230 hour ytt

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.

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.