We had the good fortune of connecting with Evan Soroka and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Evan, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
One of the seminal texts of Yoga is the Bhagavad Gita. The story is about a warrior, Arjuna, on his way to an epic battle. He is scared and reticent to fight the fight against brother and neighbor. He does not want the responsibility. Krishna, a human form of the universe, reveals himself to Arjuna, ultimately reminding him of his purpose: to be the warrior. We are all warriors in one way or another. That is what taking risk means. Doing something that you desire to fulfill your purpose and to live a life of meaning. It is to make a decision without knowing the end result and being comfortable in the unknown. Krisha tells Arjuna, “You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, as a person established within the self, without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind.” This is the meaning of risk and life’s work. Do the work for the love of it. Do not be attached to the rewards of your efforts. Be open to the possibility of things changing and becoming something other than your intended. But have a vision, have a dream, take risks, try. It is sometimes more comfortable to remain in the discomfort of what is familiar than to jump into the unknown. Risk is jumping, consciously, willfully open to anything other than what you know to be true. For me, as a yoga teacher and therapist, there is no certainty. No 401k, no 9-5 job, or paid vacations. Everything you want, you have to self-create. I ran a yoga studio for a decade which provided me with financial security. Still, I would go home every day with my heart heavy, tired of catering to undedicated clients and fulfilling someone else’s dream. The discomfort became too much to bear, and I lept without a safety net. Here I am nearly three years later. Was it comfortable? Hell no. Have I worked harder than I have ever in my life? YES. Am I where I want to be yet? Not quite, but closer. Am I happier than ever before? Absolutely.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a certified yoga therapist specializing in diabetes and chronic conditions. I am the author of Yoga Therapy for Diabetes and founder of Soroka Yoga Therapy in Aspen, Colorado. What uniquely sets me apart from others is my life story. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at thirteen and disc degeneration in my early twenties. I was heading down a path, wrought with anxiety and self-deprecation, lashing out at others and myself. I was deeply uncomfortable in my body and consumed by negative thoughts. So much of diabetes is about control, controlling your numbers, controlling your behaviors, but when there is no pleasure in taking care of yourself, your willpower is the first thing to go. There has to be a way to release the tension. I was lucky to have found yoga shortly after diagnosis with diabetes, a notoriously awkward time for many, myself included. My relationship with yoga evolved with physical pain as I was no longer able to rely upon a strong physical practice to achieve a feeling of calm. I encountered a new way of training, understanding biomechanics, functional movement, and sourcing deeper from yoga’s “subtle practices” like breathwork, meditation, and yoga nidra. Managing a persistent autoimmune condition and chronic pain requires fortitude and self-compassion. Yoga is my life-raft; it is how to navigate the physical and mental challenges while simultaneously rising to my calling, empowering others to be autonomous in their self-care. It is important to me, more than anything, to teach people that they can help themselves and show them how. It is not without effort and dedication, but when people can recognize the difference in how they feel when they practice versus when they don’t, the determination overrides all doubt and excuses over time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am an Aspen local. So naturally, I like to stay on the periphery, away from the crowds, where the “real” Aspen abides. It depends on the time of year, but let’s say it’s August, and it’s been a wet summer. I would like my friend up somewhere secret to search for porcini mushrooms. Maybe hit a trail along the way. I would probably bring our fly fishing rods, make it up to an alpine lake, catch a brook or cutthroat trout, and then let it go. We’d sell our mushroom stash for $1000 bucks at the local restaurant. I’d take her with the earnings to Bosque, a fabulous, local restaurant owned by my friends Barkley and Molly. We would spoil ourselves silly. Let’s say Covid is gone. Then, we’d likely head to the music tent to sit outside with some apps and mingle in the alpenglow.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shenna Jean founder of Make One Day Happen
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