Levitating Monkey: Today I have the pleasure to speak with Vish Iyer, author of Yoga and Love. Vish, In learning more about you, it is as though you’ve lived at least three different lives in this one lifetime. Having worked in real estate, building your acting career, writing your book, Yoga and Love, what motivates you to keep charging forward?
Vish Iyer: I had a spiritual experience when I first came to the states, back in 1996. I came with the intention of doing a PhD in Molecular Genetics. I was in Indiana, being super independent, I made my own money to get here, but I didn’t have much money, nor did I have a scholarship initially. A relative of mine, said, “Just come over, don’t worry about the scholarship. I can cosign a student loan for you. Just study for a few semesters, do well, you’ll get your scholarship.”
I was grateful and took his advice.I then came over with $3K in my pocket. But when I called him to follow up on him cosigning for the student loan, he refused, he wouldn’t explain why. I didn’t want to call my parents at that time, as they’d just tell me to come back home.
My pride couldn’t handle that. I got caught in this conundrum of what to do. It was at that time, I got down on my knees and started praying. Even though I had all this spiritual training growing up, I never took it seriously. They always say, “Unless food is question, you never pray hard enough.” I went to bed hungry for the first time in my life that night. Up until this point, I had this false sense of security about what I was here to do. But here I was at a crossroads, I would pray for hours and hours and I started to get spiritual revelations about my future. Through all this praying, it was revealed to me that I would be spreading spiritual consciousness across the country, as well as bringing higher (Eastern) consciousness to the masses through Hollywood movies.
Up until this point, I considered myself a scientist, I hadn’t thought about art, movies or acting as part of my career path. The following year, I moved to San Diego, knowing that I would be working in Hollywood at some point, plus inspiring people to meditate. I got very serious about meditating while I was in San Diego. Plus, it didn’t hurt that I was living right next door to Paramahansa Yogananda’s Ashram.
My friends helped pay for my Masters Degree. During those five years, my bank account was never over twenty dollars, but I knew that the higher power was preparing me for this role of being a bridge between the east and the west. As I have a background in Yoga, Vedic Sciences, while also studying western sciences, I am a guide to the middle path. That is what motivates me to continue on with the work.
My passion is to solve practical problems. My focus is on relationships, which I believe is the most important mission in our lives and is what motivates me. I coach wealthy people who are very successful in business, but they do not have love in their lives.
Levitating Monkey: Please share with us your mission of reaching 15 million singles in the next two years with your bestselling book,Yoga and Love. Why 15 million?
Vish Iyer: It all started before…as I was working in real estate, made a lot of money, then lost it all. I had also became a software oracle consultant in San Diego, was also speaking at colleges around San Diego about how to use meditation to manifest your heart’s desires.
In 2002, I had an opportunity to find out about how one manifests his or her ideal mate. Yogananda talks about this, it is discussed in the Atharvaveda, as well. I started doing meditation and prayers about this.
The one thing I should mention here is that growing up, my parents always said I could do anything I want, except marry someone who is not a Brahmin. I was raised with that notion that I cannot marry outside of my caste. This always was in the back of my head. To be honest, my mom couldn’t care less, but my dad was so strict, he said he would disown me if I married outside of our Brahmin caste. This wasn’t an issue for me, as I had seen so many healthy marriages where I came from.
But then, I found this technique that I knew if I practiced it sincerely for six months, I would attract my perfect mate. The third month into my practicing of this technique, I was offered a role in a movie. Six months in, I had a powerful spiritual experience on the set which you can read more about in my book, which revealed to me who my soulmate was.
She is not from my lineage, and when I prayed for my perfect mate (people make lists), all I wanted is that she either be someone who was interested in meditation, or would support my meditation practices. That is the only thing that I asked for.
As I was on the movie set, I met the lead female actress. She was Miss India California. Cut a long story short, I went and told her she was the one, she thought I was crazy. Then a month later, she had a spiritual experience that told her I was the one, that I was telling her the truth. We got married a year later, we are in our eleventh year of marriage, and of course, my Dad disowned me.
But to stay focused on your question about my mission, my story then started coming up in the local media here in San Diego, almost twelve years ago. Folks started coming to me, asking me to help them find love. I wasn’t interested in this, as I wanted to bring higher consciousness through my work in movies, not as a local “Love Guru.”
I said no, I know exactly what I want to do. At that time, I got into the real estate business, because I didn’t want to be a struggling actor. I then made fifty million dollars, then lost it all. Over the next two years. I lost precious friendships, as it was my friends who had invested their money, trusting me. There was one friend in particular, he was dying of cancer, who said let’s do this together, he invested millions of his own dollars.
We lost all this money in 2008 and I was responsible for this. Back at this time, I thought it was time for me to move into Hollywood, start doing movies. But my wife told me that I have this power of transformation, she said, “You can change lives, you can really help people, you need to write this book.” I wasn’t convinced.
But then one day in meditation, again, I received a powerful spiritual message, “If losing friends can be so painful, how painful would it be to lose a spouse through divorce, break ups — which is so common?”
With the divorce rates hovering at around 60% in this country. For the first time, I connected this pain with the pain of a failed marriage relationship. As I had it pretty good, I didn’t connect the dots until then. That is when I put my acting career on hold, started writing this book, Yoga and Love that took me about three and a half, four years to complete.
As I wrote the book, my mission was to annihilate divorces. With the techniques I had used and shared with others, to find their soulmates, I knew this was my purpose. It wasn’t even a question.
Now, to answer your question on why the 15 million. It is said that 18% of Americans practice yoga. Out of that 18%, my mission is to particularly heal young women, from the ages of 21 to 45. That is the generation that I am very focused on teaching these meditation practices to so that they are empowered. My hope is to change the next two to three generations.
To break it down further….18% of 330 million is 60 million people who practice yoga. My target audience of 21-45 year old women is about 20 million. I just picked the number of 15 million based on that.
Levitating Monkey: In Yoga and Love, you talk about how we can program the love “feeling” into our physiology before we meet our soulmate. Can you share more about how one does this?
Vish Iyer: Any time you meditate or do any of these spiritual practices (i.e., yoga, meditation, pranayama, visualization, prayer), we feel good by the end of it. We feel good, from a physiological perspective, because there are some “feel-good” hormones like serotonin and dopamine that are being released in the brain and the blood stream. In yoga, we say these feel-good hormones are triggers. Deepak Chopra says, “Whenever you want to make a decision, listen to your body.” Why? Because the body is a database of information. The same way we connect in meditation to the biggest database of it all, the power of our soul.
In the Yoga Sutras, it says, “tatra niratiśayaṁ sarvajña-bījam.” In Sanskrit, what this means is the seed of all-knowing consciousness is already present within us. Through pranayama, through meditation, we can access it.
We take the time period of six months…just as if you wanted to improve your physical body, you’d go see a physical trainer. He or she will tell you it will take at least six months to build muscle, lose fat. In the same way, yoga is a system, a technology, that has been tried and succeeded for over ten thousand years. The system just feeds this intelligence into your consciousness. From consciousness, it translates into a psychological response. For some people they can feel a beautiful feeling in their heart, for others it’s a sound or a smell. The signs are different for different people.
Through these spiritual practices, it is a very personal physiological experience after they practice meditation which tells them biologically that they feel good, and that these are the markers for them to feel good. (i.e., My heart is calm, I can make clear decisions, etc).
That is what happens when people go through this six month practice of working on attracting their ideal mate. You start building on this good feeling over many months. This is the process of getting in tune with yourself, listening to yourself, building a relationship with yourself. You start to strengthen your intuition, your sixth sense, divine intelligence which you have consciously grown. Some folks call it a “gut feeling,” In yoga, we say that you can consciously grow this ability. Your soul knows already, now when you meet that person on the outside, if that same feeling is recreated, you know that divine intelligence is trying to tell you something because you are familiar with that feeling and that is the mechanism.
Levitating Monkey: Can you share how this happened for you personally? How you met your soulmate, Deypika?
Vish Iyer: In my case, it happened in two phases. Let’s just say, I’m a slow learner. I’m a thick head. I need a lot of pounding. Where I come from, we say, “You either learn through wisdom, or pain is always coming.” I’m such a slow learner, I could never learn through wisdom. My way of learning is through pain. It’s just my karma.
Two years prior to my meeting Deypika, back in 2000, I was back home visiting my parents in South Africa, where they had lived for the last twenty-one years. I went to go visit them, from the United States. On my way back, I was in Johannesburg, where I had a one day layover. I wanted to go into town, have a coffee, as my flight wasn’t leaving till later that evening. As I’m walking towards downtown Johannesburg, (I’ve been to Johannesburg before, I know the city pretty well), my whole body was vibrating, I heard my inner voice saying, “Don’t go!” (This was in the morning, as I was waiting for my cab).
Then I turned around, going towards the airport, thinking “maybe this isn’t right,” the feeling went away. Then I turned around again, thinking “what am I going to do at the airport for the next nine or ten hours, let me just go out.” The feeling came back, “Don’t go, Don’t go!” I completely ignored it.
As I’m sitting in the cab, we’re driving towards downtown, another car cut our car off, dangerously close. There was a sticker on another car that said, “Go Back.” Again, I was laughing, talking to God, saying, “If something happens, you will take care of me.” Then I went downtown, was sipping my coffee, as I was jumped by ten guys with knives, in a mall, in front of all these people. Somehow, I made it ok. That day, I vowed to myself, if I ever received another intuitive experience like this, I was going to listen to it, because I don’t want to get killed.
Almost a year and a half later, when I had this spiritual experience, (third month into my six month practice, when I received the opportunity to be in the movie), I knew I was going to meet my soulmate. Six months into the practice, as I was on the movie set in San Diego, on a hot August day, I had this incredibly beautiful, amazing feeling in my heart. The same intensity of feeling which I had had in a negative way in Johannesburg the year before, I had now in a positive way. The intensity was so great, my heart exploded into this beautiful feeling. A feeling of joy and peace came over me. As I turn around, there was this beautiful girl standing right behind me. As she walked away, the feeling went away. I didn’t put it together at that point.
That night, during my meditation, the download happened. The download was that she is the one I’d been looking for. My first reaction was to think, “Does she even meditate?” The next day, on the set, whenever I was around her, I could recreate that same beautiful feeling. I knew then, that’s it, she’s the one.
The next challenge was to convince her that she was the one. My story happened that way, with a strong emphasis on the heart and the heart chakra, what we call the Anahata chakra. The chakra known to be the center of the universe, the center of intuition.
Levitating Monkey: Any tips on how we move past the fear and past hurts to attract love into our lives?
Vish Iyer: Over the years, I’ve put together a system on how to attract your soulmate through yoga (meditation, pranayama, hatha, etc). What I’ve found is that there are seven major blocks to finding love. Out of the seven, three are inner blocks, which are the biggest blocks, then there are four outer blocks, which I call lifestyle blocks.
Of the three inner blocks, the first one is baggage, emotional pain from past relationships. That is the number one block to finding love. Now, we can get to the neurochemistry of it, any time there is a trauma (i.e., painful breakups, divorces), we know that there is a lock that forms on our reptilian brain (the amygdala). This is the part of the brain that processes all of our emotions and emotional events. Because of that lock, it takes a long time to heal.
So you could find the love of your life, after going through a trauma like those just mentioned, but you wouldn’t recognize him or her because of the lock on the amygdala. If you stimulate the amygdala, it brings up fear, the fight or flight response. Even though, let’s assume you find the love of your life, after going through a painful breakup, if something gets challenging (which happens in any relationship), rather than working through it, you get into this fight or flight mode.
It is important to remember that every relationship has its challenges. That’s the whole point, you work through everything, so long as it’s more good than bad. These challenges are nothing more than a reflection of the challenges going on within your own consciousness. The other person is just a mirror that is helping you to improve and grow spiritually and it’s painful sometimes.
Now the goal is to remove the lock, that fight or flight response. If you’ve not worked on yourself (I’ll get to the tools you need to remove these blocks), then these blocks will give you incorrect perception. It could be a great relationship, with a minor challenge, but you’ll look to run away, because there is blood flow going towards the amygdala.
My program is powerful because I’m attacking the core of the problem.Through these spiritual practices, you can remove these blocks, get over these past hurts and move blood flow away from the amygdala. Move away from painful memories of past emotional hurts. A lot of cool things happen when you are doing meditation and these other spiritual practices. If you move blood flow away from the amygdala, you can still bring up these past emotional events, but not be affected by it. We can prove this through EEG waves. We know what waves come up when one feels good, so you can objectively look at your past and see if there’s anything you can learn. As the great masters of yoga say, don’t worry about your past hurts, see what you can learn from them. For that you need to be emotionally detached from it, you can’t be playing the victim game. It’s a complex mechanism.
Levitating Monkey: You’ve said that the law of attraction is always working behind the scenes. That it responds directly to your emotional state, not your wants. So a happy person will attract happiness. How do we ensure we’re in the right emotional state to attract what we truly want?
Vish Iyer: It’s just like how we keep a check on the body being clean. We keep the body clean by taking a shower every day. There’s a constant attack of bacteria on our bodies. We combat this by taking a shower in the am, if we work out, we take another shower after that. The same way, the mind is also a body…there’s a constant attack of “mind bacteria” – anxiety, anger, stress, desires, despondency, fear, past hurt. These are mental bacteria which create havoc inside your consciousness and emotional state. Those need calibrating as well, every day.
That is why you do these spiritual practices of yoga, meditation — as these are “mental showers.” Just as people are attracted to people who have taken a shower, as they are fragrant, they smell good. Similarly, folks want to be around saints and yogis, because they are mentally free. The more you meditate, the more you take a dip inside, this mental shower, that is how you keep and ensure the right emotional state. It’s a constant need, that is a powerful habit we need to cultivate.
Levitating Monkey: Yoga and Love just got approved to be part of the curriculum for California Marriage therapists and counselors. What are some of the basic principles that are being incorporated?
Vish Iyer: One of my friends is a counselor and has been one for the last thirty-five years. He read the book, and then submitted it. Now people who are studying to become therapists and counselors out here in California are reading, Yoga and Love and then are tested on the material in the book.
Levitating Monkey: As if you were’t busy enough…Congratulations on recently completing your first feature film, Tommy Friedman’s, Neshima, the action fantasy epic. Can you share more about the role, the storyline and when the film is slated to come out?
Vish Iyer: The premier is actually at the end of this month, on August 29th. We’ve all been waiting for it. Just as things have a way of aligning themselves in the universe, it so happened that as I finished writing the book, I was given the opportunity to work on this film.
It’s my first lead romantic role. I play a warrior, a bodyguard of this king and queen. Then my character falls in love with the princess. It’s a bit reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. I had to train a lot, focusing on kung fu and sword fighting for four months. The movie was filmed in southern California and is now getting ready to be released.
The storyline has a bit of the Mahabharata in it, it’s an epic fantasy action adventure. It’s an independent feature, we’re still looking for a distributor for a bigger release.
Levitating Monkey: You’ve been known to say, “Always have goals that scare you.” Why is that important?
Vish Iyer: It comes back to the beginning of our talk. You want to go outside of your comfort zone. The reason we stay in our comfort zone is because of fear. We know that the greatest achievers in this world are fearless and courageous. They feel fear, but they get over it.
You need to take on something big, it needs to scare you a little, so you can do something so big that it does justice to your spiritual consciousness. We are spiritual beings playing a very small part as human beings right now. We have a dependence on: food, on money, on another person…yet we know from yoga and all the great teachings of India, that we are infinite consciousness.
Even Christ himself said, “Know ye not, the temple of God dwelleth in you. You can do better things than even me. If you ask the mountain to get into the water, it shall be done.”
That is the reason these spiritual scriptures have lasted this long, because they appeal to the divine potential inside all of us. This divine potential is grand, it cannot be locked into this little nine to five job. So when you’re scared, you’re playing really small. Remove that, play big, you’ll do justice to your true nature. Always go for BIG. You may fail, but you’ll hit something and continue to grow.
This moment is the only reality. The past is past. I will learn from my mistakes, but I won’t dwell on it. Life is fragile, anyone can transition any minute. Big goals keep you on track. Do something for humanity. No place for small!
Levitating Monkey: Last Question — If you could impart three key life lessons to others on their (spiritual) path, what would they be and why?
1) Don’t take anything that happens to you too seriously. Very important.
2) Serve others. If you’re the driver of who you are, your passion is service to humanity, you will always succeed. Not necessarily in the world’s eyes, but in your own eyes.
3) Believe in the higher power, have faith in the higher power. Know that as there is creation, there is a Creator.
About Vish Iyer: Often described, as a maverick, unconventional rebel Yogi, speaker, author, actor, workout junkie, coach and entrepreneur; Vish is a rare cocktail of spirituality, science and entrepreneur all rolled into one. By example of his own 30 year meditation practice, coupled with, being born into a Brahmin family lineage of several generations of Vedic Yoga scholars & masters in Southern India, Vish is a die hard believer that solutions to all human problems (including finding romantic love) lie in Yoga meditation and Yoga lifestyle. To find out more, visit Vish’s website.