hatha blog

You Are Your Dharma


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.


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.

The Practice of LIVING and not simply Surviving

Dear Yogis,

I recently sent out a letter to some of my students from over the years talking about my journey as a Yogi and yoga teacher in the world.  I am going to share a piece of that letter here, as an invitation to understanding and committing to the power of your own practice.

As our world changes rapidly around us and the structures that were meant to support and sustain us are crumbling and transforming, I want to share how many times and how many ways Yoga has SAVED me, and opened the door to my future.  I'm often asked how I can be so piercing in my approach, and how I can so confidently move into uncomfortable places with my students.  All I can say is that I can only do this work with others because I have done it relentlessly with myself for years, and in these uncertain times, I urge you to stay true to your practice and true to yourself.  Here is a piece of the letter I shared:

“A hundred times I thought about walking away, acquiescing to the the idea of what I was "supposed" to do, and giving up.  But no matter how much doubt and fear I would swim through everyday, I never stopped practicing, and I never stopped believing that this was my path. As I deepened my study, I began to integrate my practice into my life, instead of make time to step out of my life for it.  I have practiced while I parent my two amazing daughters, I practiced when my marriage was falling apart, I practiced while I relocated my family to not one, but two different states, I practiced through my mother's life threatening illness, I practiced through the heartache of divorce, I practiced through the pain of healing.  I practiced as I began to rediscover myself. And I practice now, in this time of transformative change.

Every year that has passed, I TRUST this path more and more. I deepen more and more into my practice, and learn over and over again that the tiny whisper in my heart always leads me in the direction of what was highest and best.  At some point on my journey, Yoga stopped being my lifeline and became my life. It wasn't something that I did, it was who I WAS.  I'm not exactly sure when that transition happened, but I am certain that the shift has made all of the difference in my willingness to LIVE my life and not simply survive it.  I am no longer looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, and instead I am being guided by the ever present, unwavering light inside.  This knowing hasn't liberated me from pain and suffering, from doubt and fear, but it has polished me and led me to a sense of freedom and love even in the midst of chaos.  

I tell you all of this NOW because it's more important than ever before to find that light for yourself.  If the world is feeling like too much, turn toward your practice and the tools that you've learned to AWAKEN to the guidance of YOUR truth. NOW is the time to find the unwavering courage and determination that is the essence of your spirit. NOW is the time to do the inner work of becoming clear, knowing yourSELF, walking YOUR path in service to the world.  NOW is the time to find your VIRA BHAVA, the essence of a warrior that exists inside each and every one of you.  

This is not the time to project our fears, our pain, our disappointment outward. This is the time to turn inside of ourselves, find our tribe to support us in our work, to dive into our shadows and begin the process of healing, love, and self acceptance.

I want you to know that if Vira Bhava Yoga ever was or ever could be the tribe that you were looking for, we are still here.  And we aren't going away.  We are fully committed to catalyzing communities of Spiritual Warriors in the world. Through tools, support, and community, we are committed to moving in the direction of what is the highest and best for ALL.”