Yoga Alliance

Give Your Power a Voice

I knew as a child I had a great power inside of me.  When I became brave enough to glimpse its marvelous magic I felt as if it’s magnitude could swallow me whole. I knew that my voice and my power were uniquely mine. A synonym for power is magic and this power is inside all of us.  For most of my life I have been in the process of discovering and hiding my magic power all at the same time.

My teacher says if it isn’t a paradox it isn’t divine. From a young age we’re taught to keep our  “power” in a small box to fit the mold and expectations of others. When we are young, it seems as though we can’t hide our power. Over time we adapt to our circumstances, learning how to let just enough of our magic show to keep us interesting but certainly not enough to make us different, unique, or stand out.

When I started my 200 Hour Vira Bhava Yoga Teacher Training I knew walking into our first practice that I was about to take the top off my perfect small box. I was terrified, trembling with anticipation, fear and excitement. Through my yoga practice I could feel the layers peeling away to show the innate, golden authentic-self that had been patiently waiting to emerge. This was a profound embodied experience that cultivated yoga in the core of my heart.  Through this practice with Vira Bhava Yoga. trust and respect were formed; I restored my power in its most lustrous, immense grandeur.

We all have a unique power inside, we have just forgotten.  In these times it is our job to remember. It is our job to ask questions. Our world in its current state of discomfort, fatigue and grief needs NOW more than EVER our unique power. That is why its time for each of us to give our power a voice.

It is our job as yogis to cultivate trust in purpose. When we come to the mat, we work to create and build energy as purpose. To notice each moment when we show up for ourselves on or off our mat has powerful purpose.

This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and quit your job because your purpose doesn’t match up with your profession… I mean maybe it does.  For most of us this isn’t the case. What we learn in the Vira Bhava Yoga 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training is how our purpose and power can express itself in many different areas of life.  We bring our power to every moment. We learn to use the strength of our power to continually guide us on our path.

One definition of power is to move or travel with great speed or force; this is a power of a Vira Bhava Yogi.  We are warriors. We are courageous. We are unapologetic in our greatness and we walk together in community. We know that by boldly expressing our power we are inviting others to do the same. Seeing ourselves in others, knowing that by first healing ourselves we can then heal as a whole.

I want to live in a world where every person has the opportunity to live more authentically while empowering others to find and share their unique voice. If this sounds like something you too seek… Join us! Vira Bhava Yoga is coming to a town and studio near you. We are excited, whole hearted individuals striving to support each other in being great! Learn more and Register for our programs here!

 

Welcome to the Edge

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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.

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