It's 2019, and Hanuman Heart as a "brand" I guess we'll call it, is just beginning again in a way. The bits and pieces have been coming together for some time though, and here you'll see how it came to look like it does today.
In 2012, I started taking yoga at little neighborhood studio called Urth Yoga. I had been going to yoga classes at my gym for a couple of years, but Urth was the first studio I ever fell in love with. That life changing yoga studio love where every teacher is amazing and every class feels like it was made just for what you need on that day. I went every day, took every workshop, students became my friends, and I pretty much forced my teacher Keric Morinaga to become my friend too. The physical yoga was challenging and fun, the philosophical part reconstructed the way I saw the world. It saved me in some really difficult times.
In 2014, a friend encouraged me to take the Urth teacher training. The training was in the Anusara style, and was being led by my two favorite teachers Keric Morinaga and Rachel Jackson. I had never thought about being a teacher, it was a lot of money, a huge commitment (ah!), blah blah blah. But there was the whisper of "do it". I think I might have been the last person to sign up.
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training: A Memoir.
Get up early and spend all day every weekend being blown away by how much there was to learn. Try not to eye roll. Make some amazing friends.
*Pic on the far right was after the very first public class I ever taught!
Cool, that went well, realized I was definitely meant to be a yoga teacher, I loved it so so much. I relished that little dollop of humility that would reoccur so much in this life, that "you don't know what you don't know". The practice of development and discovery was (and still is) intoxicating.
Interlude: I used to have a big girl sales and marketing career in the specialty food industry. I love food (that's for another read), and I loved the people I worked with and I had money and health insurance and a 401K.
So, I'm a yoga teacher, I have classes on the schedule at Urth, I have a great job, but I need some mala beads! Not just any mala beads, I need some cool girl beads. Can't find 'em, anywhere. They all look too "yoga". So, I went to my local bead store and found some really beautiful pyrite beads, and went home to see what the YouTube says about making one. It took a while for me to get the hang of the knots, and I think I needed 4 hands to make the tassel on a pair of chopsticks. Here is the very first mala I ever created:
It was very cool, as you can see, and right away friends started wanting one of their own. At first I gave them as gifts. I'd go to the bead store and just feeel for what stone seemed right for the person I was making a mala for. Then I'd google the stone right there in the store to see if it seemed like a good fit with what I knew was going on with them. My first "customer" was my same friend that insisted I do teacher training (she's nothing short of an energetic angel investor in HH). She ordered two malas for her sisters and encouraged me to post photos of all of the malas I'd been making on FB and the gram.
I had just added a second instagram account to my life, called dtlayogagirl (clever I thought because I was living in downtown LA 🤦♀️), and though I really had no intention of selling the beads to the general public, it seemed like a good fit for the yoga "content" I was cultivating.
You know what though? People got interested in the beads! Friends and family would reach out, and I started consulting with people via email about what they were working on in their life so I could pair them with a stone. I was surprised how much people were willing to share, and it was very moving to be trusted with the intimacies of their lives. I ordered a book about crystals to learn more about the properties of each stone, color meanings, chakras. Again I was humbled by the realization that "you don't know what you don't know". There was just so much to learn about stones, and like teaching yoga, I was now accountable for responsibly helping people and knowing what the fuck I was talking about.
I established Hanuman Heart as an LLC in the spring of 2016, did some artist/craft shows, built an Etsy store, and started work on the first incarnation of the HH website. And here it comes again..."you don't know what you don't know".
If You Build It, They Will Come: A Short Story About the Meaning of SEO.
Turns out, you can't just put some pictures on your website and become rich selling stuff you make. Luckily I had yet another energetic angel investor that helped me understand the incredibly unknown to me world of getting your brand known and website found. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding a person in your life that knows about this this stuff if you are thinking of starting your own business. Do whatever it takes to employ their help, we can't do it alone.
At this point, I'm juggling teaching several times a week, managing the growing bead business, and working my full time food marketing job. I was really spread thin and I didn't feel that I was giving my best self to any of my endeavors. I knew which one of these things was not like the other, but I was terrified to give up my steady income and say farewell to the career and people I'd loved for many years. As you can see though, yoga was always on my mind.
Who needs steady income and health insurance and a solid plan for saving for the future? Not me, I guess! Now I will say, I could not have done this without the support (financially, emotionally) of my incredible friends and family. Some periods of time are prosperous, others aren't. Still to this day come the end of the month you may be buying my glass of wine if you want me to go out with you. Autonomy is a funny thing. Self-motivation comes and goes, and inspiration can feel dry as the desert. But no matter what part of the ebb and flow cycle I've found myself in, teaching yoga and creating meaningful pieces has always been fulfilling, and fulfillment can make you feel rich in ways money can't.
Which brings us to the present. This is the third year of Hanuman Heart evolving as an entity, showing me what it needs, how it wants to grow. And as I continue to nurture HH, culling the fruits that will plump it up nice and full, I can't help but smile and think "you don't know what you don't know".