Having integrity means doing the right thing in a reliable way. It's a personality trait to admire, since it means a person has a moral compass that doesn't waver. It literally means having "wholeness" of character, just as an integer is a "whole number" with no fractions. Click here to read an official definition of integrity.
Likewise, the meaning of ensoul is “to endow with a soul” or “to place or cherish in the soul”. EnSoul Yoga aims to draw out, expose and incorporate the integrity and most perfect part that lies within each of us.
Ironically, many yoga founders, business owners, studios, and instructors as well as major leaders, politicians, institutions and organizations lack integrity. Even though they may cite their mission as working for a higher purpose, there is an alarming rate of misuse and abuse.
You either have integrity or you don’t and it is also easy to lose...
One selfish action - GONE!
One wrong decision - GONE!
Unless you are working every day to be honest, authentic, and develop yourself physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually, integrity slips away. I realize now, approaching the age of forty, that one cannot have integrity being involved with people, places or even yoga studios lacking integrity. Whatever we are doing contributes to something bigger than us and we will be influenced.
Many years ago, I was mistreated, often behind the scenes, at a large yoga studio that employed me. However, even at the height of the insanity, I continued to take classes at this very studio from the very person that mistreated me! Upon awareness of supporting both the instructor AND the business, it hit me that my actions did not line up with my intentions AT ALL! Out of habit and pure selfishness, wanting my convenient workout, I went against what I knew was ethical deep within. This was the exact opposite of integrity. I promptly quit!
YEARS later, I fell into the same MADNESS at another studio that was founded upon the highest ideals. For me, this was worse, as the company lost sight of their original mission. The focus deviated from spiritual education, Vedanta philosophy and raising healthy teachers and community to a goal for profits and power. Practices led to watered down trainings led by unequipped teachers, zero philosophy and a competitive teaching environment. Those that held the standards of integrity were forcibly driven away. By now, it may be a holy sanctuary… However, that is not my concern.
At present and moving forward, I am solely focused on growing and maintaining MY integrity while building up the EnSoul business. In October of 2016, EnSoul Yoga - Ferndale, Michigan opened. In February of 2018 EnSoul Yoga – Detroit, Michigan will be open on the top floor of the Guardian building.
Developing a business with integrity starts from within. There must be good intention, a higher ideal, consistent thought, and right effort and action. Oh - and learning to say NO THANK YOU to anyone or anything that doesn’t line up with the business mission, goal, or brand, Everyone wants something and they will ask, call and email relentlessly! Many people ask to teach, work the desk, manage, host events, sell products, and do special trainings. Even if it could or would bring in more income, I kindly review and often, but not always, reply, “no thanks” when proper alignment is not apparent… To put it straight – that is how things get fucked up!
Earlier, I was approached with a very tantalizing offer by a well established and well off entrepreneur. I was offered an opportunity to “be recognized worldwide as the yoga director” of a very large corporation. The company would retain the rights to everything I brought to the table and I would gain a bigger name, fame, and a steady paycheck. With gratitude, I declined as it did not align with my core beliefs. Not to mention, I had a new studio, in its baby years, that needed much attention, love and care. EnSoul Yoga’s budding community, devoted and loyal teachers and staff were far too precious to lose or turn my back on. And yes, of course, I would like to spread the mission of EnSoul Yoga to a wider audience – but not without a guarantee of maintaining integrity.
It is so easy to say YES, It is much harder to say no. The question remains, “what is the right thing to do?” That inquiry alone means you are thinking with integrity. More money, staff, teachers, or locations does not always mean better. This can lead to impulsive decisions based upon ego, feelings or preferences. Careful decisions made from intellect are based on sound judgment, rational thinking and logic, enabling integrity in action within yourself and business.
All teachers and staff members at EnSoul Yoga are busting their ASS to build their own character inside the studio and out! As a teacher, you may be able to draw a crowd, but if you are not working on yourself, it won’t last. I have witnessed this time and again.
So, how do you know if someone is working on themselves?
They are honest.
They do not make major mistakes.
They are open to learn and willing to receive feedback.
They work for work's sake.
They are givers, not takers.
They do extra and do not ask for more.
They work in the spirit of service and sacrifice.
They do not go rogue -- doing their own thing.
They are cooperative.
They do not sneak things, like reading personal emails, lie, and then blame a good friend. Yes, this happened… and no, they are no longer working for EnSoul Yoga.
Regarding location #2: the Guardian Building studio. Self discipline for maintaining integrity:
Daily study of Vedanta literature between the hours of 5-6am - (Gnana Yoga)
Daily movement of either yoga, quick 20 minute home workout, or outdoor walks with my dogs. (Physical health)
Eating in a way that is respectful of the planet and also best for the health of my body.
Being of service, unselfish actions - (Karma yoga)
Doing my best to fulfill my obligatory duties to my husband, close friends, and family.
Awareness and gratitude of divinity and multiple blessings - (Bhakti yoga)
In order to do all of the above, there’s just no way to please everyone. This may seem selfish, but my job is not to run around making sure everyone likes me! Something you may not know is that I am an introvert! Honoring my nature and preserving myself is the only way to have and maintain integrity in thought, action, business and life.
Here’s to integrity in the New Year and in the new EnSoul Yoga - Detroit!!!
Namaste and plug EN,