Meet Brandon, our February Muse. We connected with Brandon on Instagram, struck up a conversation, and were instantly inspired.
As a yoga therapist and life coach, Brandon teaches his students how to develop a positive mind and keep an open heart in the face of life's struggles. "The ability to say, 'thank you' in the midst of chaos takes trust, faith and a little effort to become aware of what and who you truly are", says Brandon. Coming from a man who was once homeless on the streets of LA, we know that Brandon understands this more than most.
Ma Wovens Founder Kelly Peyton caught up with Brandon to explore a little more about his practice, his rituals, and life in Mexico.
Do you have any unique rituals that help you stay grounded, mindful, and focused day-to-day?
Yes, I have many rituals. In fact, I call my home a Temple home. And you know what defines a temple? It is a sacred space where you can create a space for rituals. How fascinating right? Now, while most people get rigid and into one practice, or just practice a few rituals, I have tons of rituals. I love to learn about all kinds of techniques, spiritual practices from various traditions. I keep what works in my back pocket and discard the rest. So in a sense, I create my very own cocktail of spirituality. No matter what, every day I have to do some movement. I get in tune with my body and either do yoga, dance, go on a run or some kind of movement. I also practice breathwork almost daily as well, this helps to bring the body into alkalinity and reenergizes the nervous system. I tend to fall into procrastination and laziness and this breathwork keeps me on my toes and focused. Singing and chanting is a huge part of my daily life. It opens my throat chakra and helps me connect to a more subtle plane within myself. It helps me be present and keeps me in a tranquil, peaceful state. I also make it a point to get into nature as often as possible.
What is your relationship with Mexico? What brings you there, and why do you like heading there for your retreats?
I first came to Mexico because I had a month off before I started a 6-month tour across the US with Yoga Journal magazine about a year ago. In that month, I met someone and we started a long distance relationship after I left and went on tour. We made it work and when the tour was over, I decided to move to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Staying here has just worked out. I’ve made relationships with the yoga studios and the various retreat and wellness centers in the area. So, I fell in love and I also fell in love with this little piece of heaven on earth. The water is always warm and clear, tons of nature, hiking trails, waterfall adventures and there are little towns nearby that you can only get to by boat. It's a fun, unique place that I love continuing to explore and discover.
What have you found helps you keep up a consistent practice? How do you come back to practice if you've gotten out of the routine?
After years of practice I have learned one key thing… To be gentle with myself when I fall out of practice. I know I always come back to my practice and to my mat. Living a life of travel, nomadic and adventure… sometimes my yoga mat feels like the only stable thing. I tend to have a lot of anxiety and now I use this as an indicator. When I get overly anxious, I know its time to practice. I don’t push it aside or ignore it anymore. That only increases the tension. Instead, I use it as a message from within to go inside and practice.
Brandon + The Ritual Rug at the beach
What is a quote or phrase that most resonates with you today?
“Be a rainbow in somebody's cloud.” By Maya Angelou. There is always a positive side to any situation. I find that the greatest way out of my own neurosis and suffering is by helping others. If I can be a light in someone's life, why not try to light them up too?
Brandon in his happy place
How did you find Yoga/Meditation, and is there a metaphor for how they operate in your life?
My mother was practicing yoga when I about 5 or 6 years old, so I was attending classes very young. That planted a seed within me at a young age. Anytime I would feel stressed out or anxious, this little voice in my head would say, “take a nap” or “go meditate” or “go be alone right now”. Basically this voice was telling my sensitive little soul that I needed space. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I never thought I would be a yoga teacher. It wasn’t until I ended up homeless in Los Angeles at rock bottom that yoga came back into my life with a thunderbolt of force. This was truly my spiritual awakening and the start of my own healing journey. I ended up guided to a yoga studio in Huntington Beach called Seventh Chakra Yoga and met my first spiritual teacher, Priya. She put me on a path of healing, love and grace. I completed my teacher training and knew that one facet of my purpose in this life is to share yoga with the world.
If you would like to find out more about Brandon's Yoga Therapy & Life Coaching head this way.
Intrigued by the yoga rug that Brandon is practicing on? Discover more about The Ritual Rug here.