We had the good fortune of connecting with Eben Oroz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eben, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balance is the golden rule. I do my best, but I love my work so much that I, very often, find myself far out of balance. It’s easy to devote everything to something you really believe in. But, still, balance matters, and I’ve felt the consequence of imbalance in many ways. Still, I rationalize it by changing how I think of time. Instead of thinking in hours, days, or weeks, I’ll think in terms of months, years, and decades. I’ve got a couple of decades left in me to really push this strangely powerful dream forward, before I slow down and heed life’s other rhythms.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Always being interested in the mind, I went to grad school for clinical psychology and chose to intern at an inpatient eating disorder facility. I was in charge of introducing a mindfulness program. I learned the depths of mental suffering, there. And, even more profoundly, I learned that I was suffering. The women in this rehab center showed me all people suffer. It was a life-changing realization. My entire career centers around unrooting that thorn of hidden stress. Yoga proved to be the most exciting, creative, and adventurous solution to that question. So, I went to India. Did the hermit thing, practiced, studied, learned, and experienced. Now, I see myself as a guide up this internal mountain of inner peace and perrenial wisdom. To have that role in peoples’ lives is a real honor and I take it very seriously, But, that’s one challenge of being a meditation teacher. Everyone expects you to be like Jesus or Buddha all the time. There is a sense of hypocrisy that can build up for me. Like, I am not this enlightened guy. I’m in the process, as all of us are. But, you hold this role for students that trust you with their time and journey. The whole thing is a reminder, that I am also only a student, as well. I’m most proud of connecting people to something they didn’t know existed. Something so fulfilling and meaningful, something so close and so enriching. It’s like seeing someone’s face light up when the giant birthday cake comes out. To be the person that pointed the way to that real magic, there’s no better use of my life than that. Besides the marketing stuff; write blogs, handle the social media giant, make YouTube videos, and design merchandise… What I really do is take people to retreats, teach tons of online classes and private individuals with the goal of making them comfortable enough with yoga to do the hermit thing on their own. “Go get an Airbnb. Go practice all day for a week. It will do something,” I say all the time. I’m really trying to merge ancient wisdom (its real) with modern relevance. The world is moving faster and faster, not all fot the best. We as individuals are looking for something to balance out the inevitable. Yoga and meditation are very promising solutions to that. So, I like where the brand is going. I think we all need a reminder to remember our past and the higher purpose of learning of ourselves. I want my brand to do that with just a flash of its logo.
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 love food so let’s start with that: For breakfast, we’d get some doughnuts. Kettel Glazed is my local spot, just a block from my house in Franklin Village. An unassuming place with seriously delicious breakfast goodness and a perfect dirty chai latté. Ajisai for amazing sushi in West Hollywood! Small place with a Japanese meets jazz vibe. Dinner, I love Thai town. There’s a spot called Sanamluang Cafe Hollywood. It’s like Bangkok in the city. If I’m downtown I always make it to Pikunico for the best crunchy Japanese fried chicken sandwich. For yoga, I’d have to visit ROAM YOGA in Silverlake. Veda Yoga in Culver City, Light on Lotus in Mar Vista. These are gems in their areas. Just Float is a sensory deprivation spot in Pasadena. Everyone should try it out once. Such an interesting experience and a great way to relax. Then, we’d go to the Culver City stairs at night and get a glimpse of the city. Last day, we’d head to Santa Monica Beach at sunrise. Do some breathing exercises and watch the beach wake up. We’d jump into the water and swim past the break, cold and alive! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s so much to learn about being an entrepreneur. You’ve gotta be a student all the time and talk to people about this side and that side of the game. It’s chess. It’s alive. You’ve gotta adapt and learn very quickly. You’ve also gotta learn how to let go of what doesn’t work and ride the ups and downs as gracefully as possible. First and foremost, all the friends and family that cared enough to listen to me talk about this or that. That display of interest is so supportive. I’d have to thank all the meditation apps like Headspace, Insight Timer, and Calm for trailblazing and providing an example for a new generation of meditation teachers. Also, all the ancient teachers in their ashrams and caves for providing the very foundation. Now, the two books I would recommend 1000% for a healthy business mindset are Traction by Weinberg and Mare. Also, In the Love with the World by Mingyur Rinpoche. One deals with marketing strategies, the other is about an esteemed Tibetan monk who wandered Asia homelessly for four years.