This blog series is about creating a sacred space for women to share their stories, advice, words of wisdom, and challenges to help inspires us all.
It’s about raising our global consciousness to unite and learn from each other as the beautiful women we are. Together, we create a tapestry of love, connection, and wisdom. It’s from this place where we shine.
Let me introduce, Tanya Boigenzahn, ERYT 500, RTT, AYS, CHTP, Yoga Therapist & Reiki Master
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Position: Owner/Director, Devanadi School of Yoga & Wellness, Owner/Director, Thai Yoga Bodywork, LLC
What else are you a part of: I love being a part of my yoga communities at home and in the world. I’m an affiliate teacher for the Himalayan Institute and am a featured teacher on their online magazine, Yogainternational.com.
I’m also a member of: MAA (Minnesota Ayurveda Association), Yoga Alliance (YA), International Associate of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), Thai Healing Alliance International (THAI), Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), Healing Touch International
Where did you grow up? New Brighton, MN
Tell me about your typical day.
I wake up around sunrise and say a prayer of thanks for another day. I usually get up right away, scrape my tongue (an Ayurvedic cleaning technique that help curb toxins from getting stored up in the digestive tract, and starts digestion going), and head down to my front porch. There I do a series of purification techniques like Breath of Fire (kapalabhati), and Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodana) as well as some yoga postures (asana), relaxation, breathing (pranayama) and meditation.
Then I get my son, 8 year old River, up and ready for school. I usually teach at 9:30am during weekdays until the mid-to-late afternoon. I might see a client for Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Energy Medicine or a combo of lifestyle and healing approaches. If I have time, I try to relax doing a practice called “Yoga Nidra” before picking up my son from school. However, I often use this break in my day to check email and keep up with the to-do list.
Then dinner, hanging with my kid or my “manfriend,” Chris. I love being in bed by 9:30pm and sleep by 10, but the summer is harder to do so. I love to meditate before bed. My day is over, and this is the time I get the most nourishment, but the AM is generally when I meditate most.
What do you love the most about your job?
As much as possible, I really try to not see what I do as a job. Practicing, teaching and sharing yoga and wellness with others is my passion, and I’m lucky enough to get to do it for a living. I am very grateful!
What I love most is that I get to see and experience people learning the tools from this unique and ancient system of healing that really works. I help people observe their behavior, thoughts and actions in their environment. Most of the time people are just living out of alignment with their environment… eating the wrong foods at the wrong time of day, practicing a style of yoga that actually is creating more imbalance in their system, getting stuck in thought forms (vikalpas) that sabotage your true desires, etc. Observation leads to discernment. Discernment leads to choice. Choice leads to freedom. I help people free themselves from themselves! There’s a word I love in Sanskrit (the language of yoga) called “angabanga,” which means “doing something dumb knowing that it is dumb, and doing it anyway.” We all do “angabanga” daily, but at some point, you learn to love yourself more and choose a different outcome… or learn to laugh at yourself when it happens.
I also love the travel aspect. I travel a lot for “work.” Thailand, India, New York, and other cities to teach, retreat and practice. Taking my students to parts of the world I’ve fallen in love with and sharing the beauty of cultures and teachers I’ve immersed myself in with them is amazing.
What do you do when you’re not working?
My son is an avid baseball player. He’s in a neighborhood pick-up team when not in Little League that meets a couple times a week. I LOVE just going and watching the kids play. Their innocence combined with talent and playful determination is very refreshing! I also spend a lot of time with my significant other, Chris, who is a big (literally 6’7”!) love and yogi, too. We cook, run, relax and support each other. Recently our families have been spending a lot more time together. For example, we just all got back from a short, but fun, vacation to Florida. My girlfriends and I are super supportive, too. A lot of us work together in the yoga community, but that lends great ease in our relationships as my friends are really open, communicative and honest. I love to rock climb, read, sit on my porch, build fires.
What is your favorite book?
Hmmm this is a tough one. I will say “The Bhagavad Gita.” This is a timeless tale about how to navigate through life and deal with the stuff that is in your path, even if you don’t want to deal with it. It provides a roadmap to life using the power of will, knowledge and action.
I have a daily affirmation (Dharma Code) that includes “I vanquish dysfunction with skillful action.” This is a sentiment coming right from this text. It’s really important to me that how I deal with friction in my life is done in a skillful way so that the karma is cleared, or softened. If I can take care to think, say and act in a mindful way today, I gain faith that my future will have less friction to deal with. It’s a beautiful tale that although is 2500 years old, just as relevant today as the time it was written.
What helps you stay inspired?
My practice. I have a long time connection to my Self through meditation that started in my teens. When I start to struggle, I know it’s time to sit and just let my mind empty of all the garbage in there. I can trust that process. That keeps me inspired.
Also, seeing my teachers continue to bring light into the world – and in new ways – is incredibly inspiring. I can keep reaching and growing, just like them. Watching my students learn to teach and share yoga with others, seeing them open and release old, useless patterns is amazing! People crack open and are so grateful for it! Seeing my son grow and hearing how his thought process is so clear and kind is wonderful. It makes me feel like I’m doing a good job raising him.
When things don’t go as planned, what three things you do to bring you back to your center?
1. Allowing – this is important. When you feel awful, I really have learned to allow the feelings to flow, and experience the discomfort rather than stuff them away or avoid them. I go for a run, cry, and express. I let it out. I don’t want to deal with that stuff later!
2. Meditate. I do a practice called “Vichara” which is a contemplation done after meditation to help trace a strong thought or theme (often an uncomfortable one) back to its source. This process has been key for me when dealing with friction in my work, relationships, etc. I can then have a non-biased mind to really look at a situation. I just did this practice last week and saw that I was the one creating an issue in my mind out of nothing because I had some fear. When I acknowledged this, I felt relief, but realized I had to release the fear. See Step 3
3. Act or accept – When you realize something is off, once you get clear on where it’s coming from (#2), you either have to ACCEPT the situation and have an attitude adjustment about it, or ACT with the appropriate action and amend the situation. If I’m not sure on how to act, I go back to #2 and sit to clear my mind. When the timing is right, I know I will receive my answer!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
I sometimes struggle with how to really live this teaching because I, like many people, want people to like me. But if I meditate on “what is the kindest, easiest way for me to act on this higher voice” I eventually get the answer that is the best for everyone in the long run. It takes practice, but this advice has helped me let go of co-dependent relationships and energy sucking activities in my life. I have so much more trust and energy for myself!
What quote, saying or philosophy do you live by?
This is a prayer I start my day with based on the teachings of my teacher, Yogarupa Rod Stryker, and my work with the Four Desires (Purosharta) or Four Aims of the Soul. Saying this daily opens me to the magic of being guided towards this fulfillment. There are so many more moments that I am aware of how my desire and the Universe are co-creating together to help me fulfill my highest potential. I have immense respect for life and gratitude when I include this in my daily routine.
“Show me what I need to know today to help me on my path to:
• embody my DHARMA, see the unique opportunities the universe throws me daily and lovingly to grow, have fearlessness and faith, shine, blossom and reach my full potential;
• find ARTHA in life through stability in home and finances, time, health and resources, and anything needed to assist me in my path;
• feel KAMA showing up as appreciation of love and beauty in my life, grow my relationships with myself, friends, loved ones, soulmates, lovers and fellow karma buddies to nourish and nurture my environment with a sense of pleasure, intimacy, ease and renewal
• find MOKSHA (freedom) from the chains of suffering, responsibility, and feel connection to a higher power daily that supports me in all of life.
I surrender the parts of me that are no longer needed, and open myself to receive these gifts freely without attachment to gain.”
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken and what did you learn from it?
Earlier in my career, I was working at another business and realized after many years that it was time to leave. I had reached my ceiling there as a teacher, and felt that the tradition of yoga I study needed its own home in my community. Moving on in your career is a natural thing to do, but my husband at the time was recently laid off and about to start his own business, and I was the only income earner. However, I kept hearing that starting my own yoga school and not running my business in another studio was what I needed to do. My intuition was very strong at this time, and although I was scared at first, I also knew I needed to do this for my own soul.
I grew in immense ways during this time. Being the face of my own yoga business in an independent setting made me sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to stand out. I had some difficulty in getting the right help. There were repercussions to me leaving the other place, and that made me very sad as I saw my growth as a beautiful thing. Also, I took on way more than I intended to do, so was much busier and didn’t get to spend as much time with my young son as I wanted to. However, immediately, there was community. There was intention to study in the students. People showed up. I was prosperous and thriving. I was happy. It was worth it. There have been other big risks I’ve had to take since this time, and this experience let me know that I could sustain those growing pains.
What is on your bucket list?
More travel! Taking my kid to the Rocky Mountains. I’d love to go to acupuncture school just to study as I love that system and have received great benefit from it. Live in Thailand for a year.
How do you manage spending time with your family, your work, and time for yourself?
Time management is about intention. Work, or my yoga path, is very time consuming. I DO love it, so teaching is wonderful and energizing for me. But I really do need balance. I have to make it a daily intention of having balance in my life by creating healthy boundaries for me to not overwork.
As a small business owner, there’s always more do to, and more to promote, and more to catch up on. Accepting that there will always be a to-do list and getting ok with that is step one.
Step two is setting up lifestyle choices that help me interface with life. I don’t see clients at night as I have my son and also want to spend time with my partner. I don’t answer email on my smart phone. I made a conscious decision to spend more time with my friends because I need a tribe around me to help me raise my son as I’m a single mom, and I, too, need the support and love supporting others. I get a lot of time to myself, but usually I’m catching up on work.
Getting outside and walking around the lake, doing my meditation practice, and taking retreats are how I energize and reconnect to me.
What accomplishments in your life are you most proud of?
- My son, River! He is a sweet, spirited boy with an empathetic heart and clear conscious. He is a little Krishna. I am amazed by him everyday!
- My sangha (community). I’ve worked to form a community around me. When I was younger, I was much more isolated and less trusting of people. Today I feel safe, nurtured, and supported.
- Doing what I love to do for a living. If I start to feel like what I’m doing is work, it’s a sign to get more help or take a break. But I really do love it.
What is one thing you wished you knew when you were younger?
If you really love something, do it now. Why wait? Going after what you really want does create change and often something is lost, but if you try to plan for the perfect time to seek the thing you really want, you are just losing time and getting more and more stuck.
What do you want to tell the women of the world today?
You need nothing or no one to tell you how precious you are. - Tanya Boigenzahn Click To Tweet
Go within for that. Seek refuge in the silent moments. Take a retreat. Go to nature. Women have a unique way of seeing reality… we can be ok with messiness – screaming in the car, having a tantrum, feeling fiery. However, in those moments we FIND ourselves. If we stopped trying to negate the REAL, LIVE, FULL moments in our lives, I think we’d all be saner, happier people.
Here’s a quote I love in relation to the above:
“Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.”
– David Whyte
Tanya Boigenzahn is honored to share her life in the pursuit of dharma, health and wellness for all beings. She is the founder of Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness as well as Thai Yoga Bodywork, LLC, empowering people with authentic and time-tested tools and teachings to help reach their highest potential. With 25+ years on the mat, she is a multi-certified yoga teacher, and is a ParaYoga® Level 2 Teacher, Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist, Thai Yoga Bodywork Therapist, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and Reiki Master. Tanya is also an Adjunct Faculty Teacher with the Himalayan Institute and featured teacher on www.YogaInternational.com.
As a long-time wellness educator, Tanya uses this experience to help deepen students’ knowledge of the traditional practices of healing and wholeness. Annually, she offers intensives and retreats to Thailand, India, Costa Rica and other areas in the world with rich healing traditions to go deeper and study with masters. With travel as a passion, you will often find her chanting with Buddhist monks, cooking a curry with her son, or discovering a long lost healing technique when abroad.
The Inspired Women Rising blog interview series asks smart vibrant women to share their stories, words of advice, challenges, and more to help inspire other women. The first Sunday of every month, I’ll feature a new guest who will share their stories, wisdom, and tips that help them navigate modern life. Do you have someone you want featured? Email me. #sacredpresence #werisetogether
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