yoga training

How We Are Different

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Hey Yogis,

Sometimes writing a blog post is hard.  I want to say something meaningful and impactful.  I want to offer something that is worth taking the time to read, and though my mind and intellect constantly churn ideas, capturing one to bring to you is sometimes like trying to catch the wind on paper. So, this month I’ve been thinking a lot about where we started. Vira Bhava Yoga was born out of a desire to revolutionize our study of Yoga to be relevant, modern, and most importantly applicable to the lives we desire to live without watering down the enormous power of the spiritual roots and practices that make up this immensely powerful life path.

We didn’t want to teach yoga as fitness, we wanted to teach yoga as a path to embodying our innate power and potential.  We didn’t want to teach a script, we wanted to teach yogis to PRACTICE and share the insights they discovered in the process.  We didn’t want yogis to all sound the same, we wanted yogis that were cultivating their own unique voice through experience. We didn’t want to strive for perfection in anything, we wanted to create a safe space for everyone to be right where they were in their practice and their lives, and know that where you are is OK.  After participating in the Yoga industry for over a decade, we knew back then that we wanted to do it differently, and we were guided by our hearts through countless mistakes and redirections to find the path that was uniquely ours, and to this day, this is the path we continue to walk and to refine.  Each experience, each interaction, each training helps us to understand ourselves and the needs and desires of our students more and more.

We are, and will always be a work in progress.  We are learning our lessons moment to moment, making adjustments, refining our processes, adapting our procedures.  Vira Bhava Yoga is not a static system. We DON’T have all the answers, and we don’t have it all figured out, but we DO feel great about what we’ve discovered and we LOVE sharing it with people who are ready.  We hold fast to our own foundational principles of catalyzing Authentic Yogi Warriors, by continuously challenging ourselves to WAKE UP in our lives.  To be in alignment with our deepest truths, we will move toward discomfort in our lives and our practice.  These discomforts are the source of friction for sure, but this friction lights the fire that burns away our confusion, that catalyzes our determination, our will, and courage.  

We know that Yoga can sometimes feel like another goal to achieve, another thing on the ever growing list of things.  We want Vira Bhava Yoga to feel like a homecoming rather than a striving.  We want to encapsulate the truth that one of my teachers, Angelea Farmer, shared so eloquently, “Yoga isn’t something you do, it is WHO YOU ARE.”  We want to come back to the place where Yoga feels like arriving home rather than working to succeed.  And, we want to teach how to share that experience with others. The striving to achieve levels of excellence in our Yoga practice can often leave us feeling disconnected or isolated.  These feelings become enhanced when the common yoga vernacular speaks of the oneness, the love, the connection that we desire to feel, yet at the end of our classes we feel guarded and alone. Maybe through our practice we get a glimpse of something more, but no one can seem to explain what we saw or how to get back there.  At Vira Bhava Yoga, we walk beside you on the path.  We know that Yoga is a solo journey, but we cannot do it alone, so we work to bring the personal back into the universal.  Making our etheric experiences tangible, giving them voice, and sharing them with others.

It’s been almost 8 years since Vira Bhava Yoga went from a dream to reality, and we are still dreaming it into being.  We are committed to the work we do, and we are so very excited to share it with you. And we want to know about YOU. What are your feelings about Yoga, your connections, your challenges?  What do you want out of your Yoga practice, and how can we work with you to make these desires accessible? Our evolution is guided by you. We want to listen and stay connected. We want to grow with you in your yoga journey.  If you haven’t checked out one of our programs yet, take a few minutes of your day to explore this practice (link), and check out one of our upcoming workshops or Trainings in your area.

Vira Bhava Yoga is not just for Yoga Teachers, we are a company committed to practicing our LIVES as YOGA.  If you want to explore these possibilities yourself, then join us. There is still space in our upcoming programs in ATL, our advanced studies program beginning in NOVEMBER and our intro level program starting in January 2019.  We also have only a few spots left for our Advanced Studies Program in Sacramento, CA starting in January 2019. We also have opportunities to join the Vira Bhava Yoga family by running programs in your area. Contact us directly for more details.

Finally, you can join our Director in Costa Rica in April 2019 for an exploration of Deep Ecology and Wellness with Yogatrade.com.

Blessings,

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You Are Your Dharma

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Who am I?  Why am I here?  What’s the point?  The three timeless questions that Yoga seeks to answer.  When you understand the concept of Dharma, these answers no longer seem elusive or etheric, but are concrete and quite simple. The concept of Dharma teaches that alignment with universal principles in a way that is unique to the individual’s expression is essential to harmony.  Though the term is often translated as “rule, law, or requirement,” it is actually much more diverse and expansive than this. The root of the word Dharma is “dhr” which means “to hold, maintain, or keep.” The idea is that it is our individual Dharma (known as Sva Dharma) that allows us to maintain our relationship with Universal Principles, (known as Sanatana Dharma). The more we are aware of our individual relationship with universal principles, the more we are motivated to maintain or keep this relationship fruitful.

In yoga, we often refer to Dharma as Purpose, but that is a bit of an oversimplification of the idea. Imagine a blueprint for a home.  The entire house is sketched out as measurements, scale, design and function; that is the Universal Dharma. Now, overlay onto that the unique and beautiful expressions of each room, and that’s individual Dharma. Each room within the house is essential and foundational to the home as a whole, and the expression of each room with all its textiles, furniture, unique color schemes, fabrics, and even little quirks, that’s how you express your Dharma. Each individual has a unique contribution to make to the universal whole, and according to Dharma, our unique contribution is essential to the form, function, and beauty of the whole, no room could ever be non essential in the house of Dharma.

So,  who are you? You are an essential individual part of the whole.  Why are you here? To express your individual nature and fulfill your purpose as the room of you in the universal house. What’s the point? YOU ARE.  Your dharma is not your profession, your family, your success or failure, though all of these things are the ways through which your dharma is expressed in the world.  You are YOU, and though many of us try very hard to deny the truth of who we are, we can never escape the burning whisper of truth murmuring deep inside us. The lila or divine play of the universe is the ease or effort with which we align with our Dharma.  The Bhagavad Gita teaches that it’s better to do your own dharma poorly than it is to do another’s perfectly.  The effort of aligning with our dharma comes from the denial of our own truth. We may be a master pretender, but as long as we deny that rumbling truth inside, life will never provide us with the freedom that we seek.

The teaching of Dharma is simple.  You do you. Seek to live as yourself as fully and completely as possible.  In your marriage, in your profession, in your friendships, in your successes, and in your failures, honor the unique ways that your truth resonates in it all.  In doing so, you will find greater ease in honoring the truth of others, and this my friends, is the perfect recipe for harmony in our communities, corporations, and even governments.  Because, you see, we need all of the rooms, all of the varied and unique expressions, aesthetics, and even the messes. The whole isn’t whole if anything is excluded. YOU are crucial, indispensable, and beautiful. You are necessary.  So what is YOUR dharma? Only you can know the secret whispers of your deepest yearnings.  Only you can know the contributions you make, the actions you take to support the whole, to maintain the relationship with that which is bigger than you.  No one can tell you what your dharma is, though they may try. YOU are the only one who can know that truth. If you are seeking to know yourself more sincerely and do you more than the time is NOW. Vira Bhava Yoga Teacher Trainings offer the time, community, and support for you to value yourself, to dive deeply into your curiosities, and to  to further your embodiment and cultivate a discerning ear join us for a 200, 300, or 500 hour training in a town near you.


 

Who is Vira Bhava Yoga?

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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.