Notes from Launch Live Call to the Facebook Community

Posted by Suzanne Dulin on

These are my notes from my Live Call to the Sadhana Community on Facebook.  
Tonight I am launching the Sadhana Catalog and all this week I will be selling exclusively to this group  the items used in our catalog photo shoot at a 40% discount.
At the end of this call, I will place the sale items into the Facebook group. Throughout the week I will add more products.
If you purchase this week, you will also receive a 20% off coupon for one item on your next order.
Also, I have a set of Hand, Foot, and Body lotions with with gorgeous essential oils that you can win when you sign up for the mailing list. 
I am running this special for you because I appreciate the time, the energy, the support, and the love you have shown me these past few months as I've started this group up. I'm always amazed that people are listening on the Live calls, and it's meant a lot to me. Thank you.
This whole call is talking about the catalog, the personal journey that led me to launch it, what this brand represents, and how you can be a part of it. I will be selling products at the end of this call. If you don't want to be sold to, then don't listen to this call. You can go back and listen to any of the other live calls by selecting Files and choosing the document that lists and links all the Live Calls. I hope you will stay though, because I so excited to finally be able to share with you the vision I have for us to become leaders to the yoga world of model of a doing business that fits with our spiritual practices.
The name of my catalog is Sadhana. It means extraordinary achievement. It also means a dedicated practice. 
My favorite quote about sadhana comes from Swami Kripalu. He said that the greatest sadhana is the sadhana of love. 
So that's my brand in a nutshell: extraordinary achievement, dedicated practice, and love. I sell powerful healing tools for people who want beautiful things for their yoga practice made by devoted healers. with love and care.
The things that I sell are for dedicated yoga practitioners and healers, or for those who aim to become that. I believe all yogis are on the path of becoming saddhus, and thus my products are for every yogi.
 
Now I will back up and talk about the inspiration and support I've received to start this up, and tell you about some of the artisans who are creating the beautiful clothing, props, and malas for our first catalog. Then I will tell you about my vision and some of the work that is coming in Spring 2017.
If you go back to my 1st Live Call, I talk in there about my journey to yoga. In Live Call 4, I talk even more in depth about my awakening experience that started me on the path to yoga. Unfortunately, even though I have known since I was 20 years old that I was meant to be a yogi, I've struggled to figure out how to reconcile my dharma, my path, with the necessity of being a small business person in order to make a living it.
Yoga is a sacred practice. I've experienced a lot of yogis who approached the business aspect of this sacred practice in ways that seem thoughtless, unloving, and cruel.
Here's a list of things I've seen in the yoga world: studios that charge thousands of dollars for yoga teacher training but provide no mentorship or path for their trainees to become teachers; teachers who inappropriately touch and interact with people who are looking to them for spiritual guidance; yogis doing their whole business in cash in a way that on one hand makes it feel less business like and on the other hand, well, made it feel less honest. I knew a teacher who was a straight up crook. One former student told me this woman, "used her like a personal ATM machine" and one of her teacher training classes called the police on her because she fraudulently told them theu would receive RYT designations when she was not credentialed to give Yoga Alliance registration.
I've known one yoga teacher who promoted workshops year after year for a famous guest yoga teacher until it grew to something very profitable for the guest teacher, and then the next year the big name teacher cut the person who grew that market for him out of the loop and out of the profits. I've seen yoga teachers try to pretend they are not in business but doing things in a small way, and thus they can never grow, never be a bigger influence in the yoga world. They are ethical but stay too small and those of us who are seeking those beautiful ethical teachers can't find them because they are scared to put themselves out there and risk turning into one of those business people they rightly do not want to emulate. 
I'm guilty as charged of staying small, in large part because of the criminal and unethical things I witnessed and personally experienced. I was afraid to follow the footsteps of the teachers I saw who were making money but not in a way that felt true to my yoga values.
But then I start figuring things out.
A few years ago, I went to the InnerQuest Intensive at the Kripalu yoga center. It's a program that take you out of your normal daily experience of the world. It messes with the patterns in your life that you never examine, like your relationship to time and eating habits. I was not in turmoil when I went, but really happy. During the course of the workshop, I heard many stories from people in transitional times in their lives. At one point, a Chinese woman in her 20's was sharing about her parents with me and she broke down into tears so hard that she reverted to talking in Chinese and I couldn't understand one thing she said but she was clearly processing tremendous sorrow and pain. Two other members shared about childhood abuse they were still traumatized by. It was a very intense program. 
On the third day, we did a deep breath work exercise as a group. We were given very little information about what to expect; just instructions on the mechanics of the breathing method. Lying down next to my partner, who was there to support me and not participating in the actual breathing part yet, I began to explore the breathing method. It took about 10 minutes before I got into the zone. Suddenly, I was strongly located on my urinary tract. When I was 7 and 8, I'd had a urinary tract infection that was not responding to treatment. It's was a lonely and painful time for me, one that I've worked to heal through therapy and journaling, and honestly, at the time I'd gone to the workshop, I felt pretty over it. Not that it was ever going away, but I hadn't much thought about it for a long time. Then suddenly, wham! I'm dong breathwork and this old psychic wound is back.
First I asked permission to hold my partner's hand. We'd been told not to touch. But I needed to draw on her for support. I clasped her hand and with my breath took in the kindness and concern she was sharing with me. Then I started drawing on the strength of everyone in the room. Even though they were in their own worlds, deep in their own issues, I knew they were there for me. The Chinese lady, the people whose parents were so awful, all of them were lending their support to help me, and I knew it was okay to ask and receive their help. We are so eager to send out our love and our energy, and we forget that we need someone to receive it. To complete the cycle of healing, we must honor the love and kindness being given to us by genuinely receiving, with attention, that gift.
When I was done with the breathing exercise, it was like over my head in neon letters I could feel the word 'Community' flashing. It's been there ever since. Community. I realized then that a good business person is supported by their community; people need me to do my work and they want to support me by making sure I continue to do my important work in service to our community. And you. You have important work to do. Stop playing it too small. I need you to do your important soul work, all of us do. And it's through community that we can create this spirit of giving and receiving the love, the support, and yes, the money, we need to do our life's work.
The idea behind my business is simple. We create a community of practice. A community that shares knowledge, that shares a space where we can sell products to each other and anyone else who recognizes the value of the work we are doing, and which supports the people who want to create businesses to do it in a way that feels like yoga. I don't have all the answers, but I do believe that if we hold hands and keep talking to one another, we can stumble around and figure it out together, and I think if we intend to make it a nice thing, that intention will be felt above the accidental hurts and slights we might create as we bumble around.
Sadhana, my business, has three parts to it. The part that makes money is the catalog. It will be a webstore and that is coming very soon, as soon as I get the photos and product descriptions on the site. The website for that is sadhanacatalog.com. If you go there now, you can sign up for the mailing list, but it's not ready quite yet because I just got my product photography back yesterday. The products I'm selling tonight are some of the things I'll have available this fall. They are made by people who are serious about their yoga practices and thoughtful in their business practice, people I want to support, and that I encourage you to support, by personally recommending the things they create.
The second part of the business is a literal community. That's the discussion board that is now up and running at sadhanacommunity.com. It's different from Facebook because it's designed to be a place for real sharing, real conversations that don't end when Facebook decides to stop showing them to you. It's a place that I control. It has no ads. It's actively moderated. You can see all the conversations and choose which to participate in, and the interesting conversations can go on for days and weeks. I will do a teaching on the discussion board later this week to show you what we can do with that software that we cannot do with Facebook. That space is my gift to you. It's a space for serious yogis to gather, and for new yogis to talk to more experienced people who know that new yogis are the future of yoga. Let's stop looking to the Yoga Alliance to legislate good behavior and let's start a movement right here for leadership in the teaching community. In the sadhana community you can become a true leader without branding yourself, without marketing, just by honestly giving of your knowledge and support.
The third part of Sadhana is a business support group. That's where we help each other to do our important work by teaching and supporting each other to grow our business skills. Maybe, like me, you have never before been good at marketing or selling, or accounting.  These are not a black arts. Like headstand, accounting, marketing, and selling are learnable skills. This past year, I've been in graduate school where I have been supported to start this business. I've also participated in several nice Facebook groups and worked with some really kind people who are teaching me how to market, how to sell, and how to do all the business that used to scare me in a way that feel like me. That feels yogic. The online business support group is free to people who want to be a part of the Sadhana Catalog. You have access to this support and to a community of other yogis who are interested in modeling leadership in ethical, spiritual business practices.
One of the pieces of this support group that is already beginning is I have 2 and probably by Wednesday 3 professional course developers  who are giving time to help build online courses that are designed to sell and to create passive income for people who have something to say about healing. And for people who can teach us how to do the business stuff we need to do in order to do that healing work. I have four courses starting development right now. Three related to healing, and one related to accounting. No one is working for free; they will get paid when the courses begin to sell, and if they start to sell a lot, they can buy themselves out of the catalog and set up their own website with all the support of the Sadhana business support group.
This business support space is separate from the discussion board so that the discussion board doesn't feel spammy, because there are subtle ways people promote in business groups that sometimes isn't so subtle. Right now the business support group is an invitation only Facebook group for the first businesses that are helping to launch the catalog. Later, it will be integrated into with the store and discussion board into one large site with separate silos.
That's the whole vision, but tonight is the catalog launch, and so, let me tell you about what I have rolling out for you this week. I have clothing and props from Swadeshi Village. Within a month or so we will be adding custom prints designed by Virginia Odien into his line of products. I have beautiful, powerful malas which are prayer beads made by Rebecca Moon Designs. I'll also have some essential oils and essential oil products from Fleurs de France. 
Earlier this year I spoke about metta meditation in one of the live calls. I will be releasing this week an audio download of a metta meditation by Catherine Carrigan that is really well done and just the right length of time. It's about 20 minutes. I may have some other healing audio downloads for you as well.

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