Learn to Handstand. Learn to Love.

I am currently midway through the final week of the online course 6 Weeks to Handstand with Kyle Weiger. During the past few weeks I have felt new areas of my body ‘wake up’ and strengthen. I am slowly but surely seeing progress in my handstand form and shape. But the biggest take-away thus far is that although these drills and exercises are making me physically stronger, this course is really about learning to love. We all have the ability to change our ‘state’ anytime and we can begin to see results in any area of our lives in as little as 6 weeks. This series is about much more than nailing a handstand, it is about diving deep into; curiosity, doing the work, dedication, self-care, integrity, and keeping the flame alive! These are great teachings that can be applied to all areas of life. I reached out to Kyle to learn more about his story, and he was kind enough to share some wonderful insights. Big thanks Kyle for the inspiration. May we all keep loving the journey!

Tell us a little bit about your yoga background?

I got into yoga after literally 6 years of a friend nagging me because he said I spent too much time in the gym and I needed to work on my flexibility too. Little did I know that his persistence would change the entire trajectory of my life. Well played, Sir.

Can you share with us about your initial curiosities with handstand and your handstand journey thus far?

It definitely started with yoga. I had an obsession for learning all the arm balances and Handstand was one that I played with often. However, it wasn’t until I got into Gymnastics training, and Circus after that, where I realized just how differently each modality approaches the pose.

Gymnastics was the first time the idea of “the line” was drilled into me, and watching and training with Circus hand balancers was where I first realized it’s so much more than just a single pose. Handstanding is its own art form, and my current journey has me exploring it from this angle.

Do you see your approach to learning to handstand as a metaphor and a way to approach life in general?

Oooh! My favorite question!! Yes yes yes! This is one the BIGGEST things I talk about in my workshops.

SPOILER ALERT: BEING ABLE TO DO A HANDSTAND DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON…

Rather, I use it as a teaching tool to reflect on how I handle tough situations. When things get challenging, do you get frustrated and quit? Or do you learn to laugh at yourself, be willing to put in the work, and approach things with a light-hearted attitude.

Check out a video I did on this very topic: 

What is your favorite verbal cue to say to someone learning to handstand?

“GET TALLER”…..It’s the simplest cue, but it will immediately fix a lot of inflection points in the body. When you get taller, you press through the heel of your hand which will activate your traps and straighten out through the shoulder.

Meditation and journaling is a huge part of your practice. Tell us more…

Journaling is a daily activity for me, particularly the act of gratitude journaling. I like to give my attention and focus to all the things I am grateful for in this life. Whether it’s a deep conversation I recently had with my BFF, or if my Handstand felt significantly strong during a certain day, or if I pull my winter jacket out of the closet and find a $5 bill in it. I seriously write so much in there, so i go through journals like crazy.

As far as meditation, some yoga practitioners may disagree with me when I say that Handstand can be meditative. It requires your attention to direct to a single point of focus, a single task, and you have to be fully present or else you come out of balance.

Thus, seated meditations using visualization exercises are huge for me! So when I get upside down I can re-access that state of presence and purpose.

You are an entrepreneur and and have created a successful online business. Can you share some of your daily practices for finding the balance between wellness, community, work, and play?

This is also one of my favorite things to talk about. I’m actually in the midst of writing a course just for yoga professionals on how to do exactly what I did by using bare-bones resources.

At first, it wasn’t balanced…at all. It was a huge grind 12 months ago to get the product up. With launching a business, there’s no way around it but through it. That’s just how these things go.

Then over time, I found myself working on my website less and traveling to do workshops more.

I think it’s a lofty goal to have every individual day be perfectly balanced. Rather, I look at it in phases or waves. When I first launched 6 Weeks To Handstand with a $200 marketing budget and no clue if it was going to sell, it was a very stress-heavy & work-heavy phase of my life. Now I’m in more of a play-more-laugh-more kind of phase.

Those two balance each other out in the big picture, so I’m ok with sprints or bursts of hard work to have access to more abundance later.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’m moving more and more into the role of business consulting in the fitness industry. My business background is in Sales & Marketing, Paid Ad Campaigns, and Email Funnels. I want to share what I know with other people in our space. And of course I’ll never stop teaching Handstand!!!

Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations?

My biggest inspirations are my friends: I have a few pretty special people in my life that I draw inspiration from every single day: Clayton, Del, Katy, Ali, Madison, Bobby…you know who you are:)

As far as Handstanding, there are sooooo many talented people out there, but the coaches I’ve learned the most from are Miguel Santana, Yuri Marmerstein, Andrey Moraru, and Janchivdorj Sainbayar.

Anything else you’d like to share…

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abe Lincoln

 

 

Kyle Weiger is on a mission to show you that you are far stronger than you think you are. And not just in a rainbows-and-unicorns-motivational-speaker kind of stronger….more like a belief-shattering breakthrough “Holy Sh*t! I can’t believe I just did that!” kind of stronger. Kyle teaches Handstand course workshops around the world at Yoga Studios, Festivals, CrossFits, and Fitness Facilities alike. Regardless of the setting, his methodology and approach to learning Handstand just flat out works for students of all shapes and sizes.

kyleweiger.com

Connect on IG:  @kyleweiger

 

Mastering the Business of Yoga

So much gratitude for the human connections made possible through the path of yoga! Here with catch up with Amanda Kingsmith, the founder of M.B.Om. Amanda has created a functional wonderland for business minded yogis including; a podcast, a blog, a community group, a yoga business bootcamp, and more. Learn more about her story, insights, and the good and important work she is up to!

Can you tell us a bit about your yoga background?

I started practicing yoga with my mom in my second year of university. Having come from a competitive dance background, I enjoyed the body-mind connection, but I didn’t feel overly challenged in the classes that we were going to. So, I started going to hot yoga. I practiced hot yoga for a number of years until I started working in corporate and began going to a studio that was close to my office. My once a week classes quickly turned into daily classes and it wasn’t long before I was hooked.

Fast forward about 2 years, I had traveled to South America for 6 months and relocated to a small mountain town in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I started working for lululemon and was working as a part-time studio manager for a local yoga studio, and practicing almost everyday. It was at that point that I decided that I wanted to take my yoga teacher training.

Nearly a year later, I traveled to Canggu, Bali to do my 200-hour YTT and haven’t looked back since!

What is M.B.Om and how did this idea come about?

M.B.Om stands for Mastering the Business of Yoga, and it’s a play on “M.B.A or Masters of Business Administration”. It’s a podcast and blog that focuses on teaching yoga teachers the business side of the yoga industry, and helping them to learn more business skills and recognize that it is possible to create a sustainable living in the industry.

The idea came about soon after I returned from my yoga teacher training. I came back excited to teach, but I didn’t really know where to start. Luckily, I was well connected in the town I lived in and was able to get teaching gigs fairly easily. However, about 5 months later, my boyfriend and I relocated to the southern U.S. and I had to start over again. I found myself pulling a lot of what I knew from my business degree and my life working in marketing in the corporate world into my yoga career, but I was still struggling. I also felt that I couldn’t be alone in my struggles, so I decided to start an interview based podcast to talk with successful yoga teachers on how they created successful careers as a way to teach yoga teachers (and myself) how to be successful in the yoga world.

As an entrepreneur, how do you set healthy boundaries for yourself as well as keep motivated and creative?

Creating boundaries for myself has been one of the hardest parts of entrepreneurship and remote work. Some of the boundaries that I set for myself are:

  • At least one day off a week, usually Sundays, to spend with my boyfriend and go out and explore wherever I am based.
  • No calls in the mornings – my mornings are my time for meditation, yoga, journaling, making a big, healthy breakfast, checking emails, and getting my day started. If I need to, I will work around this, but in general I find that having my mornings for myself is really important for my productivity and organization.
  • My daytimer – I would be lost without my Passion Planner. It has all my calls, to-do lists, tasks that need to get done, etc., and I’ve found having a solid calendar system has been really key for my success as an entrepreneur.
  • Power Hour on Sundays, where I spend an hour getting my week organized and getting clear on what I need to get done, when I have calls, etc. This hour really sets me up for success.
  • Regular bedtime and wake up time (which is always a work in progress).
  • Once I “shutdown” and stop working for the night, I don’t check emails again.
  • I respond to emails within 24-48 hours.

In terms of staying motivated and creative, I turn to podcasts, books, yoga classes with other teachers, blog posts from some of my favorite health and wellness bloggers, and time in nature for inspiration. Some of my favorite podcasts right now are Being Boss, From the Heart – Conversations with Yoga Girl, Biz Chix and the occasional episode of the Tim Ferris show. I love following Lee from America and Alison Wu for health and wellness inspiration, and the Bulletproof weekly newsletter is one of my favorites for healthy recipes.

She Means Business by Carrie Green is one of my favorite business books, and The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden is easily one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read. If I’m ever super low on motivation and creativity, I read Harry Potter or Winnie the Pooh! 

The Digital Nomad/Location Independent scene is SO hot right now;) Do you think it is a sustainable long term way to live and healthy for local community? What are your thoughts of the future of digital nomad life?

Good question! I think that digital nomad life appears much more glamorous than it actually is. There are photos popping up on Facebook and Instagram of people working beachside with a drink in their hands or lounging by an infinity pool, and the reality is that computers are not waterproof, they will die and overheat, and you always need a good wifi connection (which the beach rarely has!).  

Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to live wherever I want, but I think that it’s important to note that digital nomad life doesn’t look so different from life at home – it just means you work from another country. I pretty much always work from my house, a coffee shop or a co working space though, never the beach! For me, this is the perfect balance of building a business and growing my career, while still being able to feed my love of travel and experiencing new countries.

I think that everyone is a bit different when it comes to lifestyle preferences. There are a lot of people who prefer to have a home and take vacations, while others prefer to roam. For me, I have always loved to travel and I don’t ever foresee myself living a life that doesn’t involve travel. However, travel will probably always look different depending what life stage I’m in. Right now, I’m loving spending winters somewhere warm and summers home in Canada, and taking some smaller trips throughout the year. At some point, I might want to have a place I call home for most of the year, but we’ll see.

I think that as humans we crave connection and we also crave community. Working remotely and having a location independent lifestyle means that you have to work a little bit more for your community because your community isn’t always right there in front of you. My boyfriend and travel partner, Ryan and I find that we feel most connected to a place when we can dive into the local community and become a part of it, and I think that as long as people are diving into and supporting their communities, local communities will continue to thrive.

I don’t think that the location independent lifestyle will ever die out, especially as it becomes easier and easier to do with technology, but I think we’ll see a lot of people trying it and finding that it’s not for them. For me personally, I’m excited to see what happens with the world as people move, travel and explore more. I think that exploring and learning about different cultures is one of the greatest ways to remember that we are all humans, regardless of language, race, gender, etc.

Your podcast is super successful! Congrats! What does it take to start and operate a functional podcast?

Thank you!

First off, starting a podcast is not as hard as most people imagine! All you need is an idea, a properly sized logo, a decent microphone and some recording / editing software.

Once you’ve got your podcast going, the most challenging part is staying on top of it. A successful podcast needs to have content released on a regular schedule and this can be one of the hardest parts when you have a busy schedule and lots of other things going on in your business. Now that podcasts are picking up more traction, there are a ton of editing companies, and I think that if you are starting a podcast as just one part of your business, it’s worth it to pay someone to produce it for you (especially if learning to produce audio doesn’t excite you and you’re already really busy).

For me, one of the biggest challenges when I first started was finding guests. I interviewed nearly every yoga teacher I knew before I started to gain some traction. It’s important to know that podcasting can be a big learning curve without very much direct return off the get go, but if you stick with it, you will gain a community of listeners (your tribe!), and have the opportunity to have conversations with people you may never otherwise have had the chance to have.

Although I love that my podcast is making me money now, it was 100% worth it just from a networking standpoint before I ever made a cent.

Yoga and Entrepreneurship can be seen as a paradox, although so many yogis are creating their own business to sustain themselves. Thoughts on this?

This has been a major focus of mine in 2018, as I completely agree that yoga and entrepreneurship don’t naturally blend themselves well. One of the biggest things that I try to instill to yoga teachers is that they are already building businesses, whether they like it or not.

Your students are your customers, your classes are your products, your teaching style is your brand, and when you teach more classes, offer workshops or retreats, you are naturally putting people through a sales funnel and selling to them. People get quickly turned off by marketing, sales funnels, and selling, but I want people to remember that we can offer a service that is authentic to us, sell it in a way that sticks to our values and feels true to ourselves and yoga, and create a brand while still staying true to the practice and lineage that is yoga.

In 2018, money is our currency exchange, and teaching yoga is simply an exchange. We exchange our service for money. If we can remember that, I think that we are all a lot better off in terms of building sustainable businesses and being able to continue offering yoga to our students.

I also like to think of teaching yoga as a form of entrepreneurship. We are our own service and brand and we work under the umbrella of studios to offer our service to customers. At the end of the day, we are not employees, we are entrepreneurs building heart-centered businesses with the goal of helping people heal and feel better in their bodies.

Who are some humans that currently inspire you?

I am lucky to have a lot of humans in my life that inspire me.

My boyfriend, Ryan Ferguson, is a constant source of inspiration for me. He reminds me to always make decisions based on my values even when those decisions are the hardest ones, pushes me to follow my dreams constantly, and challenges me to look at life differently.

I feel really fortunate to work with T.K. Coleman, the Director of Education for Praxis. He has taught me so much about working with other people, value creation, and how to be a good coach. He’s literally one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met!

I am also really inspired by one of the studio owners I work for, Jeff Mah. He’s an incredible yoga teacher, human, and mentor and he’s been one of the biggest inspirations for my own yoga career and business.

I’ve never met Carrie Green, but I am continuously inspired by her work. “She Means Business” was a game-changer for my business and I am constantly in awe by the her ability to drop so much value in a just a few words or a really short video. Whenever I need business inspiration, I turn to Carrie Green.

I’ve also never met Rachel Brathen, but I love her brand, her business and her podcast. She has a way of being authentic and telling it like it is that I love and that reminds me to be honest in the way that I portray myself, especially online.

Ayn Rand’s work has always inspired me. Not only is she an incredible author, but she is able to write fiction with deep philosophical narratives weaved through it, like no other author that I’ve ever read before. People often hate on Ayn Rand, but I think that anytime you can create a ton of controversy through something like a novel, you’re doing something right.

Similarly, Harry Potter is my favorite series of books and something that I turn to for inspiration time and time again, so it would be unfair to leave J.K. Rowling off this list. If I can create something in my lifetime even half as powerful as the Harry Potter series, I will die happy.

Where do you see M.B.Om and yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I hope to be financially sustainable with my online business, be teaching yoga regularly, and continue to be traveling regularly. I’m not quite sure where “home” will be yet, but I know that I will continue to venture back to the Canadian Rockies often.

I hope that in 10 years, discussing the business side of yoga will not be quite so taboo. I hope that every yoga teacher feels comfortable talking about money and business and that conversations around business are more prevalent in 200-hour YTTs. At the very least, I hope to be leading my own YTTs, where I can guarantee that there will be a business component (amongst the rest of it, because business is not the only important part!).

I hope that M.B.Om is at the top of the iTunes charts for “Careers” and that I have 10x as many listeners (assuming podcasts are still a thing – who knows, right?!). Either way, I hope that what I am doing is creating a wave in the yoga industry where I can help yoga teachers create sustainable long-term businesses so that they can teach yoga through until their 90’s and help heal the world. People need yoga and yoga teachers need to make money to keep teaching yoga, which is why learning about business is so, so important.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I also co-host a podcast called The World Wanderers with my boyfriend, Ryan. We have been doing the podcast for about 4 years and on top of sharing all of our travels around the world, we’ve had the opportunity to talk to a ton of amazing people who have created businesses related to travel, who travel full-time, who travel with their kids, who have become full-time travel bloggers, and much more. If you like travel, as well as yoga, please feel free to check it out!

CONNECT:

M.B.Om: Mastering the Business of Yoga

FB: @masteringthebusinessofyoga

IG: @masteringthebusinessofyoga

 

Pat Bailey: Live The Life You Love

Living the life you love is a delicate balance of following your heart and dedicated work. The most inspiring humans I connect with are living this balance. Pat Bailey is one of these humans. Pat is a student and teacher of yoga, a traveler, a poet, a photographer, and an amazing business woman. She has created a life she loves thru manifestation, devotion, and consistent effort. Here we catch up with Pat to learn from her experiences and creative offerings. HELL YES PAT! Thank YOU for shining bright and sharing your wisdom!

What led to the creation of The Hell Yes Life? Was there a defining moment?

I created The Hell Yes Agency, an Influencer Marketing Agency, a few years ago after figuring out how to monetize my brand as an Influencer and creating a team doing the same. The Hell Yes Life was born, as an extension of this brand, at the end of last year to encompass all of the “Hell Yes” things I am doing, and to share my wisdom and expertise in various ways. I wish I could say there was a “defining moment” that led to the creation of my current projects, but it was and is more like synchronicity and a culmination of 46 years of living, learning and teaching that has come together as a practice that evolves and changes daily.

Can you give us some insight into how you combine yogic principles and entrepreneurship?

For a long time, as a corporate person and maybe like many people, I juggled my personal feelings and approach to life with the 9 to 5 corporate paradigm. My heart projects and longing to live a deeper, more meaningful life were always on the back burner while I was going through the motions of working for a secure paycheck. It never felt authentic to me and eventually, after several attempts, I decided to jump and trust and I left the corporate world to create and live a more authentic, heart-forward life. As I was getting closer and closer to jumping I completed my 200HR Bhakti Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training with Rusty Wells, and it was here that I began to hear my heart clearly.

It was natural to begin creating this life I wanted to live with my heart first in a yogic way, because I am a yogi first. And, more than that, I knew that I was on the right path, and continue to feel this way, because there was no compromise or putting anything on the back burner this time – I could be all of the parts of me at once combining yoga, business and creative endeavors that my heart loves. Because choreographing this dance, balance, beautiful blend of two complimentary things comes easily to me I knew this was something I was supposed to share with others. I feel deeply that this is part of my dharma.

The two are interdependent, not separate. When we separate yogic principles from anything entrepreneurial is when things are harder, not authentic and maybe (I would argue) not as successful or fulfilling for us.

Kindness, Truthfulness, Righteousness, Wisdom, Simplicity, Gratitude, Humility and Self-discipline are core “yogic principles,” and the traits of most successful entrepreneurs.  The work that I do with students in my Hell Yes Academy is based on these principles and applying them to branding, and creating a more heart-forward and authentic life. I begin, just like every yoga class begins: with an invitation for students to set clear intentions for what they want to experience/create. And every bit of the three months together is a blending of yogic principles and successful business, branding and entrepreneurial skills.

Why do you think a lot of yogis struggle with their relationships with ‘business’ and money? Any tips on how to work through this?

I’ve thought a lot about this, both personally as a yogi and as a entrepreneur and coach. It is unfortunate that so many yoga teachers struggle with this because it is keeping them from living their dharma more deeply and sharing their talents, skills and practice with more people.

In my experience, yogis struggle with the promotion of their “business” and accepting and/or asking for proper compensation because they feel like it is not “yogic.” When I hear this I instantly think and feel like they are not acting from their heart space but rather their ego space.  If in your heart as a yoga teacher you feel deeply that you are living your dharma by sharing your practice with as many people as you can, then it is your absolute, divine responsibility to promote what you do to everyone you meet in order to fulfill this dharma. The fact that this intention is seen as, or turns into, a “business” somehow clouds the intention for some. If this is the clear intent, then you aren’t promoting your “business” or collecting compensation for yourself, you are doing this for a higher purpose.

There is incredible grace and beauty in humility and sometimes many of us navigating yoga and business find it hard to balance the two. A successful yoga teacher, living her dharma with confidence and heart, promotes her yoga as a business from her heart space and graciously and humbly accepts the hard-earned compensation knowing she is deserving because she is utilizing her wisdom, life and vessel to do so. Do you see how a shift in thought, approach, and clear intention can change how you think, feel and maybe act on this subject?

I invite yoga teachers who struggle with promoting their business, or themselves and asking for/accepting money to do it, to think about their dharma, their intentions for sharing their practice, and to do the asking and earning from their heart place – not their ego. There are plenty of causes and organizations to donate excess compensation to for yoga teachers collecting more than they need. Imagine a yoga teacher collective consciousness that stepped into this shift in thinking, that shared their practice/dharma with more people, and that gave their excess to deserving causes.

How important is manifestation to you? Do you practice it daily?

Manifesting is everything to me. Realizing that I am creating my reality every moment with a single thought is powerful. When I feel out of flow, off balance, sad or anything that is not authentic, I remind myself that I have the power to shift this with a single thought. This has been a lifelong practice for me ever since I was a little girl.

Because the power of manifestation, the practice of doing so, and the positive results are so important to me, and the outcome of the life I have created and model living, I incorporate this teaching into my work with students, on and off the mat.

Can you share some of the positives and negatives of living life as a digital nomad?

A few of the most positive aspects of living life as a digital nomad are the adventure and the incredible freedom, independence and empowerment that it gives you. When you let go of a home, a place, a set/small community, the idea of an office, etc. and you open up to the possibility of having all of these things and more in a bigger place and different way: anywhere in the world, this is an incredible feeling. Big magic and shifts happen when you surrender into this intention; the world literally opens up to you. I feel this happening every single day and this, and the feeling of lightness and open possibility, are my very favorite things about being a digital nomad.

A common misconception about being a digital nomad is that it’s easy, and many people don’t realize that in order to do it successfully you have to plan ahead and create revenue streams for yourself which you can earn while being anywhere in the world. If you can combine passive income, and on-going income with opportunities while you travel this is ideal. And, because this sometimes takes more work and hustle than the traditional 9 to 5 corporate job, it is not easy.

Digital nomads are true entrepreneurs, and in my opinion the ultimate independents. One of the compromises of this way of life is sometimes community. If building a solid community in one place to share your practice is an important intention for you this will be difficult if you choose to be a digital nomad. Instead you might set an intention to build smaller communities around the world, and a larger “global” community.

How do you maintain a healthy relationship with technology?

With A LOT of discipline! Because being online, and plugged into the grid is a big part of what I do dharma-wise and for my livelihood, I spend a lot of time utilizing technology – technology is also an essential part of being a digital nomad. How I balance a healthy, spiritual, creative and happy life while utilizing technology daily has everything to do with the routines, habits, rituals, and schedule/intentions I set and practice every day. I share this technique and some inspiration for doing this with my students in the academy. It comes down to discipline, some days I’m better at this than other days – it’s a practice!

What does a typical morning look like for you? Do you have morning rituals?

Yes, I believe in the power of a morning ritual for setting the tone and clear intention for the day.  Doing this every morning has saved me some days when I feel isolated, anxious, unsure, etc. I meditate every single morning, this is part of my morning ritual. The first hour of each day is a no tech hour, it’s my yummy time to go inside of myself and find love there for me. I started this devoted practice three years ago when I was healing from a broken heart and now it is part of my daily habit/ritual. This grounds me when I feel out of flow. Sometimes I add a listen to an inspirational podcast or video to the end of this meditation and it becomes moving meditation. I might do this while practicing yoga, making breakfast or taking a shower. I try to have a modest, healthy breakfast each morning. After this, I plug in much like someone might read the morning paper. The morning paper for me consists of blog articles from a running list I have saved, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (in that order). The end of my morning ritual always includes setting a clear intention for the day and reminding myself that my job as a manifestor and spirit living a heart-forward life is to be happy as much as possible each day, and I make a very short list of 1 or 2 things I will accomplish for the day. Then I start my day.

If you could tell all aspiring entrepreneurs just one sentence of wisdom, what would it be?

How about two (long) sentences? I think Patanjali’s wisdom is most powerful for all of us but especially for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly in the yoga/heart space:

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

What trends or changes do you foresee within the next 5-10 years for the yoga and wellness community/industry?

I’m very excited that the conversation about “mindful work,” and “mindfulness in the workplace” is now prevalent and nearly mainstream. The conversation began in a whisper about three years ago, and now many CEOs, start-ups and even bigger companies and brands are recognizing the benefits and outcomes and the conversation is now broad, bold and really creative and exciting. It is because of this that my teachings and approach to yogic branding are appreciated and respected.

The collective shift happening right now to move away from old paradigms and into more heart-forward, heart-based living with the lovers of these lives designing their own lives will continue. Every single day an old wall dissolves and innovative alternatives are erected. This is because more of us want something deeper, something more meaningful; this is because we are all listening now more than ever before – collectively and globally, but especially in the yoga and wellness community/industry.

Because the grid is being redesigned, the sky is the limit! The most aware and innovative and ready professionals in the yoga and wellness community/industry will be creating and hosting transformative “experiences” instead of the traditional “retreat” and they are doing this already, right now. Offices are now in cafes and on the beach, yoga is happening virtually and it is becoming medicine prescribed by doctors to patients. The value of yoga is increasing, and this will continue. The practice and teaching of yoga is increasing, and this will continue.

Who and/or what inspires you most right now?

I am inspired greatly by free-thinkers, innovators, and disruptors. I look to them to stretch my way of thinking, to challenge what I think and know to be possible. I am in-awe of Jason Silva and mesmerized every time I witness one of his videos knowing that I am watching someone in pure flow sharing it with the world in a courageous and impeccably authentic way. He inspires me greatly. I am inspired by Tim Ferris and his invitations to think about how we think about work. My current muses also include writers like Rupi Kaur, Arthur Rimbauld and Ayn Rand.  They are bold, courageous, independent and incredibly talented.

Tell us about your upcoming New Year’s Retreat with Mary Tilson…

Xinalani is a very special place, I discovered it on retreat myself with Rusty Wells, my teacher, a few years ago. The energy of this paradise in Mexico will set the tone for this retreat that Mary Tilson (Yoga Trade Travel Rep) and I are creating to share with students. For me, one of the most exciting things about this experience is that I am co-creating it with Mary, a yoga teacher and forever student, that I respect greatly. Together we are blending teachings for a practice on and off the mat that will invite students to take ownership of their lives and begin thinking about ways that they can create, and as the retreat is called:   “Live the Life You Love.”

The retreat takes place at the end of the year, December 30 – January 6, a very important and auspicious time for cutting cords and setting clear intentions, for celebrating and letting go.   Mary and I will be taking every opportunity during this time together to share our wisdom and create sacred, inspirational space for the group to feel empowered and supported to follow their hearts and it is our hope that each person leaves with a plan for ways that they can begin living a life that they love.

 

Connect with Pat:

Live the Life You Love

IG:

@patbailey

@thehellyeslife

She Will Rise

Kelsey is the Creator of She Will Rise: a community of women who are rising from the ashes of their past into the brilliance of their future. The community offers Trauma Therapy, Group Coaching, Retreats, and a Podcast. I met Kelsey in 2010, at a very dear place to my heart, Yandara in Baja, Mexico. I was there for one month taking a training and she was there teaching and working. Her strength and vibrance inspired me. We did not really stay in touch but years later, life brought us back together. We had both continued on the paths of living yoga and were simultaneously working on creative projects within the wellness world. Love had led me to the location that she was living. The connections that are made through yoga and wellness are amazing, and it is exciting and magical to grow and evolve together. Here we catch up with Kelsey, to learn from her story and wisdom. Thank you Kelsey for sharing your bright light!

Tell us about the inspirations that led to the creation of the She Will Rise Podcast…

 

On my own path of recovery I didn’t like or fit into the conventional systems or route, they just didn’t work for me. I had to make it up as I went a long and find my own way. I now call this intuitive recovery.  I had to learn how to listen to my heart AND ALSO my body AND ALSO my soul. It was hard for me as I didn’t meet a lot of people doing what I was doing and I felt like I was crazy at times. I knew that what I was doing was working for me but I lacked support and I felt very alone. As I developed the She Will Rise Intuitive Recovery Programs and Retreats I found other women offering amazing things too. I have always been comfortable sharing my story and I saw other women were starting to share theirs too. I thought, “what if there was a free resource for women where they could listen to other unique stories of recovery and have access to many tools and techniques so they could find their own unique and intuitive way through their trauma?” That is when the She Will Rise Podcast was born.

 

How has yoga helped shape your path?

 

I have heard a lot of people say that yoga saved their  life, I truly believe it saved mine. I was 23 and suffering from some pretty serious injuries from snowboarding. I couldn’t sit down for longer than an hour and I would wake up in pain every day. My friend dragged me to an Ashtanga yoga class after much convincing. I had dabbled with yoga by myself for many years before but never really went to classes. So I went and I cried the whole class because it hurt but felt good at the same time. I woke up in no pain so I went back. My body got stronger and had less pain. Then I tried a yin class…it was emotionally excruciating for me and I cried through every class for months. I was going to 6-8 classes a week because I was feeling so much emotional and physical relief. I was sold and in a year decided I wanted to be a yoga teacher. I have had some of my greatest physical healings, emotional breakthroughs and spiritual awakenings in practicing yoga and I can see myself having it in my day to day practice for the rest of my life.

Why do you feel called to create a space specifically for women?

 

I am a woman who has experienced a lot of abuse from men and I know a lot of other women have experienced the same thing and do not feel safe when men are around them. When women gather and are in a safe and sacred space to open up, magical things happen. The way women or female identified people feel, create, heal, dance and play is unique and it is different. The essence of who you are whether feminine or masculine needs to be initiated, honored and held with love. There is something remarkably strong about a compassionate sisterhood based in holding the highest vision for each other and I want to be a part of that.

How has the process of holding these conversations with women helped in your own growth and healing?

 

I believe our stories are medicine. When we hear a woman’s story of what she has been through it helps us feel like we are not alone and we might find the tools or words of inspiration that we are looking for. This is also true for me. I learn SO much from every woman I interview, their strength, courage and vulnerability deeply touches the parts in me that need just that to keep going. The friendships that are being made from the interviews and also the programs are so supportive, it is truly amazing.

Do you have any words of wisdom for women in wellness that are thinking about starting their own creative entrepreneurial projects?

 

You don’t have to do it all yourself. Don’t be afraid to hire someone who can do a task in an hour which would take you days. Stay connected to your values and practice integrity. Base your business around this. Look to others who are inspiring to you and surround yourself with supportive people. Stay away from comparison and jealousy of other women in the same field, there is absolutely enough clientele for you and the people you are meant to work with are out there waiting for you. Promote and support your colleagues; cross promotion is a powerful tool. Find a deep WHY.  Why are you are doing what you are doing?  Align the ‘why’ with your values and write it down everywhere!

 

WHAT and/or WHO sparks you up most right now?

 

All the amazing women I am interviewing for the podcast.  They are all so different, some of them students, mothers, big and little business owners, entrepreneurs, and they all have an amazing story to tell. They inspire me so much! I am also deeply immersed in earth based magic and ceremony and learning more to live with the circadian rhythms, following the moon cycles and living with the seasons. Then there are the animals in my life, my dogs, and the horses I work with and ride. I am now offering Animal Communication as a part of the programs I offer and it is profound the healing and therapy animals have to offer us.

 

 

Learn more and connect with Kelsey and this beautiful community:

Kelsey is a recovered addict and sexual abuse survivor who is dedicating her life to breaking the silence around these issues by sharing her story and supporting women to work through their trauma. She is the Creator of She Will Rise. Hear from courageous women who share their stories of a painful experiences and traumas, and how they work through it. The She Will Rise Podcast offers tools, resources and gifts to listeners. Stories are medicine. Together we are stronger.

www.shewillrise.community

IG:  @shewillrise.community

Yoga Business: How to Create Location Independence and Sustainable Success Catching Up With The Yoga Nomads

We feel extremely fortunate to know Anne and Brandon, aka The Yoga Nomads. We have been friends thru the Yoga Trade community for several years now. This inspiring couple left their successful jobs in Corporate America to follow their passions for yoga and travel. Following their hearts has allowed them to live their truth and create an incredible yoga business resource that helps yoga teachers build fulfilling careers. It has been amazing to learn, grow, and explore while on parallel tracks. The number one question many of us on this ‘yoga traveler’ path receive is, “How do you do it?” It often takes a lot more than just showing up to teach a yoga class to make this kind of lifestyle work. We recently caught up with Anne and Brandon to share some of their wisdom, real life experiences, and insights on how to create sustainable success as a roaming yoga teacher or wellness professional. 

 

Tell us a bit about how you are able to sustain your flow of yoga and travel…

 

Very carefully…!

 

Mentally & Physically:

Healthy daily routines: This is the foundation of everything we do. Without these practices, it can throw our lives off balance, especially while traveling. These include:

Daily meditation, eating nourishing food, staying hydrated, practicing yoga, being physically active, reading, podcasting and in general: learning! (Travel helps us learn so much about the world and ourselves, which influences everything we do!).

 

Financially:

Teaching yoga & The Yoga Nomads biz

In 2013 we made a decision to leave the corporate world for a more fulfilling work/life balance, seeking out meaningful work while getting to explore the world. We worked hard for a combined 10 years in corporate america so had a cushion to work with as we started The Yoga Nomads. Originally a blog showing yoga teachers how to travel + teach, we started making a name for ourselves in the market as this idea was just starting to become popular (traveling and teaching). Since then, our focus has shifted a bit to help yoga teachers create websites and build sustainable businesses. We earn the majority of our income on The Yoga Nomads through 1:1 yoga business coaching and we have an online course about how to build a website.

What is the number one piece of advice you like to pass along to aspiring traveling yoga teachers?

 

Build a website! This will help you stand out in a saturated market, get better teaching gigs abroad, and help you network while you build a business that sustains you as you travel.

 

How do you build community as a nomad?

 

We are both extroverted people so building community wherever we go comes naturally. One way we do this in the yoga space is by seeking out all the studios in the area we are traveling to and getting to know the owners, teachers and staff. We attend their classes, share with them our mission at The Yoga Nomads and ensure we leave connected online by exchanging emails, websites, social media, etc.

 

But because we live in a digital world, building community online is also important. We build community online by staying active on social media (actually genuinely engaging in FB groups, etc.), sending out a weekly newsletter to our email subscribers, and initiating and participating in challenges on social media.

 

Why are the qualities of; open to learn new skills, diversification, and commitment to mindful business responsibilities important for yoga teachers?

 

Because these are all qualities of successful entrepreneurs! And if you want to make it as a financially independent yoga teacher, it’s imperative you start thinking like an entrepreneur. Yoga teachers are entrepreneurs too!

 

 

Becoming ‘location independent’ is so hot right now. Can you share some knowledge on how someone interested in this kind of lifestyle can get started working toward this?

 

 

It is absolutely #trending right now! This makes things easier for those looking to make a change as there are plentiful resources on how to do it.

 

Before considering plunging into a location independent lifestyle, we recommend considering what your strengths are and what you are really good at doing/producing. Then begin to consider if these things are something you can take with you on the road or online.

 

Also, be sure to test the idea out at home first. Make sure you’re able to acquire clients and earn and income before you leave. Although traveling and working sounds amazing, it is actually quite difficult to balance travel and working full-time online. This is also why we highly recommend traveling SLOW. Slow travel fosters quicker growth for your business, as you’re not constantly moving around and changing work environments.

 

What trends and changes do you foresee within the yoga and wellness industry within the next 5-10 years?

 

As more people are getting curious and serious about their health, the industry for yoga teachers and wellness entrepreneurs is going to grow exponentially.

 

To continue to remain successful in your niche, yoga teachers and wellness entrepreneurs will need to take control over their own brand. This means building a website and creating a strong online presence. Having a website as your backbone will allow you to take full ownership over your current or future products and services and will act as your 24/7 marketing machine.

 

Furthermore, the crossover appeal is going to rise as well. With creating a healthy lifestyle becoming more popular (yay), yoga teachers with additional trades (nutritionist, chiropractor, bodyworker, etc.), will be servicing the same people with multiple offerings. The question is how can you be a part of that change as the world gets healthier?

 

What locations are on your current yoga travel bucket list?

 

Colombia, Switzerland, Australia…and more islands…!

 

Anything else you would like to share…..

 

If you don’t already have a yoga website and are curious about what it takes to create one, we put together a beginner’s guide for you, for free!

 

 

 

 

Anne and Brandon are a nomadic yogi couple from Minnesota. After a successful stint in Corporate America, they teach yoga instructors how to create their own website & build a fulfilling yoga career. Co-Founders of The Yoga Nomads and CreateBeautifulYogaWebsites.com

Download our FREE Beginners Guide: How to Create a Yoga Website you LOVE (7 steps).

Panama Sail Adventure: Living Yoga at Sea

Five years ago in Indonesia, on the very same trip the idea for Yoga Trade was born, I also met Captain Bryan Blaze. His sense of adventure instantly captivated me. Bryan, a seasoned sailor, was living part time in Indo and part time in Panama. In 2012, I remember him telling me about a passion project he was focusing on in Central America. We kept in touch intermittently. It has been inspiring to stay in contact with a fellow free-spirited entrepreneur who has persevered and made a grand vision a reality. Bryan is the Founder of Nirvana Surf Yoga and captain and owner of the Green Flash Catamaran based out of Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Last March, divine timing was on our side and a group of incredibly creative yogis came together in the archipelago to board the Green Flash to spend 3 nights of living yoga at sea. In addition to Bryan and I, our group was comprised by; Diego, an acro yoga teacher, traveler, and photographer from Venezuala. Judita, a globetrotter, ocean lover, and sailor from the Czech Republic. And Simone, a wellness travel educator, photographer, and soul sister from Oregon. This experience was one for the books and a good reminder that sometimes the most profound yoga revelations come when we integrate yoga into our everyday activities and adventures.

All photos by Simone Levine and Diego Barbato

Our first night was spent moored just off of Bastimentos Island. The beauty of the first light and colorful glow awoke me in the morning. I rose and went to the deck to watch the sun rise over the jungle island. It was amazing to practice meditation with the sounds of sweet hooting birds and gentle waves making playful sounds against the boat. Together we snacked on a light and healthy breakfast and then went to land to share a lovely asana practice at Red Frog beach.

 

The journey continued as we headed toward the Zapatilla Islands and eventually further south. Although we did not score swells ideal for surfing on this trip, we were blessed with phenomenal water clarity and we happily immersed ourselves in all its glory. Daily activities included; cruising around on the SUPs, snorkeling, and swimming. We tapped into our childlike states attempting flips and back dives off the boat. We took some goofy underwater mermaid shots and even played a round of underwater karaoke. We explored an uninhabited island and were graced by the presence of beautiful sea life.

The colors of the water from these days will continue to inspire my dreams and and imagination beyond this lifetime.

 

Our last night we ended up in a stunning bay where a local village resides. The new moon and favorable conditions delivered shooting stars and magnificent bioluminescence. The following morning we paddled into land and took a short hike to yet another picture perfect beach. We played around with some acro yoga, body surfed, and connected with a few local people. In the afternoon, the winds began to pick up a bit and we enjoyed a peaceful sail. My favorite memory comes from this afternoon…while swaying in the hammock listening to the sound of a tibetan chime, I realized we were flowing in synch with a pod of dolphins! Sailing has a magical way of bringing us in touch with presence and gratitude for this amazing world in which we live!

 

 

 

Benefits of Integrating Yoga and Sailing:

 

RELATIONSHIPS

While living on a boat, there are not many places to run or hide. This dynamic allows relationships to become magnified. Not only the relationships with ourselves but also our relationships with others. This can be challenging at times, but this also causes growth. Constant changes and ‘unknowns’ are thrown into the mix while sailing. As individuals and as a group we must adapt and deal with the situations at hand. The art of designing beneficial relationships is our choice, and being on a boat can help unveil work that needs to be done while helping us form special human connections.

BALANCE

Simple balance poses such as Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana), take on a whole new personality while cruising on water. For yogis who have practiced for a while, sailing brings unique approaches to postures. It is a great way to work on strengthening our smaller, secondary muscles. Also, being in the middle of the sea allows us to observe in great depth our emotional and spiritual balance. If you have yet to experience much sailing or time on the ocean, it is a great way to view things with new perspectives.

 

EXPLORATION

The ocean is teeming with life. Humans have barely scratched the surface when it comes to ocean exploration, and to some, the ocean feels like the final frontier here on earth. What better place to practice yoga than a place like this, where we can simultaneously explore our inner world while appreciating and exploring our outer existence here on this planet.

 

LEARN NEW SKILLS & LIVING YOGA

There is so much to learn about sailing. Navigation, wind, mechanics, etc….and this is only the beginning. Just like yoga, and many things in life, sailing allows us to be a forever student. It allows us to strengthen our problem solving skills, keep positive mindsets, and make do with what we have. It can give us confidence in realizing we do know more than we think if we have patience to reach new discoveries. Also, we can practice living our yoga by becoming aware that what we get out of an experience is a direct result of what we put into it.

 

BE IN TUNE WITH THE ELEMENTS

Living in fresh air and on a boat makes it easy for us to get in tune with the natural elements and our own circadian rhythm. Waking up with the sunrise, stargazing at night, feeling the winds, riding the currents, and becoming intuitively in touch with the swell, helps us feel deeply connected. It is from this place of deep connection that creative energy and flow is the most potent.

 

SUSTAINABILITY

By being immersed in and surrounded by mother ocean, it allows us to naturally form a deep respect for her and the entire natural world. We become more aware of the impact many modern life normalities can have, and start looking to alternative and more regenerative ways to live and thrive. Pondering, ‘all we need is less’ can be quite easy to do while sailing on a boat, and a great place to begin our pledge to living more simply and sustainably.

I left Bocas Del Toro with a full heart and beaming with gratitude for this opportunity and for the time spent with old and new friends.

Take your practice deeper by integrating yoga philosophies into everyday life.

There is a place inside of you where magic grows…KEEP THAT PLACE ALIVE!

To join in on a yoga at sea adventure or to bring a retreat group of your own on the Green Flash Cat, visit Nirvana Surf Yoga for more information:

NIRVANASURFYOGA.COM

 

 

 

 

Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

 

Article Photography by: Simone Levine and Diego Barbato

 

Love Teaching Yoga

I met Michelle Linane at the Yoga Expo in Santa Clara last summer. Her passion for yoga, business, and life is contagious. We connected right away as we both are devoted to creating more resources for the growing yoga teacher community. Michelle is the Founder of Love Teaching Yoga, a website with an intention to empower yoga teachers – to help them spread the light of yoga in an insightful and informed manner. Here we catch up with Michelle as she shares her story, thoughts, and inspirations. Thanks for shining bright Michelle!!!

Tell us briefly about your yoga background…

 

My journey with yoga began in 2004, when I took my first yoga class, and I’ll admit, I didn’t care for it much at first. However, over the years yoga continued to call my name and I practiced intermittently until I feel in love with it almost 8 years later. Yoga became my saving grace during a time of chaos in my life and it’s forever changed me. One day in early 2013, I woke up to voice that said I had to open a donation-based yoga studio, and I had no choice but to follow it. A few short months later, I opened the doors to Be The Change Yoga & Wellness in San Jose, California.

 

Being that I was not a yoga teacher at the time, my path of being a studio owner was very different than most. I didn’t have a following or a community of teacher friends, so I had to build the studio completely from scratch. I also funded the studio on my own dime, so there wasn’t money for fancy marketing, and I had to boot-strap it with guerilla marketing strategies. I immediately began to flyer at a nearby university, which then lead to private classes for sororities, free classes on the student union lawn, and weekly classes for the baseball team. I regularly had a booth at our local farmers’ market where I raffled off free yoga and collected email signups. I developed a corporate yoga program and hustled my booty off to acquire contracts with local businesses. I even partnered with the city of San Jose to bring community classes to a nearby park in the summers, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. My point, however, is that through this process I learned a great deal about marketing, building community partnerships, and what it takes to thrive in the yoga business. I also learned that you don’t need a studio to bring yoga to your community. In fact, getting outside the studio often has a greater impact as we are more adept to meet people where they are in life (i.e. at home, work, parks, schools, public events, groups and clubs, health fairs, hospitals, online, etc.) and make yoga more accessible.

 

 

What sparked the idea to create the Love Teaching Yoga website?

 

Well, I didn’t mention this in my background story, but I eventually took a 200 hour yoga teacher training with Mark Stephens at Santa Cruz Yoga. Upon completion of the training, my life pulled me in another direction in both my yoga career and personal life. I moved out of the San Francisco Bay Area and transferred ownership of the studio to one of our amazing instructors. Again, I heard a voice of inspiration that I couldn’t deny. Over the years, I had witnessed too many teachers struggle to: pay the bills doing what they love, discover their authentic voice, figure out how to teach more than asana classes, and find accessible/affordable continuing education. I also really missed the schooling and comradery of yoga teacher training, as many teachers do after they finish.

 

Because I had already found myself in positions of mentorship based on my business experience, I began to realize I had something unique to offer teachers that was very much needed. The voice in my heart guided me to create something that would essentially pick up where teacher trainings leave off, providing continued support and education in all aspects of teaching yoga (the art, science AND business of teaching yoga).

 

Reflecting on what I had learned about teaching yoga outside the studio, I knew Love Teaching Yoga didn’t need a brick and mortar space, and it would take the shape of digital guides, books, a podcast, online courses, workshops, coaching and more. It had to be accessible and affordable, which enables me to meet teachers where they are in life and their careers. So, I set to work and have been pouring my heart and soul into this for almost two years now.

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Why do you think so many people are becoming yoga teachers?

 

There’s a variety of factors contributing to the influx of teachers. The first being that simply more people are practicing yoga, which leads to more people who fall in love with it and want share the practice with others by teaching. The growing popularity of yoga also brings and increased need for teachers. Yoga teacher trainings are also great sources of revenue for both studios and teachers, so naturally, there’s a push there to get more yogis enrolled. Additionally, many people have been looking for supplemental income over the years, and have turned to yoga as means of helping others while helping their monthly bills. I should also add, I think there’s an element of trendiness too, sometimes the media paints it as a very glamorous and blissful profession, so many teachers are blindsided by reality of the challenges that exist within it.

 

What are some of the challenges you feel new yoga teachers face today?

 

My answer to this question relates directly to that of the previous question. Many people enter a teacher training without knowing the realities of the profession- blissfully unaware of the low pay, inconsistent and demanding hours (mornings, nights and weekends), growing competition for prime-time classes in studios, and the challenge of finding the time and energy for one’s personal practice. Not to mention the physical and emotional tolls, such as popping in and out of poses to demo and compassion fatigue. And, it’s not only facing this reality that new teachers struggle with, but once they realize it, then it’s even more of a challenge to figure out how to carry on teaching, despite these challenges.

 

Of course there are other challenges too, like understanding their employment status (independent contractor vs. employee), paying their income taxes as a self-employed yoga teacher, finding an insurance policy, and how to gain experience when studios won’t hire you without experience. Without support and advice from experienced teachers and other professionals, these challenges can easily defeat any teacher- which is why I’m here to help through my work with Love Teaching Yoga. I believe in the power of yoga to help heal this world, and I don’t want anyone to veer from the path of teacher because they needed help navigating the terrain.

 

How do you feel about the concept of mixing business and yoga?

 

I think business and yoga are like yin and yang- seemingly opposing forces that are interconnected and complimentary. Like I said, I deeply believe in the power of yoga to help heal this world, which means the wisdom has to be brought to the masses, and that takes some business know-how. An unfortunate side-effect of bringing anything to the masses is that some will take advantage of it for their own greedy, capital gain. Sadly, this is happening in yoga and part of the reason mixing business and yoga gets a bad rap. However, doing business doesn’t have to be aggressive and greedy, and we can operate our yoga businesses according to the yogic principals of honesty and ahimsa.

 

The thing is, we’re experiencing a shift in modern yoga. Where the ancient practice was once a school of thought or tradition handed down through scriptures and spiritual teachings, the form of yoga today takes a much different shape today. While it remains true, that at the heart of we are teaching is transformation from within, we live in societies that reflect a different way of life than the ancient teachers of the past. We have to earn an income through our work, whether that’s teaching yoga or working an office job.

 

Think of it like putting on your oxygen mask before assisting others. If you don’t put your mask on first (i.e. earn a viable living to support yourself), you won’t be as apt to help all those people who need you, because you’ll have to spend 40 hours a week at another job that pays your bills. Being business-savvy is what helps keep modern yoga teachers in the game, you can’t survive these days off simply being a great teacher. We have TONS of great teachers. Developing some business skills will help any teacher maximize their time and talent to make a bigger impact on the world.

“Business skills are the missing ingredients to on-going success for many teachers. Passion without a plan, without action, and without hard work won’t produce your dream career. Lucky for you, passion isn’t something you can learn, but business is.”

– The Thriving Yoga Teacher: How To Create A Sustainable Career Doing What You Love

Do you know many full time yoga teachers who are sustaining themselves just by teaching, or do most teachers have other jobs or businesses that supplement?

 

I actually know quite a few teachers who earn a full-time income from teaching yoga. However, they currently are not the majority, as the average teacher has at least one other job. BUT, I’m happy to say the scales are shifting as more teachers develop the skills it takes to thrive.

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Was “The Thriving Yoga Teacher: How To Create A Sustainable Career Doing What You Love” your first book? Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing it?

 

I’d say yes, it’s my first book in the traditional meaning, but I also wrote a guidebook to incomes taxes for yoga teachers in 2015 (more info here). The guidebook is only available in digital form and is much shorter, so it took a lot less time and energy. To my surprise, writing The Thriving Yoga Teacher turned out to be an arduous process.

 

It began like most creative endeavors, full of ideas and motivation. Like writing out a sequence, I first started with my intention. Why was I writing this book and what did I want teachers to gain from it? This came naturally and was very inspiring. I knew I wanted to incorporate real life stories from a variety of teachers, so the second phase was about conducting interviews, which was also super fun. The challenges started to arise once I had to unravel my spaghetti bowl full of ideas and research, and map out an outline that would make sense to a teacher at any stage of their career. Once I got that mess sorted out, the process got easier again and I eagerly began writing the actual content. Naturally, I spent the most time in this phase, regularly clocking 12 hours a day on my laptop. By the end, my body was a wreck and I was so happy to wrap up the writing. I guess what I’m getting at is, like most things in life, the energy ebbed and flowed. There were times I loved it, and times I hated it. There were moments I second guessed myself mixed with moments of certainty. Nevertheless, I ventured on and today I can say it’s helping hundreds of teachers around the globe.

 

What are your definitions of ‘THRIVING’ and ‘SUSTAINABLE’?

 

The common definition of thrive is to grow vigorously, but when referencing a teacher’s career, I use the word thrive to mean flourish. It would be a disservice to teachers, if I simply focused on rapid growth. My intention is for teachers to flourish and experience luscious growth- growth that is continuous, steady and rich with intention, purpose and dharma. A thriving yoga teacher doesn’t merely scrape by, but experiences wealth of abundance in all aspects of their career. In a similar sense, I use the word sustainable to represent that continuous and steady growth that is manageable, yet prosperous for a lifetime.

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If you could inspire all new yoga teachers with one sentence, what would it be?

 

In the wise words of a courageous little fish Dori, “just keep swimming”.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

 

Ask for help, and know that you don’t have to do this alone. Build a support system of teachers around you in-person and online. Start a teacher meetup and join teacher Facebook groups. Explore the wide range of resources at your fingertips to support your growth and development, such as Love Teaching Yoga. Find a mentor or coach who can help keep you on track and share insight beyond your knowledge.

And have courage- which doesn’t mean be fearless. Being courageous means choosing to act even in the presence of fear. While the advice of myself and others is a tremendous resource, it still comes down to you. No one has a magic formula that will create your ultimate dream career teaching yoga. You have to find the courage within to put yourself out there and do the work. This world needs healing, and this world needs you.

 

 

 

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Michelle Linane is a yoga lover, student and teacher. Over the years, her love for yoga has transformed into a deep passion for helping fellow teachers. She’s the author of The Thriving Yoga Teacher: How To Create A Sustainable Career Doing What You Love, the host of the Love Teaching Yoga Podcast and the creator of the Love Teaching Yoga website, a growing library of online resources to help yoga teachers refine their skills and build their careers. She’s also the founder of Be The Change Yoga & Wellness, a donation-based studio in California. With a strong community focus, Michelle took yoga outside the studio walls and brought yoga programs to local parks, schools and businesses. Michelle wholeheartedly believes in these words from Robert John Meehan, “The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration, our growth would be limited to our own perspective.”

Healing with Iyengar Yoga

“Yoga lets us cure what need not be endured, and endure what cannot be cured,” said B.K.S. Iyengar. The great yogi, who lived to be nearly ninety-six, passed away in August of 2014. But his teachings continue to live and thrive within the Iyengar Yoga community, where teacher training is rigorous and the practice is specialized to accommodate everyone, including those with unique disabilities.


What sets Iyengar Yoga apart from most types of yoga widely practiced throughout the U.S. are timing (poses are held longer), focus on alignment (detailed instructions help the individual to move deeper within the structure of a pose), the use of props (wall ropes, blocks, straps, blankets and chairs), and specific sequencing (intelligent sequencing that can be tailored around various physical needs a practitioner may have).

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“B.K.S. Iyengar not only was a teacher for eighty years, but his practice was uninterrupted for that entire time. There aren’t many people in the world who could say that,” says Vanessa Bacher, an Iyengar Yoga instructor living in Santa Barbara, California. “He was a very sick boy—he had tuberculosis, typhoid and malaria just to name a few of the serious ailments he suffered from—and was not expected to live beyond his teenage years. He essentially cured himself from all of these various ailments through his dedication to the practice of yoga.”

Vanessa, a petite and charismatic woman with a mane of wavy blonde hair and bright, aquamarine eyes, first discovered Iyengar Yoga over ten years ago, while still in her early twenties. Hailing from Colorado, she had put herself through college and went on to live and work overseas on the Caribbean island of St. John. There was no knowledge or practice of yoga to speak of there at the time, but Vanessa had brought along a book of standard yoga poses and began to practice daily on the white sand amongst the palms; it became an integral part of her lifestyle. She experienced a jolt of culture shock upon her return to the states, though, leaving behind the relaxed island vibes for the stressful pace of life back in America. Seeking solace in nature, she went to stay with her aunt, who lived and taught Iyengar Yoga in the small mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado.

Vanessa credits the experience of studying under her aunt as the pivotal chapter that, though she didn’t know it at the time, decided her life’s purpose.

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“The first class I took, I felt like I was reborn. I felt like I had been completely dissected and put back together again in a better way. From the moment I stepped into the classroom I felt transformed.”

During her two years in Crested Butte, Vanessa found an inspiring mentor in her aunt. Still, she felt that relying on a relative to guide her was keeping her in too tight of a comfort zone—she wanted to deepen her practice and carve out her own path. She set out on a six-month journey through Southeast Asia and India, studying at the base of the Himalayas in an intensive program with a couple of senior Iyengar Yoga instructors. It was the first of many pilgrimages that shaped the course of her professional and spiritual life.

“In the Iyengar system in India they have “Medical Classes” that I would assist and there would be people with MS so severe that they were essentially paralyzed,” Vanessa explains. “They didn’t have (the technology that we do)—they had rickety wooden chairs from the 1940s. Someone would carry them in and we would assist them and strap them to the wall, and place them over all of the brilliant props that B.K.S. Iyengar invented.”

In India, Vanessa was a firsthand witness to countless instances of the miraculous healing powers of Iyengar Yoga, but one story in particular has stuck with her over the years.

“A woman came to study with my teachers and she was a novice in the practice,” Vanessa recalls. “She came in with her feet bandaged—she had some sort of foot disorder where she couldn’t separate her toes. She had stability issues and trouble walking. When she came into the class the teacher said, “Take those bandages off your feet” and she said, “I can’t, I’ve worn them all my life. The doctor prescribed them to me; I have a disorder.” The teacher said, “Nonsense, if you’ve signed up for this intensive and want to participate, take those off.” He was quite strict with her and really put her through the paces. Within three weeks, she was able to separate her toes. Tears were streaming down her face; she could walk with ease and stability. This moment always stayed with me, proof that we have this incredible, innate ability to heal ourselves and that this practice teaches us to be more in tune and find the resources within rather than depending on any sort of crutch.”

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These experiences had a profound impact on Vanessa; they stirred something in her and planted the seeds for her own future as a healer.

“Mr. Iyengar taught me that happiness is to give more than you receive,” she says, continuing on to describe how the guru’s influence drove her to gain devotion to something greater than herself and lead a life of increased integrity. Her desire to help others benefit from the practice of Iyengar Yoga is palpable in the passionate tone in which she speaks of it.

“What moves me the most about it is that it’s absolutely made for any age, any body type, any ailment,” she says. “The practice is that diverse and has that much depth that it’s approachable for anybody. I always tell people that yoga has very little to do with just striking a beautiful pose. It is about the communication that you have to build with yourself to travel deeper towards that inner Self.”

“The path to bliss isn’t all rainbows and lotus flowers. I knew that it would take dedication.”

When Vanessa returned from India she made her home in Denver, beginning a cycle of intense practice abroad followed by intermittent lapses in practice back home and frequent disillusionment over the vastness of knowledge that she did not yet possess.

“I think it took me years to really cultivate the dedication that is necessary in the Iyengar practice,” says Vanessa. “Frankly I just wasn’t mature enough. But, over the years I chiseled away at the practice and became more devoted.”

She refers to her periods of not practicing as her “Dark Ages.”

“When I was not practicing I got very depressed. I felt like I had found this path that transformed me and then I let it go; I was not honoring my truth.”

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Photo: Chris Orwig

It was only through loss that she found her path again and determinedly set out on it for good. Vanessa had moved to Santa Barbara, California for a relationship and left everything behind in Denver—her home, her family, her job. When the relationship did not work out, she found herself alone in a new city.

“The only thing I really had that stayed with me was my practice,” she recalls of that time. “I clung to it, basically, because it was all that I had. I decided then that no matter what happened, I would never let it go again. I knew that without it I felt lost and started practicing more than I ever had.”

Her new instructor at the Santa Barbara Iyengar studio recognized Vanessa’s natural affinity in the classroom.

“He said, ‘you know this is what you’re meant to do, right? It’s in every fiber of your being.’ Then he asked me what I wanted to do about it.”

She expressed her hesitancy to the instructor. The Iyengar teacher-training would entail at least three years of schooling to become a certified instructor, which for Vanessa would mean frequent trips driving back and forth to the Iyengar Institute in Los Angeles. Once the first hurdle of certification is passed, the training is not over. There are many levels in the system; instructors continue to study, train and go up for subsequent certifications for many years to come.

But ultimately, Vanessa was not daunted.

“My instructor said that in his experience, sometimes the longer, more arduous route is the best route,” she reflects. It was advice that echoed the words of her father.

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Photo: Kayla McKenzie

“My father always said, ‘stay the course and it will pay off.’ I’ve definitely sacrificed quite a lot for the practice; the path towards enlightenment isn’t an easy one. The path to bliss isn’t all rainbows and lotus flowers. I knew that it would take dedication.”

Her instructor offered to mentor her, so Vanessa embarked on the three-year teacher training under his mentorship, traveling regularly to the Iyengar Institute in Los Angeles. After completion, it would take her two more years to become certified. She continued to work late nights as a restaurant server five nights a week, getting up early in the mornings to practice or teach.

“I felt half asleep in the mornings and dead on my feet at night. I continued until I was able to teach a little more and work in the restaurant a little less, but that is what yoga is all about. Yoga is the balance of two opposing actions. So in life I was balancing two complete polar opposites and that juggling act is yoga.”

Today, Vanessa’s mornings and evenings are filled with leading classes at two public yoga studios as well teaching various private lessons, a life in which she finds true fulfillment. When asked what words of advice she might have for someone interested in embarking on a similar journey with Iyengar Yoga, Vanessa says simply, “show up and don’t give up.”

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You can contact Vanessa Bacher by email at vanessabbacher@yahoo.com or Instagram @vbacher. If you live in Santa Barbara, or are visiting the area, consider taking an Iyengar class with her at one of the following locations:

Iyengar Yoga Studio of Santa Barbara

2718 De La Vina St.

Santa Barbara CA, 93105 USA

(805) 569-2584

 

The Santa Barbara Yoga Center

32 E. Micheltorena St.

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(805) 965-6045

Author Bio:

Biopic

 

 

Lili Rauh aspires to find and create beauty and meaning in everyday life. Currently located in South Lake Tahoe, Lili loves to write, cook and entertain and ultimately hopes to combine all of her passions in one sustainable career. www.lilirauh.com

Living Yoga Alchemy

I met Nicolina Sandstedt in March 2016 when I was a student of hers in the Living Yoga Alchemy 3oo hour core module at Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja, Mexico. During the weeks of the program I was inspired and intrigued by her strength and softness, her extensive knowledge of mystical stories, her beautiful story telling, her wisdom of the physical body, and her balanced radiance. I fell in love with the Yandara community after my first time visiting and participating in a training in 2010. I am grateful to be a witness to their evolution as they develop and offer more trainings, and excited to continue learning from the teachers and community at this very special place. Here we catch up with Nicolina as she talks a bit about the magic of life and the development of the Living Yoga Alchemy program that she co-leads with her partner, Christopher Perkins.

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How did you originally connect with the Yandara community and what made you stay?

My first yoga teacher training was with Hatha Yoga teacher Corrin Adams at Yandara Yoga Institute in 2006. I immediately felt at home with the loving community and the desert-meets-ocean magic that surrounds the center. After about 6 months I got an offer to come back, which led me to put my university plans on hold and pack my bags. I worked with administration and attended as many of the inspiring classes and workshops as I could. After about a year of learning and growing, I returned to Sweden to complete my university degree in Physical Therapy. Apart from being a full-time student, I taught lots of yoga, attended trainings, and eventually opened a studio. Everything was flowing well for me in Gothenburg but in the end what made me pack my bags and return to Yandara a third time was love…After spending a few years in Sweden, Christopher, a kindred spirit and one of the co-owners of Yandara, came for a visit, and…the rest is history. Christopher and I recently built our dream home next to the Yandara center in Baja, Mexico. We work side-by-side and I am grateful every day for me life and wonderful community at Yandara; both the permanent year-round community and the new community of yogis that join us every month for their teacher trainings.

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Tell us about the vision behind the Living Yoga Alchemy program…

The vision behind the Living Yoga Alchemy program is to create an experience with just the right heart and mind opening ingredients to inspire true personal and spiritual evolution. When putting together the program, I spent a lot of time thinking about the teachings that have inspired me to grow. With Living Yoga Alchemy we aspire to present the wisdom that has stuck with us and that continues to inspire us daily. We wish to reflect back to some of the most inspiring teachings we have collected. We also asked ourselves: What is it that makes a great Yoga Teacher? The answer that kept coming back to us is that the students come to yoga to have an experience of themselves, and a great teacher is not always the one with the most advanced asana practice; great teachers guide their students toward their inner Self. And so, the Living Yoga Alchemy program is truly designed to illuminate each practitioners personal path.

Can you tell us about your passion for story sharing while teaching?

Ancient myths and stories have fed our souls and our imagination for thousands of years, long before Netflix, TV, or even books. Told around campfires, they would bring the community together and inspire us to be brave, compassionate, truthful, self-less, generous, and other admirable attributes. The stories from the yogic mythology carry within them the teachings of yoga in a captive and relatable way. Each character, the dark as well as the light, exists within our own mind and heart. They are archetypes of our own psychological energies. Energies that we feel, but may never have the courage to invoke or express. They are representations of aspects of our inner selves and their stories represent the countless inner struggles we do through in our daily lives. To me, the stories are simply another way of studying the teachings of yoga. It makes it fun, creative, and adds just the right amount of magic.

“To me the ancient teachings of Yoga are an invitation to be deeply curious about the flow of Life, and to cultivate it on all levels of our being. It is a practice of moving through any stagnation or blockage so that awareness can permeate our entire being.”

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Does Yandara have other advanced studies and offerings in the works?

Apart from our core module, Living Yoga Alchemy, we offer the elective modules: Ayurveda, Life Coaching, and Yin and Bhakti Yoga. A new offering is a 10 day module called “Yoga in Community“. This module takes place in Hawaii and is focused around the idea of living a yogic lifestyle in a yogic community. Apart from practicing yoga and meditation together, this module will take you to some amazing farmers markets and teach you how to cook delicious vegetarian meals. Other offering that will take place int he future are: Yoga for Pregnancy, Qi Gong & Vision Quest, and a Meditation and Energy Work module. We like to keep the advanced trainings alive and flexible, we have many inspiring ideas and also want to make sure that the quality stays high.

What inspires you most right now?

Living far from any big city, which is where most yoga events happen, inspires me to take a lot of online courses. Lately I have been inspired by the Life Coaching methods of the Handel Group that teaches how to craft dreams for different areas of our lives, as well as the Art of Attention work by Elena Brower. I am also inspired by my daily yoga and meditation practice which often includes a Kundalini Yoga Kriya.

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Who have been some of your greatest teachers?

There are so many! But if I have to choose a few that have inspired me a lot along my student and teaching path, it would be: Angela Farmer for encouraging me to always stay curious; Shiva Rea for showing me how to tend my inner fire; and of course my rock ‘n’ roll guru Patti Smith for inspiring me to stay authentic in all areas of life. Most of all, my students are my greatest teachers.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself continuing to spend part of the year in Baja and part of the year in Sweden together with Christopher. I stay close with my friends and family and I continue to love being a student and teacher of yoga. The roles of the student and the teacher inspire each other in a way that guides me to evolve breath-by-breath, day-by-day, year-by-year. Being a student inspires me to be a better teacher as much as being a teacher inspires me to be a better student. When I think back to 10 years ago, I realize how much I have evolved and how my practice has evolved with me. I am very curious to see where I will be in 10 years from now. I welcome further evolution!

 

 

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After living a nomadic lifestyle for several years, Nicolina spends most of her year teaching with Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja California Sur. Nicolina’s inspiring presence and teaching style, is organic and intuitive. Through centering, up-lifting and challenging yoga practices, she guides her students to awaken and explore their own sense of flow. Nicolina is in awe of the magic that is everywhere. When she’s not teaching yoga, you may find her surrounded by the elements of nature, admiring the cactus forest, exploring the arid desert hillsides, doing tarot spreads, making delicious raw treats for community potlucks, and sipping endless cups of tea with her beloved.

http://nicolinasandstedt.com

Photo Credit: Yandara Photography

Sustain the Flow: Doug Swenson

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Swenson in South Lake Tahoe, California where he holds annual yoga teacher training courses. As the years pass by, I am becoming more and more inspired and intrigued by people like Doug who have dedicated their life to the path of yoga. Doug’s passion for connecting with nature and his enthusiasm for life is contagious. Here we catch up with Doug as he shares some wisdom on how to ‘sustain the flow‘. Thank you for shining bright Doug!

When did you get introduced to yoga?

 

I was first introduced to yoga in 1963, when I was 13 years – my parents belonged to a church group (Unitarian Fellowship) which was a diverse group of ideas – with no one certain concept. Ironically one member of the Group was a Yoga master, Ernest Wood and he would teach some of the kids yoga a few times a month.

 

How has your yoga practice changed over the years?

 

My yoga practice is constantly evolving and changing, much like all of life. Specifically my practice has become more refined and very expansive, to touch every aspect of my everyday life, helping me to embrace more clarity, awareness and gratitude in all ways.
 
Most important – I am not so focused on doing the best asana, yet feel deep appreciation for just doing yoga under a tree and the amazing feeling of clarity I am rewarded with, this is a heavenly gift.
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What are your tips on how to “sustain the flow”?

 

I assume you mean the (vinyasa of life), which can be represented as a river flowing to the sea. We can be conscious and aware in life, or just walk around mindlessly, not paying any attention to what we are doing and how our existence creates ripples in time. My suggestion is to live simply, create a sacred bond with nature, and adopt the highest quality vegan diet. Most important in this computer age – embrace gratitude for simplicity and try your best to get off electronics whenever possible, touch the earth and breathe light.
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You travel A LOT….what helps keep you grounded while always on the move?

 

I stay grounded by embracing a mostly raw vegan diet, drinking fresh squeezed green juice, and enjoying daily fitness, including my own personal yoga practice.

Words of wisdom on the importance of COMMUNITY?

 

Community is the fabric of society and yet community is also the dark side to persuade humans to fall from grace. In any group – you have to be strong with an independent and progressive mind, be respectful and mindful of others and yet – Be the Light and you will never be afraid of darkness.
 
Learn to be the one with the good influence, not the one who is the gravity of failure, self-destruction and ecological disaster. Everyone is different, I am more of a loner, or recluse, most of the time, because I learn more about myself and find great joy in quiet time and self-reflection – this is where I draw my strength to interact with society.  
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What does “living in the current” mean to you?

 

To me it means the moment is eternity, yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not arrived, so by being present we are more successful in all ways. Reflect on the past as a learning experience and priceless moments, then envision the future as a positive path and yet all the while – most importantly life this moment right now.  

“Life is what happens ~ when we are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

It can also mean – being a part of the life force energy – being prana.
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Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

 

To me time is only a number for mathematicians to stimulate the brain – I do not think in years – humans are much too busy counting steps of the sun, as the moments pass by and you miss the bus. I only aspire to see myself and all things in greater light!!!   
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Who or what inspires you most?

 

Mother-nature, moonlight on the midnight ocean, sunrise in the Mountains and playing on waves with dolphins. The simplicity of picking wild berries on a warm summer day and the gift of true love.
 

What mantra resonates with you most right now?

 

I rarely follow the path of others – So will jump the fence on this one and say:
 

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time – you might just find you get what you need “ – Rolling Stones  

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Anything else you would like to share?

 

Yes, a philosophical poem I wrote:
 
Be The Light
If the desert would give back
This sand, like a mother’s touch of warmth
Yet cactus just dreams of a watery life
And ask why – as the night whispers
~~~~~~~~~~
Tomorrow needs our love, our kindness
And genuine integrity – this flower slow dances
Like a homeless thought, lost between time
Ego fishes for answers and yet – finds no truth
~~~~~~~~~~~
The taste of yesterday’s richness
Touched stray mountains – where sunbeams seek peace
It is not enough – to be the love of the wind
We must find the heart in preservation and be the light…

 

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Doug Swenson began his study of yoga in 1969. He has had the fortune of studying with many great teachers including Dr. Ernest Wood, K. Pattabhi Jois, David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, Ramanand Patel, and others. Doug is a master yoga practitioner, philosopher, poet and dedicated health advocate. He has incorporated influences from several different yoga systems along with his passion for nutrition and the environment to develop his unique approach. Over the years he has authored several books; “Yoga Helps”, “The Diet That Loves You Most”, “Power Yoga for Dummies” and “Mastering the Secrets of Yoga Flow“. Doug is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance and travels extensively offering workshops, retreats and teacher training courses around the world. Doug’s classes are always invigorating and inspirational and his supportive style of teaching and keen sense of humor send his students home with a smile on their face and a softness within their heart.

http://www.sadhanayogachi.com/