You are a Yogi, Surfer, Blissologist and Ocean Worshipper (a man after my own heart!!), have you always been on this path or was there a particular turning point?
I think I have always been on this path. I knew early in life that I wanted to “follow my bliss” but I did have a boarding school upbringing that in theory is about grooming young minds for success in the workplace. It wasn’t ever going to be a big “resume padder” but I set out on a mission as a teenager to be a professor of the philosophy of love. The “ocean worshipper has always been part of me. I also knew my bliss was to spend as much time in the water as possible; Even my surname “Finn” is named after fish anatomy. There were a few years in my mid-twenties when I strayed from the bliss path and started chasing dollars. Luckily, I got off of this track fairly quickly. It was mostly because I had created a lifestyle where I was doing incredible finically but was too busy to get to know my neighbors. I realized this was not the path to connection that I knew I wanted to share so I got back on my bliss path and helping us all live a life where we create more love, awe and connection for ourselves and others in our short time on the planet.
Everyone is drawn to yoga for different reasons, what bought you to yoga and what keeps holding your attention?
What drew me to yoga initially was the philosophy. As a philosophy major in the late 80’s, I fell in love with the yogic idea that spirituality didn’t have to be in a church or have anyone like a priest interpret “spiritual” experiences for us. To yogis, the soul ultimately is a transcendent energy beyond personality and yoga is a system to teach people how to have that first person experience.
What’s evolved since then is that I feel like I am still on this exploration, but am more confident in bringing spirituality literally “down to earth.” Our churches are the forest, mountains, oceans and the starry skies. I don’t know for sure if we have a soul, or even purusha (pure consciousness), or if there is a God. I do know that when we allow ourselves to be fully present in Nature, we feel small and humble. This allows feelings gratitude, joy, reverence and connection to be part of our psychological makeup. We will leave a more positive legacy the deeper that this connection is.
These are the spiritual/philosophical reasons why I was drawn to yoga. On the physical side, I am trying to create awareness that flexibility is only part of the goal of hatha yoga. I am interested in movement of all types; softness and suppleness as well as strong and powerful movements; fast twitch and slow twitch muscles activation; moving fluidly from the energy body in watery movements like a tai chi master and the ability to resist gravity in an inversion with a heavy earth element. In Blissology Yoga our path is practicing in a way that encompasses all of this physically!
I love the idea of Blissology Yoga!! Can you please tell us more about this?
Now we have really insightful ways of looking at yoga alignment to help the body function for years to come. In addition to a huge focus on energetic, soft and fluid movements which is beautiful.
Ultimately, the philosophy is what it is all about though. The idea is that there is a place inside of us that is very loving and realizes that in a profound way we are intimately connected to all life. In Blissology Yoga, we are continuously mining for that place. In our physical yoga practice we try and balance out this nurturing side of ourselves with the more driven side of ourselves, aka the ego. Every yoga pose is a balance between these two polarities. The ideal balance is struck when we know how to motivate ourselves and work hard but know when to back up and nurture ourselves.
The next steps are to realize that the balancing of both these two sides of ourselves in our yoga practice is the same balance required in all of relationships with our close friends and family, our communities, our jobs and how we treat nature. It’s the same pattern magnified. The Blissology symbol is all about this dynamic!
Really I look at Blissology as a social movement more than a system of yoga asana. Whether it be in tree pose or walking out in the trees, Blissology is about listening for the wisdom inside of all of us and letting it guide us towards a path that is kind and sustainable.
Your Life Mission statement is:
“To stay in touch with the deep vibration of Love so that I can be a conduit for it in all I do in life. I want to inspire people to be continuously lit up by this mysterious but powerful force. One of the best ways is to get out in nature and let its beauty fuel you.”
You inspire so many people around the world, what inspires you? How do you stay motivated to keep living these words?
I get out there. I am in nature all the time. This dissolves the ego and opens us up to a consciousness of reverence for life and a profound appreciation of the beautiful. I try and practice stillness often just as the yogis taught opens us up to the message of the heart. Trying to find love is like trying to bite your own teeth. You can’t chase the thing you are made of. What we can do is relax our bodies and minds like in savasana at the end of a yoga class and release that when stress and tension leave the body, the mind is more poem to this deep wisdom of our heart.
Then when I am teaching I repeat this mantra often before class: “nothing to prove, everything to share!” I am just sharing the message of my heart and my passions even if it outside the “yoga box.” The less I care about how people will receive this offering or look around comparatively at what other teachers are doing and get fuelled by the power of what my wisdom I am trying to be a conduit for, the more powerful the classes are. The catch is you can never take credit because you are channeling love and that is something you didn’t create but you can only let flow through you. The good side of this is that you can’t fail either. There is no need to feel vulnerable because it isn’t really you doing anything. You are just a conduit. It’s beautiful!
How important is clean, nutrient rich food in your diet?
Diet is very important. I wrote about this in the Blissology Project, but I believe in what we call “high-prana food.” My food philosophy is what I call the “party like it’s 1899 diet!” In 1899 we didn’t have chemicals or pesticides on an apple. We just had apples and didn’t need such a thing as “organic apples.” If there are no chemicals between me and my food and animals are treated with reverence, it’s good for me.
I feel like we are so extreme as a culture, we are either vegan or paleo. I try and strike a balance between the two. I eat a lot of vegetarian food (not vegan as for my personal body type milk and yogurt are a straight up “superfoods”) but I am not 100% vegan. I probably eat meat 3 or 4 times per week and I pray to the animal before eating it always. The rest of my diet is mostly made of very green and tasty plant based foods… Including my fave, dark chocolate!
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your health journey?
My wife, Insiya is the biggest influence in my health journey. She’s s genius when it comes to creative, healthy and super tasty food. Every meal is a ritual and a celebration of the abundance of the earth and our connection to it. I have learned so much about the joy of cooking and food preparation and feel if there is one thing that has to change in our relationship to health is more people have to enjoy cooking as a sensual (not robotic or analytical) pursuit. She is from India where food is still something that binds mothers, daughters and families. When food becomes quick and easy and we stop taking pleasure in preparing meals, we loose connection to not just our health but to our culture!
What is your advice to people who are thinking of starting yoga?
There are three key things to balance out:
1) spiritual content: “Chanty, chanty” vs only physical “om-free” yoga – what do you require to be comfortable today in this area?
2) fitness level: most classes draw from fairly similar poses but the tempo and the amount of physically challenging poses in the mix varies considerably.
3) Detail work vs flow classes: Classes that are heavy on detail work are very precise and work on building a foundation but involve a lot of stop and starting and a slower tempo. This means there is less of a workout. On the other end, if you only get the yoga workout in you are higher risk of injury. The catch is a lot of people need to “get hooked” with the workout side and they will be interested in the detail work.
As well, beginners must know that there are so many different syles of yoga. Even more than a yoga style, sometimes the way a teacher teaches and resonates with your needs is even more key. Try a few but ask these questions first.
You can catch Eoin at the upcoming Wanderlust Festival (Auckland March 23 and Sydney March 30). If you haven’t heard of Wanderlust you need to investigate asap!!! This event is like no other and I cant wait to take my trusted lulu mat out on an all-day health fest filled with yoga (taught by numerous teachers), music, healthy food, meditation, talks from leading figures in the health world and a whole lot of love!!!
Tickets to the event are available via www.syd.wanderlustfestival.com/tickets