Bahar Tabatabai, Yogi & Wellness Entrepreneur

bahar tabatabai interview

Over the course of switching her career path four times, what always remained constant for Bahar was her yoga practice. Under her nose all the while, Bahar courageously made a commitment to pursue a career in yoga and wellness full-time. Launching Vikasa Wellness this year, Bahar is on her way to building a wellness brand to give back to the world the inner alignment that it gave her. Let's get to know her better...

Tell us about your journey becoming interested in health and wellness.
“I have yoga to thank for sparking my interest in health and wellness. I was never an athletic kid growing up, although I did play a myriad of sports. I was a cheerleader during the at home DVD workout days, and one day, I came home to find two yoga and pilates DVDs. While I was a team player, I was never the kid who worked out on her own and I generally was at the end of the sprinting line. Yet, for some reason, these new “trendy” exercises spoke to me. I soon found myself in a routine of working out to these two DVDs almost daily.

I grew up in the small town of Hershey, PA, where yoga studios did not exist. However, when I would visit family in LA, I was thrilled to find yoga was a budding industry. When my LA friends took me to different studios, I knew it was something I was going to do forever. At the time, it was the only workout I was excited to do. It was the physical results that initially drew me in, but it was the peace I felt after a class that kept me coming back to my mat. During college, I attended the yoga classes at the gym, and any time I visited family in LA, you know I was attending all of the yoga classes that I could with the more advanced teachers.

When I moved to LA after college, a friend took me to my first hot yoga class at Core Power, and I was hooked. I began to immerse myself more into the meditative aspects of yoga and paid more attention to the teacher’s spiritual commentary. During the next few years of my professional life, I went through a lot of ups and downs – I changed my career four times and found myself in a quarter life crisis/return of Saturn, or whatever you want to call it. The one thing that stayed constant? Yoga. No matter what, I always found my way to my mat. At some point, I began meditating every morning, which took my practice to a whole new level. I now connected with the practice on a mental and emotional level. It wasn’t just about how I looked - it was about how I felt. During probably the lowest part of my adult life, I finally decided to become a yoga teacher. And it was teacher training that opened up my heart and soul to all the spiritual goodness that comes with yoga.

It's been over a year now since I began my teaching journey, and it’s one I’m so thrilled to be on for the rest of my life. This is when I really began looking at how to better take of my physical body, so it’s the most optimal machine for my mental, emotional and spiritual body. Wellness isn’t just about what you eat or how much you exercise – it’s about how you take care of your thoughts and your emotions. It’s how you talk to and treat yourself. The way you do this will ultimately affect how you treat others. This is the part that speaks the most to me, but all the aspects need to be in synch in order to truly live a well-balanced and happy life.

bahar tabatabai interview

In December of 2018, I launched a wellness business, Vikasa Wellness, offering yoga, meditation, reiki healing, chakra reading and wellness workshops for individuals, groups, businesses and events. Vikasa means “expanding, evolving, blossoming” in sanskrit. My full name, Golebahar, means “spring flower.” These practices have and continue to show me how to blossom into my fullest potential, so my mission is to teach my clients how to find their inner bloom. It’s the most challenging and exciting decision I’ve ever made, and I know it’s the right one, because I feel more aligned than I have ever. I can’t wait to see where Vikasa is a year from now

Why did you become a yoga instructor and what do you love most about the practice?
I've been practicing for over 10 years, but it took me 9 years to make the jump into teaching. I had been toying with the idea for a couple years, but I “never had time.” It took hitting a real low and being unemployed to say “okay, now I have the time to do teacher training.” I needed something to pull me out of my slump, and I had heard from so many fellow yogis how teacher training was the most transformative experience they had ever had. So, I did it. And now, a year later, it feels like where I’ve always belonged.

One major reason I love this practice is that you must be a practitioner in order to be a true teacher. Every day when I step on my mat, I learn something new about my own practice, and that’s one of the aspects I love the most about it; you’re never done learning. You’re always growing. There is no perfect. There is only practice.

Yoga truly saved me from myself and also helped me find myself. I’ve never ever regretted a yoga class. Ever. Even the ones that I leave feeling angry or sad, I don’t regret, because I know those are emotions that needed to come up. I want to share that with others. I want others to dig deep inside themselves and to feel empowered to be themselves. That’s why I teach.

What do you love most about your job?
I get to wake up every day and do something that makes me, my community, and the world a better place. I get to say I love what I do. 

bahar tabatabai interview

How do your values align with your career path?
I'm passionate about creating a community where everyone is serving their highest good. I value a career in which I feel freedom and joy, and where I am able to truly help people. The wellness community is exactly the above, and by creating my own business (along with my darling friend), we have the freedom to run a business and the joy to be sharing something we are both so passionate about. I haven’t touched much on Reiki but it’s a healing energy that’s been around since the beginning of time. As a Reiki practitioner, I’m able to offer an alternative healing method to our clients, focusing on aligning their chakras (energy centers) in order to heal emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wounds.

How do you define success?
Success is doing what you love and creating a rich life by doing so. A rich life means whatever it means to you. – it can be a one room shack on the beaches of Bali or a mansion in Beverly Hills. As long as you feel happy and free, you are successful.

What's next for you?
Continuing to build Align&Flow’s presence throughout Southern CA, and eventually nationally and internationally, through a mobile business model. Eventually, we’ll build a brick and mortar establishment in LA that’ll be a home base for our community. We’ll continue to share our message outside our beloved home city, through retreats, festivals, you name it. The opportunities are endless!

How do you define success?
Success is doing what you love and creating a rich life by doing so. A rich life means whatever it means to you. – it can be a one room shack on the beaches of Bali or a mansion in Beverly Hills. As long as you feel happy and free, you are successful.

Where do you find inspiration?
(1) My community - fellow yogis, healers, my friends, family - they are constantly teaching me new lessons and showing me new perspectives. (2) Reading books - about yoga, self-help, biographies of people I admire, poetry. (3) Music - this is a huge part of my life. It’s as important to me as yoga. Music is a universal language that touches our emotional being while also moving our physical bodies. (4) The universal source - whatever you want to call it, the energy that created us all, that exists in all of us. There’s a great piece of street art by WRDSMTH on a building off of Sunset Blvd. that says “Aspire to inspire others and the universe will take note.” This inspires me to inspire others and I am inspired by others who do the same. It’s a beautiful energy exchange that never ends. All these things make me smile. 

Are there any life philosophies you abide by?
Oh man, so many – I love quotes and inspirational pieces of work! I’ll pick just one…The absolute greatest speech I’ve ever heard is Steve Jobs’ commencement speech to the Stanford Class of 2005. I listen to it once a month, at least. It’s only 15 minutes long, yet he says so much. I’ll pull this one message from it – he talks about how every morning he would ask himself “if today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what about I’m about to do? And if the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to make a change.” I remember waking up the day I quit my last job asking myself this question and saying no for one too many times. That’s when I ripped the band-aid off and that’s why I am here now, doing what I love :) 

#1: Chapstick - probably the one thing that’s never left my purse since the first day I owned a purse. I’m not much of a lip gloss or lipstick gal – I’ll take moisture over color any day. #2: A stone or crystal - depending on my mood, where I’m going, or who I’m seeing, I’ll grab a stone or crystal to keep my energy in check. For instance, if I’m feeling particularly anxious, I’ll take my amethyst to calm my nerves J It’s a tie for #3: Sunnies -  because I fucking love my sunglasses collection and we live in sunny LA (but only in my daytime bag) and a mini hairbrush – because, long hair."

Connect with Bahar: @VIKASA_WELLNESS


January 28, 2019

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