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Meet Yashoda Devi Ma of The Subtle Mind

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yashoda Devi Ma.

Yashoda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Sixteen years ago I was living in Los Angeles working in the fitness industry. Wellness & transformation have always been my deepest passion and I’d had a deep curiosity to spirituality/religion. The story and mythos of the hero always drew me, and I wanted to understand the power of the mind, so I studied psychology and western literature in university.

In my teens and 20s, I suffered from depression, suicidal thinking, and grief from having been an adoptee that silently ailed me. By the time I turned 25, I’d hit a wall in life with my destructive thinking patterns; I could not ignore the deep despair within me any longer. This was my first awakening. So I began seeking.

For years prior, I was a seemingly healthy person—from the outside. I was extremely physically fit, rarely ever got sick, ate very well (organic always), took supplements (no medication), was holistic, hiked, did yoga asana, kundalini yoga, went to church every Sunday, did psychotherapy, read self-help books, went to workshops and seminars, traveled, was attractive, intelligent. Yet I had insomnia with no more than 3 hours of sleep per night, felt miserable, suppressed, unhappy, frustrated, angry with life and didn’t want anyone to know. And in turn, I felt like a fraud in the health & fitness industry.

I looked amazing on the outside but was a nightmare on the inside. Fortunately, a string of seemingly irrelevant events in combination with taking personal responsibility for my happiness & mind health led me to learning Vedic Meditation. I was skeptical. But when the teacher told us that within 5-7 years we could unwind all our accumulated stresses within the physiology, I thought ‘Game on. I will commit to this for one year and will call your bluff publicly if it doesn’t work.’ But the practice began to work immediately in the first week of the 4-day course. For the first time in years, I was sleeping six hours a night. So I continued to show up—skepticism and all.

Twice a day, everyday I showed up—even if I didn’t want to, or didn’t think it was working in moments. At last, my iron-will and warrior mindset from my training as a competitive athlete were paying off for my inner wellness, not just my outer appearance. I chose to never give up on myself, create my own inner happiness, and live the life I knew I was meant to live.

In that first year of meditating my depression and suicidal thinking began lifting. I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In those beginning years, I moved through my grief of adoption, dissolved my depression & suicidal thinking, and let go of lack mentality, fear, & so many of my stories that blocked me from love and living life fully.

I revolutionized my entire life through the practice. And it launched me forward simply because I showed up. I learned every advanced technique, all advanced knowledge courses, learned about the mind/body connection, voyaged to India, and lived with my Guru for seven years. I dove deep. I traveled the world sitting in hundreds of lectures, organizing retreats, courses, observing the nature of the development of an individual, as well as a spiritual community. Through time, I reinvented myself through dedication and devotion to my practice. Experiencing such profound personal inner healing, I knew I wanted to become a teacher and offer this to those who were suffering and willing to leap into the unknown.

I look back with the deepest gratitude that I said “Yes” to something I had no idea about, that I walked through fear, and showed up when I didn’t feel like it. Prior to becoming a teacher I was a stay-at-home mom raising my son & four teenage stepchildren. I became a teacher of Vedic Meditation & Sattva Yoga (a Himalayan Tantric Tradition) more than five years ago. By the time I launched into my path of teaching Vedic Meditation, I had also freshly emerged into the world as a single mother.

My son and I came to Boulder with next-to-nothing four-and-a-half years ago. I knew a total of three people in the state. I began teaching out of my house and renting spaces around town to teach what I loved. It was a fresh start to absolutely everything for me.

And then a year-and-a-half ago, as I walked out of my favorite coffee shop Boxcar/Cured on Pearl Street, I spotted a small white sign next-door that said “SPACE FOR LEASE.” The space called me. There was curiosity there. And it was funny because I definitely wasn’t looking for a space, nor did I desire the overhead. But I followed the charm because as I teach: “Nature always knows best how to organize.”

The space fell into my lap right before leaving on a month-long India retreat. Five weeks prior to opening the doors I signed the lease, then promptly traveled to India for a month (sourcing decor and designing all the meditation cushions while there too!), and pulled a beautiful space together to run a business the best I could for one week before we opened the doors.

I partnered with one of vedic meditation students who helped me get off the ground and put the systems in place. Now I’m solo-running the business, and it has been a whirlwind of building an incredible community, bringing awareness to many about the deep importance of mind health, offering 30 signature offerings of the 4-day Intro to Vedic Meditation Courses, hosting a wide range of conscious living workshops & kirtans & photoshoots, presenting Vedic Meditation at an Oscar nominee event in LA, and having people from all over the world share their gifts in the space.

It’s been a wild ride and we will see what the future holds. What I do know is I am so passionate about bringing balance & wellness to the mind and body (harmonizing the emotional, mental, physical, social, & spiritual layers of our being), and normalizing enlightenment to people like you and me. I believe the only way the world can truly change is by going within and doing the inner work. When we expand within, we expand the collective state of consciousness.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think anything in life is smooth sailing all the time. Expansion always calls for change—we can either show up with resistance or adaptability (consistent meditation produces the latter). I have little resistance to taking on the unknown, but that does not mean it hasn’t been hard work, tiring, and pressed me to my limits. Because this was not a planned business, The Subtle Mind has been a continual learning of what this space wants to become and moving with those impulses. I move quickly with observation of what is. I am not interested in suffering if something isn’t working.

Working in the field of consciousness, mindfulness, and wellness while simultaneously having a physical platform to foster that has really opened my eyes to just how many people behind-the-scenes are unstable and unable to show up embodied in what it is they are teaching. This irony in seeing how many are not walking their talk has definitely been one of the biggest and saddest struggles to process. Helping people rise & evolve is one of my greatest joys so it was a big disappointment for me. It’s caused me to have to move the

business model in a different direction for integrity purposes. The offerings have simplified and the community has been supportive in trusting and valuing my choices.

It’s been a challenge to be a full-time single mom, teacher to hundreds of students, and a business owner. Time efficiency and giving priority to the need of the moment has helped

I don’t waste time and never sacrifice my meditation practice no matter the demandthat is presenting itself. As a mother, I teeter between showing up fully for my son and then my business. At the forefront of my mind is how my decisions with the business or time away will impact my son. His future and the molding of his character always factor into how I show up.

I think the biggest struggle for me is running the business in total alignment with the teachings and vedic meditation practice. It’s extremely important to me to do so. If I am not walking the talk of the vedic teachings in the real world, then what on earth am I doing? So that has been my biggest learning curve. It continues to be. I don’t believe in the model of success that we have created in the world. I don’t believe in creating more stuff to make money. Yet I do believe with expansion comes resources & abundance, and that we must use them intelligently with alignment to Nature.

I believe in ‘being’ over ‘doing.’ More accurately: be first, then do. Like ’do, be, do, be, do.’ I believe the way businesses are conventionally run kills people through stress, ruins relationships & marriages, affects children’s upbringing, and doesn’t cultivate happiness. What I offer as a teacher is an antidote to that. I tread thin waters in finding my own way  in balancing being and doing. To not be a slave to world or one of those wellness/yoga/  meditation/festival companies that are just as stressed out as the rest of the world and  who seem to embody nothing that they preach.

In this sense, I feel like a pioneer. I care about living the teachings through everything I do. Standing in deep integrity and example. I care about my son, his childhood, my wellbeing, traveling, learning, relationships, love, fun, and beauty as much as I care about the business thriving.

I believe your super power is in your attention. Whatever you give attention to will grow. I believe in living life with an awakened heart, an enlightened mind, and enjoying the waves.

I believe we work to live, not live to work. I don’t have a mentor for what I am talking  about. I haven’t found that it exists yet. I don’t have investors. It’s all self-generated.

Everything I do counts. And because my space is on the best street in Boulder, it is not  inexpensive, so it makes running a ‘meditation studio’ quite interesting from the financial perspective. And, all of that I am ok with.

The Subtle Mind – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business is called ‘The Subtle Mind’. It is a meditation studio that has been uniquely  designed into a sacred space to awaken the subtle mind and activate the subtle body. Our  signature offering is Vedic Meditation. The technique comes from the Veda, the 5,000-  year-old body of wisdom and source of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine. It’s a 20-minute,  twice-a-day mantra-based, deeply restful practice that absolutely anyone can do.

Through Vedic Meditation, the body reaches a state of profound rest which allows for  deep-rooted stresses to dissolve naturally bringing innumerable health benefits to the  individual. When an individual is able to achieve an optimal amount of rest through  meditation it creates a mind and body that are stress-free and can process life in real time,  taking it as it comes. No back log.

When one practices twice a day, every day they begin to reset the nervous system and this  allows one to be far more capable, loving, compassionate, kind, creative, adaptable,  healthy, relaxed, calm, well-rested, and happy. The emphasis at The Subtle Mind is to work  with the mind first, creating harmonized mind health and then working with the energy  and body.

As a human, we are a ‘mind.’ The word ‘man’ comes from the Sanskrit word manas which  means mind. So the most important practice we can do is purify and nourish what we are.  Meditation works with clearing the mind of negativity, irrelevancy, violence, addiction,  lack, and fear that all affect our body wellness. Our thoughts become our reality and if we  begin meditating, we rewire our thinking which revolutionizes our experience of life for  the better.

The Subtle Mind is known for meditation, expansion of pure consciousness, and bringing  wholeness to an individual through the yogic system in a holistic way. The aim is in  develop the fullest potential of consciousness in each individual, open their heart, and  align them with Nature.

What I am most proud of is that what I offer works if you simply do it. I am in perpetual  awe of the profound results of deep healing that are occurring for many who have walked  through the doors at The Subtle Mind.

People have healed brain pain, speech stutters, tremors, depression, suicidal thinking;  prolonged + increased their quality of life as terminal cancer patients; removed  autoimmune diseases; ceased insomnia; recovered from eating disorders; authentically  moved through grief; weaned off of pharmaceuticals. I am impressed by the dedication and  devotion of this community from all walks of life that has formed within this  establishment.

A universal experience most have in our times is a world that can be harsh, violent,  intense, unhealthy, challenging, hopeless, and unsafe. Most people say ‘The Subtle Mind’  given them hope that this world can be a better place, and even that this community has  saved their lives. People feel safe, loved, supported, seen, accepted, clear and that they  have a place to come to that doesn’t feel like a business; it feels more like a family or a  tribe.

Lastly, I am proud of the space itself. It is stunning by design and by aesthetic. It does not  feel generic or like a ‘studio’. It feels like somewhere you wished you lived. It’s neutral and  clear.

What sets The Subtle Mind apart from others is that our signature offering of Vedic  Meditation is a high-quality, self-sufficient practice that has a high success rate, and the  physical space emanates a welcoming vibe where people really enjoy being.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In my world, success means enlightenment. It’s not just for yogis in caves. It’s for you here  and now. Enlightenment means establishing a baseline of happiness from the inside out by  cultivating a crystal clear mind and completely open heart. Balance is key for me to be  successful. What I and the Veda teach: “Do less, accomplish more” and “Do nothing and  accomplish everything.” And I have found that the less I try, the more supported I am.  As long as I stay deep in my practice I will be guided to what is most relevant, and the rest  I am unattached to. When I see people truly transforming, creating, in love, and becoming  deeply impacted by what I offer then all is good in my world. What I do changes the world  around us and that is all that matters to me.

Pricing:

  • Workshops // $20-$35
  • Asana // $15
  • Vedic Meditation:
    4-day Intro to Vedic Meditation Course // $1008
    Weekly Group Meditation & Knowledge Meeting for Vedic Meditators // Free

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Ladd Forde, Alexis Ahrling, Tamara Muth-King, Moonbath

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