For the past 15 years, I have knocked on doors, stuck flyers on car windshields, and hustled from yoga class to yoga class. I’ve opened a yoga studio, gotten married, had four beautiful children, and through all of that never really-truly stopped and taken a breath to ask myself “Who am I?” in all of this.
My identity was tightly wrapped up in being a yoga teacher and I felt that everything I did should be tied into and stem from that. But now, at 33 years old, I have walked to a new place on my path. Two and a half years ago I realized that I didn’t want to be known as a yoga teacher. I realized that I am way more than that.
For the past fifteen years, the (yoga) mat has been a platform for me to share my insights about life, my knowledge about the body and my tips for living a functional lifestyle, all while helping me to heal my own wounds from life itself.
And now I’m ready for a change.
Let me take you back to the first day of my yoga teacher training almost fifteen years ago. I was finishing up my finals at Marquette University in Milwaukee WI and like a whisper from God all my teachers allowed me to take my exams early so that I could go for 30 days to an ashram in Colorado to learn how to teach yoga.
I was so scared and still struggling with an eating disorder and very low self-worth. I was anxious to live for 30 days straight in a place where I didn’t know anyone.
I can still remember as clear as if it were yesterday the first day of the training. During the very first hour of class, the eleven of us sat in a circle in the main yoga room and shared why we were there and what we hoped to learn. And although I don’t remember what I said, I do remember what I heard.
That day I heard someone speak to me in my ear and tell me 10 ways I would evolve from the training. At the time, I didn’t write them down, but I didn’t have to. They were burned into my soul.
The 30 days went by, and boy oh boy was that a period of personal growth unlike any other I had ever encountered in my entire life. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do with my life: be a yoga teacher.
Finally, there was something I was good at, something that felt right, and something that my soul easily sang in.
After the 30 days were over, I went back home to Wisconsin and took the summer to figure out what I was going to do. Come fall time, I decided to put my Marquette admissions on hold until January and I began teaching yoga full time.
Once January rolled around, I found myself calling yet again to officially discontinue attending the University- I was a yoga teacher.
Fast forward through the years, and I began to slowly chip away at that initial list that was spoken to me as I sat in the circle. This wasn’t because I was actively sticking to the list, but because things just naturally evolved that way. And just to be clear, naturally does not mean easy. I worked my ass off, I hustled, I did a lot of grinding, and I put in a lot of long hours, all while building and raising a family.
However, one thing continued to lead into another. Which brings me to the harsh reality of about two years ago. I was ending services with an individual that I had worked with for some time and it took me by surprise. I was both upset and happy for her at the same time. “What was I going to do now?” I asked myself. I had done this teaching and studio owner thing pretty much by myself up to a few years ago, but as I found myself evolving beyond the studio walls help was enlisted.
But with all help gone—now what?
You know the saying that “one’s loss is another’s gain.” Well, my own loss turned out to also be my own gain. I started to question what I wanted, who I was and what I was doing with my life up to this point.
I was losing my sparkle and excitement for what I was doing, and although I LOVED my students, I felt that something was missing. I didn’t want to be called a yoga teacher anymore. It began to bother me and I found that my gifts were evolving in a new light in a rekindled light.
Remember Marquette University… Although I’ve never exactly been traditional “school material,” I had decided at eighteen years old to go to go to school to become a motivational and inspirational speaker. I wanted to help others with my own gifts of speaking and writing. I had always been good at writing; my first poem was published in the fourth grade, and then throughout high school, another 5 of my poems were nationally published. As for speaking, anyone who knows me well also knows of my love for speech. You know how some are natural born runners… I am a natural born speaker.
That big blow to my business was yet another great breakthrough. I realized that I didn’t want to be a yoga teacher anymore. I wanted to be someone who used yoga to help others.
For fifteen years, I have used my yoga mat as a platform to inspire and help others live better lives, and now at this stage in my path I was making the flip—and essentially turning myself upside-down.
Now I am using the correct tools in my toolbox to be who I want to be and make a difference in others’ lives. I am speaking, sharing my story, and following my calling to inspire millions with yoga, alongside using several other tools I have cultivated over the years.
Out of all of this, I have realized that I never took the time to figure out who I am, what I look like, and how I truly want to be presented to the world. I have always just done things to get by in the moment and never really allowed myself the time to ask what “Hope Zvara” looks like. Who is she?
And from this the HOPE Process was born: Helping Others Purposefully Excel. With this, I help willing (really important word there) individuals learn to live in their bodies again by following the three B’s: Breath, Body, Belief.
Those three B’s embody everything that I have been learning and teaching throughout my own unique journey. Now I see why God chose what He did for me throughout my life. It was all to prepare me to help others.
That scattered, messy Hope has finally taken the time to define herself, put her pieces together, and make everything work together in harmony for the first time.
I have finally had the opportunity to think about who I am, how I want to be viewed, what is truly important to me, what I want to share, and what personally reflects me best.
Birthed out of this were new logos, new colors, new branding, and a much more organized Hope!
If you are reading this and thinking “But wait, I already love what you’ve been doing,” don’t fret. You will still get tons of me in all of those ways you love most, but the great thing is you’ll get them in a more organized, unified and empowering manner.
So stay tuned…. This is just the beginning of a wonderful ride ahead!