Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bryn Hlava, founder of Svastha Holistic Healing, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Svastha Holistic Healing is a space for people to come and get to know their bodies and the innate wisdom each of us holds. I combine the wisdom of Ayurveda, the healing touch of Marma Therapy & the science of self-healing in my practice, offering wellness that is holistic & dynamic meant to honor the unique rhythms and daily changes in your body and life. I propose strategies for you to witness your life anew, to find the choice to shift, center compassion and action, and bring you back into balance. I honor the innate wisdom of your body as you move more fully into your authentic self.
I work with clients in Ayurvedic wellness, engaging in conscious choice with the body, including lifestyle, routine, food & herbs to respond to the information the body presents us with. Through marma therapy, I work one-on-one with individuals by way of touch therapy and working directly with the nervous system using a combination of physiotherapy, Vedic acupressure, fascial release Akara massage, and energy healing.
I have a community membership program as well where we engage in core sessions to dive deeper into educational learning of Ayurvedic physiology, kitchen & cooking classes to uncover the magic of food medicine, Q & A clinic to open discourse & integrate what we are learning with curiosity and embodied practices of self-massage and self-healing. The communities I serve and work with are curious about the body and seeking a deeper relationship with themselves. I honor the uniqueness of each of us and the innate healing capacity that we all hold within.
Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in Portland, OR, dancing and curious about the body and understanding the mind throughout my life. After receiving my BS in dance and psychology focusing on somatics and development, I moved to New York to pursue a career in dance, movement research, and performance. About three years ago, I hit a wall in my life. I was dancing and working and grinding, pushing past my capacity in so many different ways. I was coming to realize that through my lifetime of studying the body, I had trained myself to hear everything and push past my limit anyway. I was injured, depressed, and very unwell. My relationship with my body and myself was at an all-time low. I had been practicing yoga as a means to cross-train and care for my muscles and always knew there was more to uncover. I chose to make a huge shift out of the depletion of the life I was living and started my first 200hr yoga teacher training. Here I was introduced to Ayurveda and marma therapy and the vastness of mind-body-spirit study that is the practice of yoga.
I returned to my studies in somatics and development and wandered through trauma theory and subtle body study as well. I realized more and more that living in service to our bodies is the key to living a purpose-filled life. I was dabbling in teaching and dreaming of what I could offer in my new trajectory while still working in restaurants and creating movement installations, and performing when the pandemic hit. I lost my jobs and the structures I had been creatively engaging in. This is when I really launched myself into my work, and my business really began to grow. Yoga, Ayurveda, and marma therapy have quite literally saved my life. And this is why I do what I do. As I integrate these practices into the fabric of my own life, I have found the magic in these supportive structures, and it is with such deep gratitude that I share this with the people I work with.
I am in love with this work. To witness people as they shift in the most profound ways. To witness people meet themselves again and again with curiosity and compassion. To witness individuals as their nervous systems literally down-regulate from chronic stress and fatigue into a space of trust and rest. This is why I do what I do. It is such a gift to share
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was starting the business! I went from being unemployed with zero business experience to having a sustainable, growing business that has served hundreds of people in our first year! This feels huge. To witness consistent growth over the course of the year through many hardships and challenges feels like a huge accomplishment. I am so looking forward to continuing to evolve and learn and expand to be of service to and share this work with more and more people.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest things that have come this year were injuries and unexpected health emergencies. I had two incidents where I had to take time off from running the business, and it was really scary. It taught me a lot of trust and patience. It also really asked me to practice what I preach. Something that has been a huge challenge for me as well is asking for help and simplifying. I have a history of taking on everything myself and making things harder for myself in the process. I have received such an abundance of support from friends and family, and for this, I am grateful.
I notice my resistance at times, and I am learning to really be a team player as I engage with the community and grow sustainably. I will also say that coming into business without business experience and without a nest egg to build with were some pretty big hurdles. I am still learning so much, and it feels quite overwhelming at times. I am super grateful to my accountant/business coach for supporting me in learning these new spaces. And I will say I went into debt starting a business without investors! This was scary, and I felt a lot of shame around this. BUT it was necessary, and as I have reached the turning point where profit is increasing. I am paying down the debt; I see and trust that even all of the "mistakes" have been blessings and supported my learning and growth as I have created a business that feels intentional, conscious, and full of potential.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Ask for help! I have been a part of several groups of entrepreneurs & creatives over the time that I started. I have been running my business. It has been SO helpful to have a community to bounce ideas around with and just feel a sense of community. It can get lonely being a sole-business owner, so this feels super important.
Failure is not real... It's all information! When something doesn't work, it often needs a tweak or some adjustments to find success. I practice a lot of radical honesty with myself when something goes differently than I wanted it to. I like to ask myself what I can do to step into the spaces that I want to create?
One thing at a time. A huge lesson I learned is that simple is best. Building out one aspect of the business at a time allows you to focus more clearly and others to see what you are doing with more clarity. I had a moment when I first started off where I wanted to offer EVERYTHING, and I worked in that way for a while. None of my programming was empty, but none of it was full, and I was exhausted. Now I work a lot more clearly and intentionally, doing fewer things with more energy in those fewer things. Trust your heart and follow what you are most curious about. Your business will shift and change as you do. Presence is so supportive.
(One more!) Daily practice and clarity in your work and play space are HUGE! I had to set pretty strict boundaries with myself for when I am working and when I am not so that I actually have time to rest, and when I am working, my work time is more efficient and focused. As a business owner, this can be flexible but knowing and honoring your own boundaries with yourself is a huge piece of my foundation.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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