By Milda Urban, Summersalt Yoga founder
From corporate world to running her own yoga business – Caitlan Carver, a beautiful Canadian has some great yoga, business and life insights to share and I am thrilled to interview her for our “The Madame Guru” project.
I have met Caitlan a few years ago when she and her mom Danah visited us at our Balance yoga retreats. Caitlan was going through a transition and career and life change at the moment and I am so happy to see that everything she has worked for since then has come to life.
You are busy in the yoga world! What exactly do you do?
I am the founder of a company called, “Lift: The Yoga Revolution”
Lift the Yoga Revolution is a movement that influences yoga culture both on the mat & off the mat. How do you act when you leave the yoga studio? Do you want more peace & fulfillment outside of the studio? We got the yoga tools to break open your energy to a higher, lighter lifestyle. Our yoga retreats & camps immerse you in the yoga culture atmosphere & allow you to find your tribe. By creating a yogi family environment, we elevate personal revelations of heart opening & connection to union.
How and when did you decide to start “Lift”? What was the main push to go there?
It is my greatest passion to share the traditional culture of yoga. Although yoga has become very popular by bringing people onto the mat in the studio, I wanted to share the beautiful awakening that yoga can bring when you immerse yourself into its philosophy in your daily life.
By incorporating Patan’jalis yoga sutras, Ayurveda (yoga sister science & nutrition), spiritual coaching and yoga asanas, I am able to share the true nature of yoga in sacred havens around the world with people who are truly interested in yoga immersion as a lifestyle choice.
Yoga culture encompasses your mind, body & intellect. It shows you how to make who you are more refined. It’s a life long commitment to your actions, the way you teach, the way you interact with others, it’s about self-reflection, and the journey towards your own revolution. You can’t reach the highest peak of yoga without practicing all aspects of yoga. It’s your overall development as a person.
Do you have a full time job as well?
I do not work at my corporate job anymore. I used to be a communication manager for international trade of Canadian barley. I left my job this time last year to pursue my dreams of being a full time yoga entrepreneur and to start a yoga culture retreat company that revolutionizes the way yoga retreats are created and experienced.
What obstacles did you encounter while setting up your business and now – developing them?
I found that my biggest challenge was getting comfortable in the unknown. Things are never stable, they are always changing, and it keeps you on your toes. It can also be a lonely. I’m used to being in a room with a communications department where we brainstorm, go for lunch, have meetings etc. and being an entrepreneur means starting on a vision that you alone believe in. So you need to have a thick skin and an indestructible belief in what you’re doing.
I have a background in public relations and marketing so promoting myself came fairly naturally—I think this is why I became fairly successful transitioning into a yoga career full time right away. I promoted my teaching everywhere possible. I moved to Toronto last year and the opportunities in the industry have been massive. I think the key is to stay open to creative possibilities—and to constantly say that out loud.
My mentors Gabby Bernstein (whom I have trained with) and Jordan Bach remind me to stay focused on keeping my faith in the flow of the Universe, which guides me to the next actions I need to take. In this way, I have never had to hustle, but I have been able to flow and be patient with the comings and goings of clients, job opportunities, teaching auditions, retreat opportunities etc. Because the losses have set me back on track to be where my heart is calling me to be. And because of this faith, i have gained massive wins.
The big word here is, patience. When you start acting on your dreams, you will not be successful overnight. It will take years to get to where your truly want to be—and even then there will be more growth necessary. So don’t give up. Even when you’re thinking of quitting. The important thing is that you’re doing what you’re passionate about. That is your Dharma (your life’s purpose) and if you commit 100%, have faith that you will have everything you need to carry it out.
Patience & consistency have been my biggest challenge and learning curve. As a consultant, things will never be stable completely, so you need to learn to ride the wave 24/7. Think of it as fun. Because it’s always moving, changing, and flowing in infinite ways and possibilities.
Yoga is still more a “female” business, so what was the role of the women you encountered on your path – were they supportive, were some of them a challenge?
I have not met anyone in the yoga industry that has made me feel like I am in competition—mainly because my dreams are different from many other yoga teachers. I would say My biggest obstacle and challenge has been in the yoga studio. Where there is a certain level of demand for fitness and entertainment from teachers. That’s just not my gig. I aim to share inspiration from the culture and tradition of yoga, not just give an hour fitness workout. That’s not the true roots of yoga. So I struggle with this, because there’s a difference between just earning a pay check and doing what you love. You have to choose.
My choice is to serve through yoga. Not to take away from it—abundance should be a by-product of doing what you love.
From my own experience, I know that starting your own business can be scary, what scared you the most? How did you deal with that? Was there a moment when you wanted to quit?
Starting your own business is always scary, OF COURSE! Your headed into unknown territory to learn, grow, progress as a person—but also to inspire others. And there is a price that comes with that. But I would rather depend on my own vision, than depend on someone else’s vision.
This is the fire element in me. You need a bit of fiery energy to start a company and be driven to begin and to keep striving on your journey. Even when things go wrong, your fire energy is what will get you back up to keep going. I have never felt quitting—but at the end of the day, I am so much happier than I was at my corporate job. I’ve never been happier actually. So it would take a lot for me to give any of it up.
If you have worked all day, and you come home feeling more energized than when you left the house—you have found what you love to do and a lot of people don’t ever find that. They settle for mid-paying jobs, that keep them safe, comfortable, and in some ways miserable. But they would rather have a job that is 9-5, than have the burden of getting to know and standing up for what they believe in, and what they really think. I feel that there is so much pressure to do what your parents want, or what your peers think is the right, reliable choice. And those who leave things like that behind are seen as crazy. But those are the percentage of people that change the world and put a kink in the Universe.
My greatest advice is to think with your heart. Because whether we like it or not, life is an emotional experience. If the answer to your purpose resonates in your heart, you’ve found your calling. And that is a VERY rare and beautiful moment. But you have got to take the time to reflect on what it is that makes your heart tick a bit faster.
Which experiences in your life were important or crucial to you to start this business?
My experience in PR, events management and marketing all helped me to become what I am now. So whatever you’re doing now, trust that it’s part of a bigger picture. It’s going to give you the tools to move forward into a bigger career, bigger vision that is waiting for you down the line.
Was age at all on your mind when starting this? In todays world it sometimes seems that if you didn’t get something going at the age of 22 you’re too late. Did you have that feeling?
I have felt a bit of pressure to get what I want going by the age of 30. So on my 30th birthday, it was a big deal for me to head onto a path that I felt was authentic. Not necessarily something that was going to make me heap s of money by age 30, but just that i had my head in the entrepreneurial game by then and having intense focus on my life goal. I have always known I was going to be an entrepreneur, but it took me a while to understand what that journey was going to look like. I had practiced yoga for 12 years, but didn’t ever think it would be my purpose to teach it globally. So if you don’t know where you’re going, keep the faith. The answers will present themselves in time.
What are your plans for the future?
I am starting a new yoga culture retreat company next year in 2017. The name of the company is Aurora Yoga Retreats. We have five retreats lined up for next year and I am overly excited to share the new website launching early next year.