and in doing so change our world.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Establish yourself in TRUST.  Trust in the process, trust in yourself, your inner voice, your preparation.  Remember YOU are the point.

  2. Be cautious about leaning too much into faith.  Faith requires us to cultivate belief whereas TRUST requires no believing, it is belief itself.  When we TRUST, outside evidence becomes an added bonus instead of the needed proof.

  3. When you are in the intensity of the edge, the only practice is to keep going.  Focus all your energy in what you know is true. Keep going, even if you are tip-toeing.  Keep showing up to whatever is offered.

  4. Be in relationship with your inner voice.  Do a practice every day that tunes you into YOU.  Your inner guidance, your truth. Don’t worry about what anyone else says, inhabiting the edge is ALL about YOU.

  5. Don’t wait for Perfection. The desire for things to be perfect in order to make choices is a way we orient ourselves to what’s right/wrong, good/bad.   So when we have no orientation, the absolute definition of the edge,  we feel that it’s imperfect and something is wrong. Act from your gut instead of from proof.

  6. Be fully engaged in the process.  It’s the process itself that is the point, so don’t disregard it in an effort to escape discomfort.

  7. Choose growth.  When things are most challenging or confusing, see these experiences as an opportunity to refine and grow.  Riding the edge is an opportunity to become more mature in our efforts.  Apply your intelligence to your experience.  Slow down, invite presence, feel your emotions, and watch how you evolve.

  8. Be gentle with yourself.  The edge is scary.  It’s a difficult place to be.  It’s exciting and full of potential, but often without clear and predictable outcome.  If you find yourself seeking old comforts, or feeling discouraged, it’s ok.  Be accepting of your humanness and recalibrate your efforts.

  9. And lastly, take care of yourself. The edge is hard and you will likely be questioned rather than supported. Show up for yourself like you wish others would show up for you in these times.

If you are ready to step over the edge and are seeking a support consider joining us for one of our many 200/300/500 Hr Yoga Teacher Trainings.