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Today I’m sharing four pivots I’m making in both my business and personal life. I hope some of these are helpful or can inspire you! I discuss the importance of focusing on the current of manifestation rather than the current of liberation in your yoga practice. I also emphasize the significance of embracing Embodied Yoga and prioritizing pleasure (ooo-yah!). Additionally, I highlight the need for better management, delegation skills and effective energy management. I hope you enjoy these insights and ideas I’m striving to prioritize as we enter a new season. Enjoy!

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    Brett (00:05)

    Okay. Hello, my friends, welcome back to the show. First episode of a new year. If you haven’t yet joined the Evolve Challenge, this is my 20 day New Year’s Yoga Challenge. You’re not too late. We started Jan one, but you can still join. This is an incredible container that I lead in a secret healing dark cave. Yes, it’s filmed kind of like in the dark.

    And the goal of this 20 day challenge is to really use yoga to become your own emotional support system. So you’re gonna alchemize your anger, your self-sabotage and your grief into like pure energy through somatic classes. You’re going to activate healing practices. You can become your own emotional support system in 2024 and you’ll awaken your feminine essence. This is a beautiful challenge and it’s totally free. So if you haven’t yet signed up.

    Go do that now, you’ll get a beautiful booklet when you sign up as well with affirmations and a checklist as you move through all the pretty classes. It’s at brettlarkin.com forward slash evolve and I’ll link it up in the show notes as well.

    Brett (01:36)

    So for today’s episode, I thought I would just riff on some things that I am going to be doing differently in 2024, four kind of pivots I’m making, both in my business and the way I’m thinking about things personally, and maybe they can help you as well.

    Brett (02:02.974)

    I can also tell you a little bit what is coming up this season.

    I can also tell you a little bit about what’s coming up next on the podcast this season. We have some really juicy, amazing episodes coming out.

    Brett (02:21)

    Next week we’re going to be talking about how ancient primal habits can help you thrive. Then we’re going to be doing a super nerdy episode on Sampkya philosophy. So those of you who really liked the Yoga Sutras episodes that are kind of really nerdy and getting in the texts, you’ll love that Sampkya philosophy episode. And then we’re going to talk about biohacking.

    Brett (02:53)

    But to kick it all off, how I am thinking differently in 2024 and some changes I am making. Number one is that I am more focused on the current of manifestation than the current of liberation. What does that mean? Well, the current of manifestation is the downward current.

    All right, while the current of liberation is the upward current. So many of you are probably familiar with the chakra systems, the seven energy centers in our spine that go from the tail to the crown of the head. We can think of these as like a vortex where the subtle body and the physical body all connect with the elements. So it’s like connecting us, our inner world to the outer world at large. Often the chakras are described as like a rainbow bridge. They’re connecting us, the microcosm to the macrocosm.

    so much juiciness, but often what’s described is the energies that are making these chakras spin and again there’s different philosophies of whether the chakras are really spinning or whether they’re just in excess neutral or deficient states or

    Brett (04:37)

    We probably could and should do a whole episode just on how the different things people say about the chakras and how they’re moving. But one overarching concept, and we see this in Kundalini Yoga as well, is that through this central channel that we have, whether you want to call that Chishunanadi or Brahmanadi, the nodochord, the spinal column, right, which you can think of that as the superhighway of energy through which all the prana in your body is moving through all seven chakras, right?

    from the tail to the crown of the head.

    Brett (05:13)

    kind of like the highway in real life, there is cars going north and cars going south, right? Or in this analogy, cars going up or energy going up from the tailbone to the crown of the head and energy going down from universal consciousness down into the body. And what’s interesting is most yoga up to this point, at least that we have record of, has been very much focused on the current of liberation.

    meaning that we’ve been focused on how do we move energy up the body to connect with universal consciousness. And this is a beautiful model because it’s asking us to connect with something greater than ourselves. But the problem a little bit is that it’s putting the solution or it’s putting what we’re trying to achieve, this state of samadhi or bliss, outside of us. Of course, when we dig into these texts, and if you haven’t looked or listened rather,

    to the episode that I did on the kleshas, yoga is really not about achieving anything outside of us, it’s about removing the obstacles, the kleshas, that are blocking the enlightenment that’s innate within us. However, when we look at a lot of the language and texts written around yogic practice, that point really falls into the background. What we’re seeing more is words like, you know, discipline and training and focus.

    and in some senses deprivation, right? Like brahmacharya could, is almost like celibacy, right? Like not engaging in life or not engaging in extremes or.

    following a very strict moral, ethical code and a certain set of steps to achieve this state of enlightenment.

    Brett (07:02)

    Kundalini yoga, which so many of us love, is focused on bringing energy up the body.

    Brett (07:11)

    Lots of twists and breath work and energizing practices.

    Brett (07:18)

    Those of you who’ve read my book, Yoga Life, which is now available everywhere books are sold, super fun, know that there’s a chapter in there on the history of yoga. And what I talk about in that chapter is how for most of yoga’s history, the body was seen as an obstacle to overcome. The body with all its pesky urges, the body wants to have sex, the body wants food, the body wants to fidget. And it was like.

    the eight limbs of yoga were really doing this mental training, first physical training so they could sit still, so you could sit still for a long period of time, but then mental training on top of that to kind of overcome the body because the people who were doing these practices were young boys practicing or training for the equivalent of monkhood or priesthood at that time, or elderly men who were preparing for their next life. They believed in reincarnation, so when you were done being a grandfather, you’d go out and wander in the woods.

    to kind of become a wandering nomad and meditate in caves and start detaching from your physical body to get ready to inhabit the next one that you are going to hopefully receive in the reincarnation process. So yoga was very much seen as preparation for death and disassociating from the body. And what we all know to be true now is that this is only half the story. And we’re seeing this huge resurgence in what’s called somatic work, which just means

    somatic means of the body, but basically techniques and breath work that’s getting us more grounded. That’s saying, no, the body has this incredible innate wisdom. The body is not an obstacle to overcome. The body has so much power and innate healing potential if we listen to it and connect with it. And the path of the tantrika is actually like, how can I transmute energy and actually find that

    using my body through my body. So it’s a very, very different approach.

    Brett (09:21)

    Those of you who are in the Uplifted Membership or practicing with me on YouTube have seen that I’ve been introducing a lot more of what I’m calling embodied yoga, which is the term that I’m using for this style of yoga that’s more focused on this downward current of manifestation into the body, using the body, seeing the body as a temple, rather than this current of liberation, which is how do we get high and leave our body, essentially?

    So you might have noticed on YouTube I’ve been practicing and posting more things that have biomorphic movement. That means moving like an animal or nonlinear movement. Often I’m designing my own music for these classes because you really need music to get in the mood to sort of move intuitively.

    Brett (10:19)

    The Evolve Challenge, which I mentioned at the top of the episode, has a lot of this same style of kind of yoga for emotional release, or yoga to feel grounded, get embodied, and then transmute that energy in your body.

    Our bodies can be used for alchemy and we can transform so much pain and feel so much more joy when we connect with the body.

    Brett (11:04)

    So my interest this year is really to continue that exploration. How do I draw energy down into the body through pleasure, through self-care, through moving more intuitively? Because yoga, let’s face it, it’s rigid. It has a lot of rules, and I love those rules. I have like 500 hours of training available that you can take on those rules. And I think you need to know the rules to break the rules. So I’m not saying don’t train. I’m not saying don’t become incredibly.

    sophisticated in your approach to alignment and anatomy. But ultimately, if you just obsess about that, it can become a limitation. I think ultimately we’re, like the alignment and the asana is like step one to get you remembering that you have a body. Because most people have like forgotten that they have a body. We’re just like little disconnected people living in our heads, like case in point, Zoom, right? We’re all just like little floating heads.

    So asana and the traditional yoga we’ve been taught is so great to just help us remember like, oh, you have a body and you have a nervous system and you should connect with it. But the step that’s so much further than that, it’s like, okay, now that I’ve understood this asana, this alphabet of movement and I’m in connection with my body again, how does my body wanna move intuitively to either charge energy or discharge energy or…

    feel more pleasure or discharge something traumatic. Like our bodies are these incredible kind of self-healing mechanisms if we know how to activate them that way. And instead of staying in the strict structure of asana, we can begin to blur the lines a little bit between what’s traditional asana and what just feels good to us. If you’ve ever seen, you know, how your dog and cat like knows how to stretch or shake off or kerfuffle, right?

    after they maybe get in a fight with another animal or pet in your home, right? They kind of like shake it off or they know what to do to rebalance themselves, to come back into equilibrium. And our bodies know how to do that too, we’ve just forgotten. And that’s the embodied yoga way. It’s like, okay, how do I get in touch with my body’s unique, innate healing capacity?

    Brett (13:17)

    And that means I’m gonna need to close my eyes more. It means I’m gonna need to be trusting myself more. So that’s the kind of yoga that I’m gonna be practicing a lot myself in 2024, and that I’m gonna be putting out more on YouTube. And I will put some of the classes that fall under this style, although the Evolve Challenge very much includes many of these techniques. There are a couple more that are even more just total intuitive movements. So I will link those up in the show notes. Always click into the show notes, you guys, because I put a lot of resources and relevant blog posts.

    in there in case you’re interested and want further information.

    Brett (14:11)

    And if you are a 500 hour certified teacher and you didn’t know, I have a brand new training program on all of this called Embodied Yoga Life Coaching. It’s a certification program that’s a dual track certification.

    Brett (14:33)

    So you’ll be getting a certification in life coaching, but it’s like yoga-informed life coaching. So I offer you six different life coaching frameworks that are all rooted in Vedic wisdom, including Kriya yoga, including polarity. So like Shiva Shakti masculine, feminine polarity, and then four more. It’s pretty comprehensive.

    And then you’ll also be getting a certification in what I’m calling embodied yoga, which is this new style and way of moving. And I actually have put together a whole manual of different poses. I know it’s like, we wanna get away from manuals and set poses, but these are like, I call it a bridge, right? Like it’s hard to ask your students or yourself to just move intuitively. So I found that there’s certain movements that can serve as a bridge from like traditional yoga asana, like triangle pose.

    to getting people to move more intuitively. So it’s like, what are those breathing techniques? What are those movements? And there’s a whole framework I’ve developed around that you’ll be certified in as well.

    Brett (16:11)

    I’m really excited about this yoga life coaching program because I know when I used to teach a lot of yoga privates, my private yoga clients would want to talk to me about their life. A lot of times it would be hard for me to get them on the mat and get moving because they wanted to share, but I didn’t really feel qualified to talk to them about those kind of things. So this program is really designed to help you be able to coach your yoga private or your private yoga student or your client and teach them.

    and give them Vedic wisdom through the six life coaching frameworks. And then to take everything that they’ve told you and talked about with you into a movement practice, so that would be the embodied yoga piece, and then to talk more again after they’ve moved. So just think about how cool it would be to be able to work with someone in that comprehensive way, because I’ve done talk therapy for years, but I’m not getting to move and integrate in the middle of the session, which I think would really, really help.

    I couldn’t find, I’ve done two life coaching certifications, but none of them were rooted in Vedic wisdom. None of them tied everything back to yoga. So that’s why I’m so, so excited about this program. I’m putting the finishing touches on the manual right now.

    So if this is something you’re interested in, definitely check out the show notes so you can apply.

    Brett (17:37)

    You’ll be able to work as a life coach in person or on Zoom with six frameworks, all originating in yogic philosophy, and you’ll be able to design custom tailored yoga privates and somatic experiences to really meet your client on what they’re struggling with as an individual and then compliment that with life coaching off the mat. So it’s really bridging the gap between.

    yoga and talk therapy to create nervous system regulation and embodied self-healing for folks. And of course you could facilitate all the frameworks in group programs or retreats as well.

    Brett (18:24)

    So embodiment, that is my big word number one for 2024. And the next one is so closely related. Let’s just talk about it now, and then I’ll go into some business stuff in case you’re interested in that. The second word is pleasure, right? We need more pleasure. Pleasure is a generative energy. That’s one of the core components of my coaching framework. Most of us have been indoctrinated in the no pain, no gain philosophy. We are constantly denying ourselves pleasure.

    There is some fascinating research I’ve come across, all of this that also relates to, oh my gosh, like all world religions. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole. But basically, we fear pleasure as a society. And it’s so ironic, right? Because when we engage in pleasure first, whether that’s going for a swim or going for a walk in the woods or reading some poetry or dancing to some music that fills your heart up.

    you are then so much more productive after because pleasure is a generative energy. So just bookmark that for later. And if you wanna get a taste of this, you’re like, oh, how do I put pleasure in self-care first? Cause I think that’s something we talk about so much in the yoga community or in the wellness community, but no one actually knows how to do it. Most of us don’t know ourselves very well. I was writing that in the embodied yoga life coaching manual just the other day. Like we think we know ourselves.

    But we actually don’t, we haven’t really sleuthed for like, what are our true desires and preferences? So much of what I think I like or I think I want, I’m figuring out is still programming from my mom or from my parents or from society. Like, you know, I think I’m this person who wants this type of lifestyle or to be really social. And it turns out like, I love solitude. Like the real me just loves, loves being in creative mode and solitude.

    And then it’s like, wow, okay, there are so many ways I would design everything about my life differently if I really owned and acknowledged that. So, so many of us are completely disconnected from what lights us up and feels pleasurable. And many of us don’t even know ourselves in a sense. So, if you wanna work on some of this with me, with live coaching from me later this month, definitely check out Yoga for Self Mastery, which is on sale.

    Brett (20:43)

    until January 11th. It’s also like a mini course and prerequisite for the larger embodied life coaching program that I mentioned. So it’s a great place to start and much more affordable. So you can just go to brettlarkin.com forward slash YSM, which stands for Yoga for Self Mastery, YSM, if you wanna check that out, because the live calls.

    with me start in mid-January. So it kind of unlocks a whole portal for you with a huge video curriculum and you get a beautiful manual mailed to you if you’re in the U.S. that’s talking about how to practice self-care, how to nourish yourself, even if people in your life are sad or annoying or not yogic or if you hate your job. It’s really rooted in like things around you are imperfect but here’s how you can really nourish and take care of yourself.

    and find pleasure. So pleasure is word number two. Okay, the third thing, so let’s switch to a business thing. Third word for me this year is management. I want to learn how to become a better manager and give my team more respect, more responsibility.

    empower them more. And the tip I have for you around this, if you’re a yoga business owner, or if you’re someone who is thinking of launching a yoga business, and I was writing about this as well in the marketing portion of my new manual, that one of the best things you can do if you want to grow your business faster is to hire an administrative assistant. Even if you’re not ready, hire an admin. Even if you’re really early on in your business and you don’t feel like you deserve one yet.

    because it takes about six years to become a good manager. I have learned this the hard way. It’s something I’m still working on. And the sooner you can start, the better. So if you know something takes six years to get good at, most things take six years to get good at, or 1,000 hours. What do they say? So the other piece here is when you hire someone to help you, it forces you to take your business more seriously.

    Brett (22:55)

    So if you really want to kick your butt into gear and you’ve been stalling or procrastinating or you’re running different experiments like we talk about in 300 YTT and you’re just not sure what makes sense yet, if you are suddenly in charge and responsible for someone else, your self accountability and how you choose to show up in your business completely changes. And I hired my first administrative assistant in…

    this business, my business, 10 years ago, who still works for me, which is so fun. But I hired him before I knew what I was doing. I hired him when I still had my full-time job. So he was working on my, what was my side, baby business hustle while I was still working full-time. So I just share this as a little tip to maybe inspire you this year. Like if you really want to grow your business and start taking things seriously, sometimes.

    being accountable to someone else in the form of someone else you are paying just really forces you to level up in a way that an expensive training course or mastermind would. So just think about that. How can you better manage and delegate? And maybe that means you wanna manage or delegate something in your home or with your kids or make your kids in charge of cleaning up a certain area of the house or you wanna get some household help so you can work on your business. Whatever it is.

    Management, so I guess it’s kind of like management and better delegation or better managerial skills. That is my word number three that I invite you into as well. And word number four is energy management. Okay, yoga is like the science of energy management, but being, what am I now, like two years deep or three years deep into having run Yoga for Self-Mastery, the program I mentioned,

    and getting to see and coach and observe sometimes the study groups of all these incredible yogis talking about what they’re struggling with in their life, the more I become convinced that A, we all need so much more self-care and pleasure and self-exploration in a guided framework, which is what I’m trying to offer, and B, that we’re often not realistic.

    Brett (25:14)

    about how much energy we have and how to use that energy. So let me give you a practical example. I decided to take a course just on scheduling and energy management for entrepreneurs. So it was very, very detailed. And one of the exercises that was assigned was to actually map out on a calendar all the different things that take up energy in your day, different things you’re doing, kind of like time blocking, which I…

    I hate doing, by the way, because I want to be more freeform and create what I want to create and do admin when I want to do admin and kind of be in my little flow. So I was very against doing this. But what was suggested is like put an emoji on your calendar and like block off like 10 to 12 billing work or admin work or something. So that would be like a for me it would be like a crying face emoji, right? And then to look at your day and be like, do you have?

    a bunch and then it’s like, okay, a hustle to pick up kids or a hustle to do something else that doesn’t feel like grocery shopping or something, something that doesn’t feel prana edifying, let’s say, prana depleting. And then it’s like when you map out each day of the week like this and then you start blocking in, okay, what are nourishing activities? Like, okay, I’m going to go to the gym or I’m going to do yoga nidra or… And those…

    things on your calendar would have like smiley faces or hearts next to them, right? Is this making sense? But as silly as this sounds, like being forced to do this exercise as part of this course really helped me see that, wow, I could be managing my energy so much better. I could be taking care of myself so much better. Like if I have too many sad face activities stacked in a row, like obviously I’m going to feel depleted at the end of the day. Like running.

    my monthly kind of payroll expenses process is really depleting for me. Not that I love paying people, it’s more just like the admin work of there’s a lot of codes and two-step verification and texts and it’s like a very laborious manual not-so-fun tedious long process where I’m also looking at a lot of numbers and need to input and copy numbers down correctly from a bunch of different places, right? And so every month when I have to do this, it’s like a surprise.

    Brett (27:33)

    to me right now, right? I’m like, oh my gosh, suddenly it’s the 15th of the month. I have to do this again. And in doing this energy management calendaring technique, I was like, this is so ridiculous. Of course this happens every month. Why am I shocked each time this happens? Or it’s the end of the quarter, where there’s a lot of financial and kind of more administrative obligations I have and things that have to happen. And it’s like, oh my gosh, it’s the end of the quarter.

    I’m so depleted or I’m so fatigued. It’s almost like, why is this happening? This is just reality. And when I really realized this, I was like, wow, I could have these things scheduled on my calendar and then put, like, we know it’s going to be the 15th of the month. We know, like, Q1 is going to close, right? I can have these on my calendar and then really buffer them with things that are nourishing. Or think about.

    You know, okay, the week before, it needs to be a chill week, or the week after, there needs to be some recovery time. Or, I mean, even thinking about just how you take meetings during a day. So that’s another thing that I’m really focused on is just my energy. Another little thing I’ve been doing is just, I often do yoga nidra in the middle of the day to replenish myself. But I often just think, oh, I should have a ton of energy to put my kids to bed, and I don’t. It’s the end of the day. I’m tired, I’m depleted. Like, why would I think I would have energy to put my kids to bed?

    That’s absurd. So through doing some of this self-inquiry, now I often do a bonus, either a little nidra or meditation, or I create solitude and go to my room or take some time for me, even if it’s just 10, 15 minutes, before the bedtime process begins so that I have energy to do that work.

    Brett (29:45)

    So a lot of this might seem extremely obvious, but it was stuff I’d completely overlooked, even as someone who studies the science of yoga, of energy management, yoga. I just wasn’t applying it to myself and really looking at my life.

    in a holistic way and taking that bird’s eye view really helped me and it’s something I want to keep doing this entire year. So every time I’m deciding whether to say yes or no to something or scheduling something, I’m really thinking about like, okay, how is this going to affect my energy? What needs to be scheduled around it?

    Brett (30:23)

    taking a very, very just aggressive role in protecting my time, sanity, energy, and nourishment.

    Brett (30:37)

    So to review, we’ve talked about embodiment, we’ve talked about pleasure, we’ve talked about managing. And again, maybe you’re just managing other people in your family or your kids, but like, to me it’s like taking that leadership role.

    Brett (30:53)

    even if you don’t feel ready yet.

    Brett (30:57)

    And then word number four being this energy management process.

    I would love to hear what words you are focused on in the new year. You can always find me on Instagram at LarkinYogaTV so you can DM me and let me know if anything in this episode resonated or was helpful for you.

    Brett (31:21)

    Definitely sign up for the Evolve Challenge if you haven’t. And if you’re curious about any of the programs I mentioned today that are all starting pretty soon here, Yoga for Self-Mastery or in Body Yoga Life Coaching, look in the show notes. You can get all of those resources and links and book a call with my team to talk it through.

    Brett (31:45)

    Thank you so much for being here and listening all the way to the very end. I’m sending you so much love and from my heart to yours, namaste.