November 12, 2016

My Yoga Startup Stopped my Practice—until I did This.

Perfect Balance head to toe!

A photo posted by Perfect Balance (@perfectbalanceworld) on

I launched a line of yoga clothing, but I stopped practicing yoga.

What? I never could have imagined my start-up would stop me. It has been months—almost 12—and I haven’t wanted anything to do with a yoga class! Not just any class, mind you, my favorite class.

Here I am, dead in my tracks with zero desire to practice what my own brand preaches. And that’s really off—on every level.

On my website, you could read about the benefits of not just yoga, but My Brand of yoga—my Micro-Niche Yoga Method, my personal creation born during savasana. Perfect, right? Right?

I understand why it happened. Why the strong creative forces that propelled me to form a yoga startup were the same forces that kicked me to the curb and alienated me from my own words and the one thing that made life make sense.

You see, I have Lupus, and practicing yoga keeps me alive—in mind, body and spirit. Yet this force was so strong it even drove me to ignore my doctor’s advice that yoga would allow me to live longer and better.

I believe it has to do with the perceived conflict of money and yoga. It always felt antithetical to me. When I owned my studio I “sold” beautiful yoga “stuff.” No profit. I did it to invite in more students, more classes, amazing vibes and a safe and peaceful environment. In my mind, making a profit poisoned that sacred bond between teacher and student.

Done, done and done!

One more little anecdote to illustrate how far I have “fallen” from my ideal reality, my brand, my website, my own words and stories. I have produced 15 fitness videos since 1993. Oh. My. G-d. I don’t even have to leave my house. I have 15 videos to choose from, which I also wrote, sequenced and produced—and I still can’t bring myself to pop them in to my DVD. Are you getting the picture now?

So here it is: ahimsa.

The concept of not causing injury to anything or anyone includes ourselves. Includes myself! It includes my deeds, my thoughts and my words—even if they’re not spoken but written for all the world to see.

So I found my way back in three steps. Steps anyone can use for, well, just about anything and not just for yoga:

1. Stop the Madness.

Accept the new normal. I’m different now; I’m online and very public. I live in “real time” now. Every post is scheduled and “liked” by followers in “real time.” I understand that private “me time” is the only way to service my new public me—my brand. How can anyone reading my words get inspired if “me” disappears?

2. Stop the Deadlines.

I have been setting myself up for failure when I don’t actually meet the deadline! I cannot say I will go back to yoga, because it’s not “back.” It’s forward and new and different.

3. Stop the Pressure.

This is the point that translates the most to daily life. Not only have I stopped practicing my asanas (physical postures), I have not respected the one yogic principle I literally live by: ahimsaEspecially since I live with a chronic illness, ahimsa has kept me alive in body, spirit, mind and soul.

So there it is, startup. Thank you for being you. Thank you for allowing me to influence readers and followers and anyone who comes into contact with you. Lastly and most importantly, thank you for the opportunity to apply the h.a.b.u. (highest and best use) of ahimsa! Thank you for allowing and pushing me to use the most translatable “yoga class to real life” principle: ahimsa.


Author: Carla Berkowitz

Image: Perfect Balance on Instagram

Editor: Toby Israel


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Carla Berkowitz