We had the good fortune of connecting with Mona Lisa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mona, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Short Answer: I wanted to create a space where creators can commune, support and uplift one another while offering their gifts without competition.
Long Answer: I was in the military for almost 10 years before discovering yoga. During this time, I’d grown accustomed to a certain level of camaraderie, connection and community, all of which I expected to experience within the “yoga world”. It wasn’t long after my first yoga teacher training that I quickly realized the reality. In the west, yoga “communities” are often centered around yoga studios. These yoga studios are predominantly owned by affluent white people. This inherently and almost immediately made belonging to a yoga community an exclusive privilege. One that I wasn’t even privy to until I had experienced so much spiritual bypassing and gaslighting that my body got physically ill and I had to sit down and reflect.
I believed I had to start my own business because I found myself continuously searching for something that didn’t exist; A community of like-minded individuals whose mission is to provide accessible opportunities for people to heal without competition or clout. Dunia Dharma was born out of my desire to commune in an authentic way while honoring the true purpose of our life’s work.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What sets Dunia Dharma apart from other businesses is that we operate as a collective community that puts a focus on people before profit. We proudly showcase the things we do best at the accessible rates we choose without anyone feeling undercut because our ultimate goal is to provide wellness services that resonate with our communities. Because we all come from unique backgrounds, each of us has something unique to offer so we don’t ever feel in competition with one another.
I credit my military background to half of business savvy. Spending ten years in the Marine Corps will teach you a LOT about cooperation, intention and mission accomplishment. The other half has been from the summation of lessons learned over the past 30 years.
Honestly, the hardest part was getting out of my own way. For years, friends and family have suggested, nudged and pushed me in this direction and I always responded with my long-term goal; a wellness center on hundreds of acres that literally provides all wellness needs for mind, body and soul. Eventually, I realized that I have to start SOMEWHERE and given the current times, the “where” happens to be web-based.
I’ve learned that everyone doesn’t share my vision of collective, collaborative healing and that’s ok. Each of us play a vital role in the play of life. I just want people to know that are offerings are authentic, our intentions are well-placed and our hearts are open. As long as you are living your dharma (life’s purpose) you are invited to collaborate with us. For healing, ALL are welcome.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m lucky to live right at the base of South Table Mountain, so we’d start each day with morning hike up the table to my favorite sitting spot with views of Denver and Golden. Most meals would be home cooked, but we’d HAVE to eat at Watercourse, City O City, So Radish and Bang up to the Elephant throughout the week. We’ll go to Ace’s so I can show off my ping pong skills (or lack thereof) and we’ll walk down memory lane at 1up because the only thing better than Mortal Kombat and Ms. Pac-Man, is full bar Mortal Kombat and Ms. Pac-Man. On Sunday, we’ll go to Whittier Cafe for the ceremonial Ethiopian coffee and lovely company and check out the Museum of Natural History to explore the latest exhibits. Most of my friends to share my love of yoga, but I’d do my best to convince my girl to take at least one class at Urban Sanctuary. Just being in that space calms the soul.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My partner, Darryl, encouraged me to take my first teacher training, allowed me to experiment on him as a new teacher and has invested his own time, energy and money into my dreams. The story of Dunia Dharma could not be told without speaking of the physical and energetic support Darryl provided.
Darryl Rosencrants, Jessica Miller, Rebekah Adams