Ishan Shivanand is the founder of yoga of immortals and a world-renowned meditative reformer. Shivanand is known for helping government leaders, executives, educators, and others in power increase their performance, health, and overall wellness using non-invasive, non-medical treatments.
Shivanand’s work to promote health and healing through virtual apps has helped people around the world maintain and build their health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. His initiatives work to promote total well-being, rather than simply working to boost productivity and performance. Healthcare workers have been especially thankful for Shivanand’s commitment to promoting wellness in recent years as they’ve worked tirelessly to help patients struck with the coronavirus.
In addition to contributing to the wellness of others, Shivanand is also committed to his own mental and spiritual growth. As a dynamic and distinguished Himalayan monk, Shivanand has dedicated himself to self-transformation, mindfulness, and ancient yoga practices. Shivanland believes in the importance of walking the walk–he wants to live the fullest, most healthy life possible so that he can encourage others to follow in his footsteps.
Shivanand’s contributions to the world of meditation include live interactive virtual sessions and SHIV YOG PLAY recordings, helping people around the world grow their consciousness while developing the skills necessary to manage stress effectively. While Shivanand is working to help people develop their mental well-being, he also encourages people around the world to practice yoga to fight disease and boost their immune systems.
There’s no doubt about it–people around the world are recognizing the contributions that Ishan Shivanand is making to the world of wellness. The health and wellness guru has been honored as an honorary faculty member at educational institutions in the United States, India, and Mauritius. Yoga enthusiasts are excited to see how Shivanand’s continued contributions to Eastern wellness practices, including yoga and meditation.
Where did the idea for Yoga of Immortals come from?
It came from a need. A need for providing non-pharmaceutical modalities to the world. When the pandemic hit, I saw how it affected people’s mental health. There was a rise in anxiety, depression, and a plethora of other mental health disorders. I knew I had the solutions to battle these mental health disorders and I wanted to start a company that would strategize the best way to spread these solutions to the people that need them.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The first thing I do after I wake up is spend 1 to 2 hours on my mind and body. I always do a meditation protocol and a yoga protocol before I begin my day. After a nice nutritious meal, I start on any projects, based in North America, that need my attention. This takes up about 12 to 14 hours of my day. After this, I spend some time taking care of any business I have around the world. At the end of my day, I meditate and get whatever sleep I can to be prepared for the next day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The first thing I do is find a problem that needs a solution. I take my time to understand the problem and create a protocol that I believe will provide the best results. I believe in rigorous clinical trials. So after the protocol is created, we conduct lots of research and trials to test the protocol’s abilities. I tweak the protocol until the research shows that it produces the best possible results. After the protocol has gone through that process, it is ready to be released to the public, for people to use to better their lives.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The marriage of technology and meditation.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My meditation habit. Spending time with myself on introspection and reconnecting with my vision.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start sooner. Always start sooner. My younger self was waiting for the right time, the right moment, the right opportunity, the right this and that. He was waiting for some Superman, someone to come and help him. But then I realized no one was coming. There is no right time. Time is what you make of it. You are rescued when you make the effort. So essentially, I’d tell my younger self to take the plunge and start now.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Yoga is more than stretching. There are so many different concepts of yoga. When I ask people in the East they think of a monk sitting in the Himalayas doing stretching there. In the West, they think of a person with a yoga mat wearing branded clothing doing stretching. In both concepts they are wrong. Yoga is so much more than that. When I tell people what yoga truly is, they go into a state of cognitive dissonance because that’s not what they see in the media. So then it takes time to convince them of the real yoga and its benefits of it. It takes time to explain to people that yoga has much more to do with the mind than it does with the body.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Work on the self over and over. When it comes to the self, you have to put in the effort every single day. I really like this saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. For example, if you are a boxer in your 20s, but you don’t practice or train, over time you’ll lose that skill. The same applies to the brain and emotional ability. You have to put in that time and effort to keep yourself strong and sharp to prepare yourself for times of crisis.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Follow-up and backup plans. Follow-ups help bridge the gap between the facilitator and the practitioner. In other words, it ensures we sustain a long-term partnership with other institutions that help us spread our message. We never do one-time shows. We follow up with them so even they come back to us for more. However, not every partnership will work out, and not every plan will work out. So it is important to have a backup for all of this. So this partnership didn’t work out, we have another backup to reach out to. This plan didn’t work out, we have a plan B.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A failure I had was giving too much information when it wasn’t needed. You know when you are as passionate about something as I am and someone comes to you to ask you about it, you tend to tell the whole story. If someone with high anxiety came asking for help, you wouldn’t share the 10,000 years of culture and meditation, it would be an overload of information, it would overwhelm them, and they wouldn’t get the help they need. Once I realized that we did a mind dump and broke down the information into relevant and concise chunks that were easy to digest for people.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you are looking to start a business to just make money, start a franchise. Companies like Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars are all big franchises and if you could come up with something that the public hasn’t seen yet, I think that would be very successful. I don’t recommend using mental health as a business because you are playing with people’s minds. Vulnerable people’s minds. If you don’t fully know what you are doing and you are spreading that information to people just to make money, you are playing with people’s vulnerable state. I am very ethical about this and I only want people to receive the right information so they can keep themselves safe.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I love to buy books. Recently I bought an ancient manuscript about Shaivism that was written by Abhinav Gupta. I spent more than a hundred dollars on it, but just getting that manuscript and reading something that’s not been interpreted and having the opportunity to interpret myself and really peek into the mind of someone who was enlightened was one of the greatest values I could ever provide myself.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The note section on my iPhone. It could be either the voice notes or the visual notes. It is so convenient because I can take it anywhere I am because it’s just on my phone. So whenever I have a eureka moment or have an idea, it helps me capture that idea somewhere so I don’t forget it, so then I can revisit it at a later time.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I think we should start with a dictionary. I believe our community needs new ways to express themselves. When we have a better vernacular, we can have better mental and emotional strength because when we look at ancient languages, the more complex the language, the easier it is to let thoughts become a reality. So there has to be some kind of poetry in our expression. If all of our expression becomes dulled down to explicit vocabulary, then that’s the limit you’ve set for yourself to process the mind. Your mind doesn’t go into the finesse, the flavor of the experience and meditation is all about increasing your flavor pallet. Understanding the emotions behind words. People sometimes just go through words without understanding their meaning. So if you want to grow, start with a dictionary.
What is your favorite quote?
“Trigunia vishawaveda niroyogshe matmawan nirdhono nispushto nisgunia bhava arjuna” meaning there are 3 states of mind. Your good, ego, and bad inside. This is a quote from Geeta. If you want to be successful in life, learn not to be motivated by attraction to what you like or don’t be repulsed by something that you don’t like. Don’t chase somebody who fulfills your ego because each time these thoughts come they corrupt your goal and intention. So if you want to go after your goal then you should have a very stoic approach, meaning when you are working, you are above being attracted to what you like. You’re above being repulsed by what you don’t like; you have to do what you have to do. Learn to get that base emotion out of your goal.
- Focus on improving yourself – Practice meditation and yoga. Expand your vocabulary to express yourself in more ways. Focusing on improving yourself so you are always mentally prepared for what life has to throw at you.
- Start pursuing your dreams now – There is no perfect opportunity or perfect time to start anything. There is no right time. Time is what you make of it. Dreams only materializes when you make the effort
- Follow up and have back-up plans – Follow ups help bridge the gap between the facilitator and the practitioner. In other words, it ensures we sustain long term partnerships. Have back-ups for everything, even if you are sure something will work out. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.