It’s another beautiful day on The Healthpreneur Podcast! Welcome back to the show. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Maya Fiennes, a mother, musician, composer, yogi and author who offers both digital products and in-person conferences, trainings, and retreats. She’s a ball of energy whose mission is to help people take the tools taught in yoga and apply them in their day-to-day life.
Maya is also the creator of KundaDance, which blends yoga, dance, music, Tai Chi and Qi Gong into a fun and expressive healing experience. She inspires, uplifts, ignites, energizes and empowers people all over the world with her light and expertise. With today’s ever-evolving digital platforms, Maya has had to grow and change her business model, too.
Tune in as Maya and I discuss how her business and retreat models have changed over the years, and how she’s had to adapt. She also offers deep wisdom in how anyone can learn to focus better and trust fully– and what that looks like in real life beyond the yoga mat.
Click here to subscribe to the Healthpreneur™ Podcast on iTunes
In This Episode Maya and I discuss:
- The struggles she faced when transitioning into digital platforms.
- Her retreat model and how she travels.
- The impact her retreats have made on her clients.
- The importance of meditation and mantra.
- How she’s learned to focus and trust.
- The good and bad of technology and social media.
3:00 – 7:00 – The evolution of Maya’s business from only in-person to nearly all digital
7:00 – 11:00 – Combining online products with in-person retreats and travel
11:00 – 16:30 – Maya’s retreat model, how she operates, and how she serves her clients
16:30 – 24:00 – Yoga, mantra, breathing, and meditation for focus and trust
24:00 – 30:00 – Getting back into flow and keeping the human connection in business
30:00 – 35:00 – The Rapid Five
What You Missed:
In our last episode, we discussed how to give your clients exactly what they want with Laura Schoenfeld, an R.D. trained in functional medical nutrition therapy.
Laura shares with us how she formed her philosophy, built her business around it, and attracted her ideal client in the process.
Laura’s business has grown and evolved over the years, and she’s got some excellent insights into what fostered and hindered her progression along the way.
If you are a coach, practitioner, or trainer that wants to hone in on your offering, ideal client, and philosophy so you stand out from the rest, this episode is for you.
Hey, hey. Welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a great day. Today, we’ve got another great guest on the show. I always love bringing guests from all walks of life within the health space onto the show to highlight different ideas and ways to approach life and business.
Today’s guest is a great example of that. Her name is Maya Fiennes. We’re going to be talking about how Maya has held kundalini yoga retreats throughout the world and has become one of the most sought-after kundalini yoga sutras.
She’s heavily endorsed by people like Deepak Chopra, amongst many others, and we’re going to have a cool conversation about leaning into intention, being a bit more free-spirited, and not being obsessed with structure and numbers. Not that everyone has to abide by those rules, but I think it’s a refreshing approach to living life and business in some way, shape or form.
If you’re in the business of bringing people together, or if you want to do more retreats, or if you want to approach your business in a less stressful manner, you’ll get a lot out of this podcast. If you want to learn more about Maya, you can do so over at mayafiennes.com. You can check out what Deepak Chopra and others have to say about her.
But in the meantime, let’s welcome Maya to the show and let’s get into it. Maya Fiennes, welcome to The Healthpreneur Podcast. How’s it going?
Maya: Hello. Very good. Excellent, in fact.
Yuri: That’s nice.
I’m excited to have you here because we connected several months ago, and we had a great conversation. I think you were rushing off somewhere around the world to do another one of your retreats. Can you give our listeners a sense of the business model that you operate and what you do around the world?
The evolution of Maya’s business from only in-person to nearly all digital
Maya: I travel the world teaching kundalini yoga. I have retreats. I have made lots of DVDs. I’ve written a book, which is now translated in eight languages. For 10 years, I’ve been very analog, as you would say. I would travel. I would be there for every workshop, retreat, and teacher training course. Then, about two years ago, I switched into more digital, because I thought the DVDs and all that must be coming to the end.
So many people are just doing digital, especially younger generations and the millennials. So, I switched the whole thing into digital, which was a process and quite shaky, to be honest. At the beginning, I thought, “Oh my God. I’m not actually appearing anywhere.” For six to eight months, I wasn’t going out there. I was just filming and creating the content.
I created lots of content and we put everything on the website. Still, I think people are used to me, and they want my energy.
At the end, in this kind of business, people come to retreats to get your energy. As a teacher, you transmit that energy and change people’s lives. By even just talking to them, there is certain energy that you give to people and that’s what they want. The digital was a little bit shaky to start, but it’s getting better and better.
I want to get more, even though I understand that we should do both. You need to appear in the times when you’re not there because you cannot be there all the time. So, you have the support of the digital — videos, DVDs, and all this material that you want to show, even online teacher training courses.
I created something for kunda dance. It’s my new project; my new passion. It’s a movement. Some people are comparing it to Zumba. They think it’s going to be the conscious Zumba. It combines yoga and tai chi, there’s moves, we shout mantras, we dance, and it’s really exhilarating.
The music is written in very high frequencies and healing modalities. At the end, people feel joyful. I presented it on online, so people can take the course online. Everything is recorded.
I have the video — how to do it, what to do, and each position. I gave them the manual. It’s three or four hours of material. They learn it and film themselves doing it. Then they send it to me, so I can approve it and tell them what they need to pay attention to. So, that’s in the pipeline, but we haven’t released it yet.
Combining online products with in-person retreats and travel
Yuri: Nice. That’s cool. Let me ask you this: You’re in Mexico, and you’re going to Greece. You do this stuff all over the world. How do you fill these retreats? And how many people typically show up?
Maya: Right. So, that’s why I said the digital world cannot be the only outlet. You must appear and you must have both. You have clients who just go for digital and clients who just want to see you in person. At the beginning, when I was transitioning, because I was not appearing much it was digital.
But the digital awareness takes a long time to create on social media. So, because it was shaky I would have not full retreats. In the beginning, I would have 15-20 people at my retreats.
The numbers would still work out at the end, because I’d break even or make a little bit more. But of course, the idea was to have 40-50 people, and I used to have that. Transferring them to digital, which took me some time, was a little bit shaky.
But now we’re getting there, especially with the awareness of this kunda dance that I’ve been teaching. Lots of people have interest because it’s an easy goal. People can learn it in one hour. The whole class is one hour of this kunda dance. You learn how to do it.
That’s why people go for it, because it’s almost like a mini teacher training course. Usually, people are already into fitness or yoga, so it’s easier for them. But yes, the filling of the retreat is still a bit of a problem, to be honest.
It’s so much on the go, and you can just get lost in this whole soup. Before the digital world became more active, the few of us yogis traveling the world would be recognized and everybody knew about us. But now, we’re lost in a sea of many people. That’s what I’ve been noticing.
Yuri: Interesting. So why do you go to Europe? Why do you go all around the world instead of having retreats in Los Angeles, for instance? Are there specific reasons for those locations?
Maya: Yes, because my clients are mostly European. I am from Europe. I lived in London for many years, so people knew me from many different angles because I changed my profession often. I reinvented myself many times. I was first known as a concert pianist, then I had a band, then I had a fashion company, then I end up as yogi.
Everything I’ve learned came together under one umbrella of this yoga wellness business. Even modeling, walking on a catwalk, doing makeup, and appearing on camera, is still used now when I’m filming and doing my videos.
Yuri: That’s awesome. It’s all part of the journey, right? It’s one chapter after another.
Maya: My book was released in London first, then Germany. I constantly go back to Norway. They can’t get enough. I have hundreds of people there in workshops. I usually do two-day workshops there, and it becomes a tour, like a musician, you know?
I make up a schedule and tour. If I’m in Europe, then I’ll go to Germany, Norway, London, and a few other countries. Then I end up in Greece, because I’m from there. I’m from Macedonia. It feels very comfortable for me to be there in June, usually for the teacher training courses.
Maya’s retreat model, how she operates, and how she serves her clients
Yuri: That’s awesome. How do the retreats look? Are they a one-day event or two days? How does that all look for the participant?
Maya: I like the retreats for seven days, because you can see the transformation happening from day one to day seven. I can absolutely see it in their faces, and that makes me joyful. I love seeing the transformation and creating that. With seven days, you have enough time to transform and have that journey.
Seven days is enough to get that transformation. Now, I have two-day workshops, because one day is not enough. When I travel like that, people get a lot out of a full two-day workshop.
It depends on what time I have and how it is scheduled. Let’s say I’m doing a retreat after my teacher training in Greece, then I’m doing another retreat in another Greek island for seven days. That will be a journey through the chakras, so we go one day on each chakra.
You get that whole clearing.
Yuri: That sounds like a great way to experience the world. You get to travel to great places. You get to have fun and teach others. That’s a nice business.
So, for everyone listening, you can create the business of your dreams, right? You don’t have to follow the mold and sit behind a computer. You can do what you want to do. And with that said, Maya, what advice would you give to someone who might be thinking about doing live workshops or live retreats?
Knowing what you know now, what are some mistakes, things that you could help other people avoid, or things they can consider to help them with their live events?
Maya: I have learned from my mistakes. When things happen is when I don’t think about it too much. I put it out there, and I’m not thinking of not filling it up. I’m only thinking, “I’m going,” and that’s it. That’s my result.
I go with full passion, without thinking about the numbers. As soon as you start caring about numbers like, “How many people? How many people to break even?” Oh my God. When you start doing that, you spoil the whole process. The best thing is just to work with passion, love what you do, put it out there, and just expect it to happen.
That’s it. No is not in our vocabulary.
It happened. That’s it, and you just go with it. And yes, sometimes, maybe it won’t. Sometimes maybe it won’t fill up. But really, when I start dissecting and going back, it did not happen those times because my passion was not there, I wasn’t into it, or I wasn’t into that place.
All those negative-thinking emotions relate to it. As soon as you’re flowing, you go into it, and you love, it’s like, “Oh my God. I can’t wait for Greece. I love Greece, and I know Greece.” I completely put my whole energy in. I’m already planning. I’m already there in my head. I’m already packed to go in June.
It’s all about your energy and how you use it. That’s how I’ve been doing business. I’ve never put business plans on this and that. Somehow, I’m not a business person. I only went with passion, enthusiasm, and willingness. In the end, I uplift, energize, and bring joy to the world and that’s my way.
Yuri: That’s awesome.
There are opposite thoughts. On one side, you put the intention out there and disconnect from the outcome. On the other side of the spectrum, you must know your numbers, track everything, and push, push, push. Grind it out, and fill it up. Everyone has their own way that works for them, but I agree that when you’re in that flow and state of energy; when you feel as though it’s already happened and you embody it, that’s when all the magic happens.
I think a lot of resistance happens for people because, number one, they set an intention. Then they don’t believe that it’s going to happen. They have self-doubt, then start doing things to over-control the process. They don’t have faith that it’s going to unfold like they want it to.
It’s cool that you brought that up.
Maya: It’s trusting the process. Trust is even more than faith. Just trust. That’s it.
Yuri: How does someone develop that? Is it something you’ve always had, or something that’s unfolded for you over time?
Yoga, mantra, breathing, and meditation for focus and trust
Maya: No, I’m still struggling with it. I even put a tattoo on my wrist that says, “Trust.”
I was in London a few months ago, and I said, “I want to see it all the time because I have to remind myself to trust,” and it works. I have developed that through yoga, all these practices, food, and diet, as you know.
We are all on a journey to be the best versions of ourselves. We all have different tools to get there. For me, the best tools have been the discipline of doing yoga, using mantras, and practicing the breathing process.
There are a few elements. The breathing is very important. The mantra, for me, works because I’m a musician, so I can associate with that. I create mantras. I sing mantras. So, for me, mantras are always in my head. Every time I need to chill out or know I’m in that shaky and doubtful state, I bring back the mantra. I trust and I remind myself that it’s okay.
It’s just getting to flow. But the biggest and easiest way I get into the flow, is playing piano. I just sit on the piano bench and am completely immersed with the music I play.
When you play a piece, whether it’s for a few minutes or an hour, you are completely immersed in that. It’s an active meditation. You just play the music. There’s nothing else that exists. I remember when I was doing concerts, I would be in a complete bubble for two hours. I don’t know how did they went.
It’s like that. I don’t hear anyone or anything. I was in a specific space and time. I don’t know what to call it, but it was the most amazing meditation because that’s what was happening. You’re completely one with it, and you’re in that flow completely, one with the music.
When you’re one with that whole process, no matter what you’re doing, that’s when the magic happens. For me, it’s when I’m relaxing, meditating, and coming back to trust.
Yuri: I agree with that. I did my pilot’s license several years ago. When I was learning how to fly, at least when you’re not doing long distances, you can’t think about other things. You can’t be distracted. For me, it was a great escape from what I was doing on a day-to-day basis. It gave me an hour to be solely focused on flying the plane.
It was an active meditation for me. I felt so blissed when I was up there and when I came down. It was terrific.
I found meditation to be extremely helpful. I’m sure a lot of people listening to this meditate. If you don’t, I strongly recommend it. It quiets the mind to such a level that you get to tap into that infinite intelligence. Your nervous system is brought down to such a relaxed state that you can get so much more done.
A couple days ago, I was doing some work at Starbucks. I was there for two hours, and I thought, “Wow. It seems like I’ve been here forever.” Time just stopped, and I was so chill because I was listening to a very specific frequency of meditative music while I was working. It was a cool experience.
I’ve tried to make meditation a regular daily practice because I know that my brain goes a thousand miles a minute. I always think, “I can do this, this, this, and this. Go, go, go.” If I don’t slow down, it feels like I’m always rushing, and that’s not a good feeling to have.
Maya: For many people, just saying meditate gets an, “Oh my God,” like you just said a curse word. It’s not easy for anybody to just quieten down. It’s the most difficult thing. We do yoga to make ourselves flexible enough to sit in that meditation position. I started that with a discipline, but you open the door to meditation through mantra.
That’s why I highly recommend mantra. It keeps you busy. You keep repeating the same word. You’re stimulating 84 reflex points in the mouth. You’re hitting the hypothalamus, pineal gland, and pituitary gland. Everything works completely as one to get every cell of the body in oneness and that neutral state of mind. It’s so much easier after you finish the mantra for one minute. Then, you can do it for five minutes, for seven minutes, for eleven minutes. We have specific timing.
After that, you just sit immediately. You’re in that flow. You get into the meditation so much easier. That’s what I recommend to people. If you have a very busy mind, try with mantra first, because you keep busy, but just with exact words.
It’s good, sacred words, so your body understands. I started like that. Now, I don’t have to sit and meditate. Everything else becomes meditation. I walk and I’m in a meditative state. I constantly apply mantra or am in that flow. Try to find that in everyday life.
That’s the ultimate. That’s why I called my book “Yoga for Real Life”. It’s taking yoga off the mat and into real life, because it’s so easy to just keep sitting and doing it on a yoga mat.
If you translate that meditation into everything you’re doing in life, I think that’s the ultimate.
Yuri: I agree with that. That’s awesome. How do you come up with a mantra? I know there’s a lot of people that do transcendental meditation and that’s based on having a mantra as well. Can you just say any word? Or does it have to be a specific type of word?
Maya: No. I teach kundalini yoga and we have specific mantras. They’re few and simple like: Sa, ta, na, ma.
You keep pushing the fingers, each finger to the thumb, and that sends electrical impulses in the brain and recharges it. It’s great for balancing the hormones. It charges up, specifically, the pituitary and pineal gland.
There are specific things to say, and how you say them stimulates the glands and gets the endocrine system going. That’s what you need. But we have very simple mantras, like ra, ma, da, sa for healing, so you invite that into your life. It depends on what you need, and I estimate.
I have developed an estimate program. In 20 minutes, I’ll ask people to do one specific move from each chakra and specific breath and that will tell me everything about that person.
It becomes like a psychic. People say, “You’re like a doctor.” I say, “Well, I can see what’s going on because I ask you certain things that tell me what’s going on.” People are surprised. Then, I know what mantra to give them. If they have a specific problem, there’s certain mantras for it. That’s why I filmed all these mantras for people. If they have stress or depression, I tell them what to do to hit specific glands.
Yuri: That’s cool. When you feel overwhelmed, unfocused, or off-track, what questions do you ask yourself? What mantras do you say to yourself to get back on track and back into that zen-like flow?
Maya: I have my specific mantra to come back to that wisdom: Wahe, guru, guru, the teacher from darkness to light who will help us. I invite my own guru, my own teacher within me.
You have it. That’s the guru we are calling. It’s our own self. To see where this fear is coming from, I sit with it and I invite fear in front of my face. I’m not imagining, I’m visualizing. I say, “Okay, come, face me. I want to face you. What’s up? What’s going on? Where is this coming from? Why?” I talk to it, as weird as that is.
But, it’s just facing the fears. I spend three weeks on my own before or during the Christmas and New Year season on a little island in the Bahamas to face every emotion that comes up. I don’t even meditate or use mantra, because even that was an escape from facing all these emotions.
Sometimes, you can use that to escape, rather than dealing with it. So, I know all the tricks. I’ve been through all sorts of processes and journeys and I realized at the end to just face it, and not many people want to do that. Nobody wants to do that. And rightfully so, because it’s not easy.
Getting back into flow and keeping the human connection in business
Yuri: Totally. Speaking of facing your fears, what is your favorite failure from a business perspective, let’s say, that has later set you up for success?
Maya: I feel discouraged when my retreat doesn’t get filled, and that happened a couple of times, as I said, when I was transitioning.
I was wondering and questioning, what am I doing right? And what am I doing wrong? Why? Why is this happening? Obviously, my energy was not there or I was not sure myself, so there was a doubt. I think that’s what was happening because I was in that transition. All I knew was to be there with the people. That’s the analog way I was talking about, and I did well with that for 10 years.
For two years, I was transitioning and it was shaky. People didn’t know I was still on the radar. They forgot me when I transitioned. I needed the time on my own. I needed the time to create the content. How do you win them back? How do you bring them back? It requires lots of energy and work.
I think that was a discouraging moment. Then, I started to work even harder to understand the digital world, because I was resisting it.
I resisted it for many years. I kept saying, “I’m not the generation for that.” But the world is running that way that you must accept it. I wouldn’t even have Facebook. I wouldn’t have Instagram. All that you see now, my social media, has only been built in the last two years.
I didn’t have anything. I don’t know how I did those retreats just from people knowing me and seeing me from one workshop to another.
Yuri: Newspaper ads. The Yellow Pages. It’s cool though. I think a lot of people can relate to that whether it’s the current internet and all the social stuff or the things that are going to be coming down the pipeline, whether it’s 3D printing or AI. There’s always going to be resistance. There’s always going to be people who say, “I don’t want this to be the way it is.”
Maya: I had more resistance than others. I refused. I don’t want to get completely into that world. I think people are losing connection and communication. It’s a problem because it’s all texting and all digital. I just don’t know. I’m still resisting it, I guess, but I’m getting better with it.
Yuri: I don’t know if this is true, but they said that Facebook was purposely designed to be addictive, and it hits our dopamine receptors in very specific ways.
Maya: Yeah. I’m worried for kids. I have young adults, 11, 19 and 21-years-old daughters, and they’re constantly on it. Ugh.
Yuri: It’s a tricky world to navigate. I personally made the decision to not have Facebook or Instagram on my phone. I don’t have email on my phone because I know, for me, if it’s on my phone, it’s like having chocolates sitting on the counter in the kitchen. I’m going to crush it every day of the week, right?
I know I don’t have enough discipline to not to jump in there and go down that rabbit hole.
For me, and I think for a lot of other people, too, just using the technology instead of having it use you is an important thing. For me, it goes back to yoga and meditation; when I feel more centered and relaxed, there’s less of a tendency to jump into that.
Maya: It’s all discipline and building it in your body so your cells understand and know. Some people take shorter, some people longer, but building that discipline.
The Rapid Five
Yuri: Yeah, totally. Maya, this has been a lot of fun. Are you read for The Rapid Five?
It’s five rapid-fire questions. Whatever comes top of mind is probably the right answer. So here we go. Number one, what is your biggest weakness?
Maya: Can I be very blunt? Sweets.
I like sugar. Oh, my God. I grew up in a country that is full of sugar. That’s how I grew up. Can you imagine? In Macedonia, it was all about sugar.
It’s considered a third-world country, so we were given all the scruffy stuff, the worst of the world ended up with us. There were greasy things, baked things, sugar, and pastries. I had to be disciplined to turn that around.
Yuri: Good for you.
Cool. Number two, what is your biggest strength?
Maya: Uplifting, energizing, and inspiring people, and willingness. I say yes to everything constantly. It’s my spirit, my personality.
Yuri: That’s great. Good for you. Number three, what’s one skill you’ve become dangerously good at to grow your business?
Maya: I’m very good at creating content. I’m very good on camera, and I know my moves.
Yuri: Nice, nice. “I know my moves.” That’s a good one.
Number four, what do you do first thing in the morning?
Maya: I listened to your advice. I used to do one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water and a little bit of lemon. Now, I added the green stuff that you talked about.
Yuri: It’s all about the greens!
Finally, complete this sentence: I know I’m being successful when…
Maya: When I let go and let God.
Yuri: That’s a good one. There we have it, guys and gals. Maya Fiennes, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. Before we finish off, what is the best place for people to follow your work online and maybe even attend one of your retreats?
Maya: My website. Mayafiennes.com.
Yuri: Check it out. She’s up to some great stuff. She’s very uplifting and inspiring, just a ball of energy. And Maya, once again, thanks so much for joining us today.
Maya: Thank you.
I hope you enjoyed that one. I enjoyed having that great conversation with Maya. She’s a bundle of energy and joy, has a great heart, and is doing great things in our world.
If you’ve enjoyed this episode, remember to subscribe to the podcast over on iTunes. Just hit the little purple button that says Subscribe. Second, if you want to leave us a rating or a review, that would be awesome. That helps this podcast get in front of more people.
Let’s be very honest, guys. When you listen to a podcast and the host asks you for a rating or a review, it’s not because it makes them feel good. It’s because the more ratings and reviews a podcast has, the more visibility it gets.
I do appreciate the ratings and reviews, because the more ratings and reviews we have, the more people can see this podcast and listen to it, and ultimately, we can serve more people. I just wanted to be cool and transparent and honest with you about all that.
But, you’re a smart person. You probably knew that already. If you would like our help in getting a breakthrough in your business and want to get to the next level, then let’s grab a time to talk. We offer a Result Accelerator call. It’s 45 minutes long and totally free.
The whole goal of the call is to serve you. It’s not a sales pitch. That’s just not the way we approach business. The specific goal of the call is to help you get clear and focused on what is going to make a difference in your business.
We want to help you attract more clients predictably, convert those clients without feeling salesy, and deliver an amazing result for them on the backend with one-on-one coaching. Thus, you’ll make more income, enjoy more freedom and simplicity in your business, and have a lot more clarity in a world that is littered with overwhelm and a thousand things people say you should be doing.
So, if any of that resonates with you, then grab a spot today over at healthpreneurgroup.com/book, and we would love to chat with you if you meet our criteria that we lay out on that page.
So, that is all for today. Once again, thank you so much for joining me. It’s been a pleasure bringing this to you. Continue to get out there and share your awesomeness. Be great, do great, and I’ll see you in the next episode.
Follow Maya Fiennes At:
Subscribe to the Healthpreneur™ Podcast on iTunes
If you enjoyed this episode, head on over to iTunes and subscribe to Healthpreneur™ Podcast if you haven’t done so already.
While you’re there, leave a rating and review. It really helps us out to reach more people because that is what we’re here to do.