brene brown

6 Lessons Learned From Running A Spiritual Business


I’m approaching the two year mark of running my own business and have been reflecting back on how I’ve grown, what challenges I’ve overcome and how I’ve been able to transform through service and doing what I love. 

It all started a few years ago when I asked myself, “What does success look like to me?”  For some it might mean reaching a certain number in their bank account, publishing a book, or receiving an award.  

For me, success is about the depth of the transformation I see in the women I serve, it’s about my ability to continue facing my fears even when I feel self-doubt or resistance, and to have a spaciousness in my schedule that allows me to truly take care of myself and follow my passions.

It hasn’t always been easy, but what I’ve found is if I can consistently come back to these six keys, I will always end my days feeling successful…

1. Vulnerability

We often want to see vulnerability in others but we are afraid to show it in ourselves. Being willing to be vulnerable is actually a courageous act, not a sign of weakness.

Brene Brown says, “You can’t experience the depth of joy and love without experiencing vulnerability…True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.  Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our own level of self-acceptance.”

Vulnerability creates greater connection and establishes a foundation of trust. 

People can relate to us when we share our whole selves.  I remember when I first started blogging, it was the times I chose to share about my struggles and fears and how I overcame them when students would come up to me after my yoga classes to tell me how much my story helped them. 

The world is craving vulnerable leaders.  Women want to relate to and understand the people they are going to follow.  

Where could you be more vulnerable and share more openly to create greater connection and trust in your life?

2. Generosity

Generosity didn’t always come naturally to me.  I grew up with a mindset of scarcity shown to me so often. But, I saw being in a state of scarcity blocked my flow to receive.

When I became generous, it came back to me in so many ways.  

Generosity also helped in my business.  Even though I didn’t start with a lot of financial resources, I knew I could be generous with my time and my knowledge.  When it came time to announce my first online program, people were ready and waiting to sign up.

Where could you be more generous?  Where may you be holding back your gifts, your time, knowledge or resources?

3.  Gratitude

It can be really easy to get caught up in achieving more, getting more and asking, “What’s in it for me?”  But what really opens us to our own desired feelings and attracting more of what we want, is gratitude.  

When we tap into the feeling of gratitude, and really feel it in our body, we raise our vibration and send signals out to the universe that actually send us more experiences that will create what we feel. 

Take a moment right now to think about three things you are grateful for.  Then say the affirmation, “I have everything I need and I welcome so much more.” 

When you really feel it in your body and make a daily practice of it, just watch the magic that will happen in your life.

4.  Service

When you tap into a vision that is larger than yourself, when you ask, “What kind of world do I want to live in?  How can I help and give back to others?” Fear becomes so much less important. 

When you are so focused onyour goal, that vision, there is no more room for fear.  

We cultivate courage is when the desire of what we do want is stronger than the fear of what we don’t want.  

Courage isn’t about winning or battling over fear, it is becoming very focused in our vision and then going for it.

When you ask, “How can I be of service?” You will be given everything you need to succeed.  

However, when the end goal is to make x amount of money, or get the new car, it’s going to be more of a struggle.  

When that vision has the potential to help so many more people, the universe is going to come in and give you support.

What can you be in service to?  What kind of world do you want to live in?  What is even more important to you than your fears?

5.  Connection to Spirit

When I feel afraid or unsure of what to do next, I go to my meditation practice.  My practice is where I connect to my body’s wisdom, and I become a vessel for where spirit would have me go and what spirit would have me say.  

When we establish a constant connection with our body's wisdom we don't need to look outside of ourselves for guidance or affirmation. We can then connect to a deeper, innate love within. Then we can begin to know our purpose and service in this life and share our gifts generously. Then we can find the courage to face our fears in service to what’s larger than ourselves. 

I do my meditations in a series of 40 days.  I get really clear on the vision I want to create in my life and in the world and I allow my meditation to be in devotion to that vision.

My greatest vision now is to see women all over the world finding this kind of connection and love within. That is where we find the courage to love and take care of ourselves, the courage to live our passions, and express ourselves in service to what we love. 

That is when we naturally inspire those around us and create beautiful change in the world. 

I’ve been creating this Vision by sharing my 40 day practice with others and creating a community of women around the world cultivating the courage to be fully devoted to themselves, to spirit and to sharing their light.

6.  Do what you love - every single day

One day a new woman walked into my yoga class.  I asked her the usual question, “Do you have any injuries I should know about?”  She replied, “Yes, actually I am recovering from several rounds of cancer treatments and surgeries.  I am cancer free now, but I am just trying to get used to this new body I am in.”

As we talked, more people came into the room and laid out their mats, I asked her,  “Do you have any wisdom to share with us?" 

She said, ”I now do something that I love every single day.  Something that makes me happy.  That’s why I’m here at yoga class.” 

Because isn't that we are alive for anyway?  To be happy? To do what we love?  I thought of my own life, and all the little things I had been stressing about all week. 

Yes,I had chosen a career that was my passion, but was I really doing what I loved every singleday?  

I made a vow right then, to let go of all the little worries and fears and re-commit to my joy, my happiness and taking the time every day to do something I loved. 

We all have one precious life.  How are you going to live it?

Now, we all have different versions of success, so wherever you are in your business (or your life) I invite you to ask: What does success look like to me?  What does it feel like?  What is my wildest dream?  

I believe everything you want and desire for your life can be yours.  All you have to do is listen to your intuition and be willing to face your fears, again and again.  

Often the thing we want most in our lives also takes us face to face with what we are most afraid of.  

When you are willing to face those fears and be driven by service, gratitude, and a connection to spirit, we can all create a new vision and a new world. <3


Give Yourself Total Permission to Fail

courage-brene brown-self love

“You want folks to like, respect, and even admire what you’ve created, but your self-worth is not on the table.  You know that you are far more than a painting, an innovative idea, an effective pitch, a good sermon, or a high ranking.  Yes it will be disappointing and difficult if your friends or colleagues don’t share your enthusiasm, or if things don’t go well, but this effort is about what you do, not who you are.  Regardless of the outcome, you’ve already dared greatly, and that’s totally aligned with your values with who you want to be.”  

-Brene Brown from Daring Greatly

You are not the same as the value of your ideas, and just in putting your ideas out there, you are daring greatly.  You are an inspiration.  You are living in line with your values no matter what the outcome.

How does this relate to being a yoga teacher?  Getting up in front of the room to share your heart is vulnerable.  Doing anything that is close to your heart is vulnerable!

However the pain of not doing it, will eventually outweigh the risk of doing it anyway.

This has been a motivation in my life.

I am growing fast and coming up with all kinds of ideas to spread my knowledge and help women overcome their fears, including this 6-month group program for women, but a few weeks ago, I realized my fear of failure was preventing me from even trying.

I want to have a career where I teach people to align their body, open their heart, face their fears, let themselves rest and love themselves first, but if I don't put the word out about my programs, services and offerings, just because of the fear of failing, I never give myself the chance to succeed.  

Through re-reading Daring Greatly, I saw that even if I fail, at least I was honoring my values of taking risks and facing my fears.  Just in doing that, I will be an inspiration.  And I will open the doors to my own success.

Let this be motivation for what you want to do or create.  Give yourself total permission to fail, because ultimately it's not about winning or losing, it's simply about being vulnerable enough to put yourself in the arena.


10 ways you know the yoga is working

yoga and meditation-clarity-compassion

There are so many lessons yoga has brought to my daily life.

I taught a yoga class recently on this idea: How to Know the Yoga is Working” and was surprised when more and more reasons just came to me on the spot. I decided to make a list for all the yogis out there to remember just how much value our practice has in our lives, both on and off the mat.

1.  You’re less reactive.

Say somebody says a mean word to you and you tighten. In the past it may have turned into low self-esteem, blame or anger, but now you breathe. You notice what is happening in your body. You give yourself a moment.

Before, you may have attacked back, but now you’re able to see the whole situation from the outside. You realize the person may not have even meant that word in a mean way.  You notice the trigger that arises and you let it out with the breath. You choose to act and speak from a calm, centered place.

2.  You let go of your “story.”

You may have been triggered because of a story you carry about yourself. You check in with the people close to you about what your mind is making up. You realize most of it is not even real. It’s made up. With this awareness, you can let it go.

3.  You face your fears.

You begin to see your fears as some kind of karmic inheritance,

“These are the places for me to grow.”

Now you ask yourself,

“What do I stand to gain by not doing this thing?”

You decide to face your fears. Each little fear you face gives you more courage to live as your full self.

4.  You accept yourself as you are.

Your yoga class becomes the place to stop comparing yourself. You stop looking around at all the other people, and start looking within for acceptance.

5.  You take care of your body.

Once you start doing yoga, it’s not too long before you start buying organic produce and drinking green juices. I think healthy eating and yoga go hand-in-hand. When you spend time being so close to yourself, listening to your body, it is more likely you will treat it with care. Your body becomes something you are only given once in this life, so you decide to take care of it.

6.  You stop avoiding discomfort.

It was probably in my first sitting forward bend, Paschimottanasana, that I learned to breathe into my discomfort. I learned that it wasn’t so bad when I used my breath and as soon as I came out of the pose, I felt lighter, more open and flexible. Life is kind of like that. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable in the moment, but we can breathe through it and as soon as we get through the discomfort, we feel lighter and more open. Yoga reminds you to face your discomforts in order to grow.

7.  You embrace vulnerability.

You realize that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you create greater connections and more authentic relationships. You let down your guards and allow yourself to be fully seen.

8.  You hold yourself with compassion.

You don’t get down on yourself when you make a mistake. You let go of your ideas of perfection. You allow yourself to feel exactly what you need to feel and allow a great sense of love and compassion for yourself to arise.

9.  You’re grateful, everyday.

Yoga opens you to gratitude. You stop focusing on the negative all the time, and ask,

“What am I grateful for? What is going right in my life?”

When we open ourselves to gratitude, we attract more of that good.

10.  You come back for more.

When you first start yoga, you may just move through your poses waiting for that sweet savasana. But eventually, your body grows stronger, you tune into your breath and you begin to enjoy your practice.  You wait for that time when you have full permission to let go of the past and future and be fully present with yourself.

This article was also published on Elephant Journal !


5 ways to say "YES" to life

courage-brene brown-yoga-yes

This post was also published on elephant journal

I took a yoga class yesterday and the theme was simply "Yes, please."  Showing up to class in so many ways is a big yes to life.  It is saying, "YES" to look at our emotions, our fears, and thought patterns in order to move past them.

Over the last year I've realized many ways to show up and give life a big "YES," so I thought I'd compile some of my favorites:

1.  Let Yourself Be Vulnerable

I just finished reading the book, Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown.  It's all about how to live as a "Wholehearted" person.  Through Brene's research on shame and vulnerability as a social worker, she came to the conclusion vulnerability actually opens us to greater connection.  It's so often we want to see vulnerability in others but are afraid to show it in ourselves, when it is really the key ingredient to leaning into life and feeling connected.  Opening to vulnerability shows us our courage and human-ness.  Vulnerability is the pathway to innovation, creativity, success and a Wholehearted life.  

When I opened myself to vulnerability all I found was how much support was waiting for me on the other side.  Vulnerability has shown me compassion in others, and the strong community I have supporting me.

2.  Treat Yourself to Something Special 

This is one of my homework assignments this week from The Artist's Way.   Being luxurious and treating yourself does not have to be expensive.  A new body butter or even a box of raspberries can go a long way in helping life feel luxurious.  This week I went out and bought myself and a couple friends beautiful handwoven Mexican bracelets. They only cost $1 each and have brought me so much joy in such a small package.  Try buying a small gift for your inner artist child and you'll be surprised what a difference a small investment can make.

3.  Be Flexible 

This has been a big one for me while travelling.  You have to be open to your plans not working out, and be willing to act spontaneously, accept new offers that come your way.

One day this week, I wasn't wearing a watch on the beach, and was disappointed when I realized I was 15 minutes late to the yoga class I had been waiting to go to all day.  I hate showing up late for class, so I let it go. I went to the main pavilion to check my email, when a girl came up to me and asked, "Did you do your yoga teacher training at Yandara in Baja?"  Why yes, I did.

It happened to be a girl I met two years before in Mexico, and suddenly here we were again running into each other in Mexico.  We caught up and she told me she was here on retreat with her yoga teacher from Massachusetts. I told her I missed my class that morning and she immediately replied, "Hold on, I'll go ask our teacher if you can join our retreat for the morning!" She came back and said it would be fine and I got to spend the morning practicing yoga with an old friend.

Sometimes our missed opportunities open the door for something so much better. We need to stay open to what the universe brings to us if our plans don't work out the way we wanted them to.  When we shut the door to spontaneity and flexibility, we shut the door to miracles.

4.  Share Your Needs

On my last night in Mexico, I was planning to go out to a nice dinner with my boyfriend.  We only had enough pesos with us to pay for our room and cab ride the next day, so we went on a walk to the ATM to get a little extra cash for dinner.  When we got there, we found it was out of service. We were told to go to another place, a 10 minute walk away, and boom, there, 2 more ATM's out of service.

There we were without enough money for dinner, and no actual way to get it on our last night.  To say the least, I was feeling crabby.  Michael suggested we walk back to the kitchen of the community where we were staying.  When we got there we realized we had a couple eggs left on our shelf.  Then Michael started speaking in Spanish to the people around, telling them the ATM's were broken and we didn't have enough money for dinner on our last night.  People immediately started sharing their tortillas, tomatoes and avocados with us to fill out our last meal.

I realized we build up these stories, "I can't bother that person" or, "No one would want to help me," when actually, if we are willing to take the first step, be a little vulnerable and share our needs, people are generally happy and willing to help us.

5.  Make Powerful Requests 

This was a lesson I learned a couple months ago after reading Mathew and Terces Engelhart's book, Kindred Spirit. Making requests is empowering.  We need to remind ourselves that the worst that can happen is we receive a "no." Receiving a "no" does not mean we will lose love!  Try using the affirmation:

I make powerful requests as an exercise in worthiness and remember that “no” doesn’t mean anything.  I build my self-worth by making powerful requests and get at least one “no” everyday.

Who knows, you might even receive a big powerful "YES," but you'll never know unless you ask!