V14. The Collective (of Us): BOLD Broads *Sarah Finger of Ishta Yoga*

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Bold Broads highlights women founders and creative [read: BADASS] small business owners about how they really deal with the ups and downs of running a BOLD business. These women share honest wisdom and tough lessons to support you in collectively making good shit happen in your own women-led startup or small business. Meet Sarah Finger of Ishta Yoga, a yoga studio offering classes & teacher training rooted in the Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra & Ayurveda.

Let's meet her, shall we? 

1. STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD AND SOMETIMES LONELY. WHAT THE F*CK MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

As they say, sometimes your career finds you.  I didn't know I wanted to start my own business. In fact, I co-founded ISHTA with my husband and another couple 10 years ago with the idea that I would simply run the programs and teach. But when my partner decided to resign just 10 weeks after my daughter was born, I knew I had to step up and take over the running of the business. The mission of ISHTA to elevate the consciousness of others had transformed me and thousands of people all over the world. It was too powerful for me not to have stepped into that role. And so I did. I do not think I could have without having first given birth, full disclosure! Even though technically I am a business owner, I don't actually consider this position working for myself. My yoga practice is the work that I do for and on myself. In the business I am working for the community.

2. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO KEEP THRIVING IN A CREATIVE SPACE WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER?

This is such a good question. It is important to know and understand what your "competition" is doing, but I don't even like to refer to fellow studios like that. I think we are all in this industry to try to serve others and however other studios feel is their authentic way of doing that is their calling. So it is good to know what the market prices are and what the trends are but its also so important to keep reflecting back inward to what the message of my business is. In the case of ISHTA, it is inclusion, authenticity,  and elevation of consciousness. And because this message of individuality and inclusion is so unique in the yoga world, I feel that people are really in need of it. Yoga  has the tendency to take on a dogmatic approach and at ISHTA we are really trying to move away from that. As I work on this on myself on a microcosmic realm, I am also able to bring these values into the business.  

3. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE OFTEN QUIETLY SUPPORTED BY A COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN MENTORS, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. WHAT COMMUNITIES AND RESOURCES HAVE BEEN MOST PIVOTAL TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS SUCCESS?

Ooh yes. I have a mentor, Claire Kinsella-Holtje who has been invaluable to me over the last 5 years. She always says: "We don't have a professional life, a personal life, or a spiritual life. We have a life." I have really tried to integrate that wisdom into my life and into my role as a business woman and yogini. Claire has also helped me to see how my relationship to money and abundance is a reflection of deep rooted patterns that I have carried with me unconsciously over time. I cannot overestimate the power of self-work in the role of an entrepreneur. I also have have a few very close girlfriends who support me and my purpose that I would not have been able to get through without. Lastly, my participation in Exhale to Inhale, a non-profit organization that brings the healing power of yoga to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault has helped me tremendously to realize the power of giving back. I love working with the women on that board and feel privileged to do so.

4. NO BULLSH*T; WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT; HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO OVERCOME THIS?

Where to begin?!? I would say that for me, the most challenging part of running this business is keeping the principles of yoga and integrity in tact when the shit hits the fan. Recognizing that those employees, clients, colleagues that are the most difficult are the ones that teach us the most about ourselves and also the ones that need love the most. I try to keep Michelle Obama's wisdom with me and go high when they go low. 

5. SHARE THE MOST HELPFUL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN.

Another pearl of wisdom from Claire: "It's not what's coming at you. It's what's coming from you." When we closed our second studio Uptown 2 years ago, I had the opportunity to rent space from another high end luxury fitness center just blocks away. I thought it was a good venture and I wanted to give the dedicated clients an option to continue their practice. It was the worst decision I had ever made. The owner of that space turned out to be verbally abusive, manipulative, and controlling. He changed things in our contract midway and was rude to my teachers and my clients. We all felt bullied and disempowered. And over time, I realized that this person was just showing me (us) how I was not existing in my own power. How I was so easily giving my voice and my power away. It was the worst and best scenario that I had to go through as a business owner, which leads to my other piece of advice: learn from all of the "failures" and don't be afraid to make mistakes! We cannot learn without trying and its the mistakes that bring us closer to our own truth.

I UNAPOLOGETICALLY OWN MY BOLD BROAD BADASSERY BECAUSE...

Because I have been on the other side of badassery. I know what it feels like to be disempowered, insecure, and uncertain. I know what it feels like to feel alienated. And I am a living example of the ISHTA product. 

Through this practice I have learned how to sit with myself, to explore, to listen, to learn, and ultimately, to individuate. We all need desperately to cultivate the power of individuation because that is what will give us our own sense of Self. It's what gives us our sense of boundaries and our own voice to express our truth. Without that we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and not coming from a place of authenticity. ISHTA is about honoring and ultimately resonating in your own unique, individual spirit. Unapologetically! So that you can then share your gifts with others and elevate the collective consciousness.

BOLD BROAD BONUS***FAVE APP OR WEBSITE?

I love to read other people's wisdom on Instagram. 2 people I love (in addition to Cyndie Spiegel :) is Megan Bruneau @meganbruneau and Danielle Posa @danielleposa . Danielle and Deepak Chopra have a course that they do together called the Soul of Leadership and Corporate Wellbeing which I have had the pleasure of offering yoga in. I would highly recommend this course and even 2 of of Deepak's books: "The Soul of Leadership" and "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success".


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Learn more about Sarah and ISHTA Yoga right here.


***FULL TRANSPARENCY: ISHTA is the NYC yoga studio that Cyndie practices in and also where she took all of her yoga teacher trainings that have greatly guided her own life and career.  

Sarah Finger is the co-founder of ISHTA Yoga, LLC and the private yoga teacher of Dr. Deepak Chopra.  She recently co-created an online course, “Finding Connection Through Yoga,” with Dr. Chopra in partnership with Yoga Journal and The Chopra Center. Her online course, "Chakras 101" that she filmed with her husband, Yoga Master Alan Finger is due out later this month by Yoga Journal. Sarah teaches trainings, workshops, and retreats internationally Alan, and is a featured expert on Jiyo, a revolutionary new digital platform that brings health and wellness to online communities all over the world. Sarah is a legacy ambassador for Lululemon, a Satya Jewelry Soul Sister, and a Zenflluencer for Rituals USA. Her values of self-empowerment and authenticity led her to join the Board of Directors for Exhale to Inhale, a non-profit organization that teaches yoga to survivors of domestic violence. Her daughter, Satya, inspires her every day to live a life based on love and unbound potential.