Before our journey to Wanderlust at Mont Tremblant in Quebec to meet Eoin Finn, the yoga guru founder of Blissology, we sent him a pre-questionnaire to open up dialogue and get some insight into his thinking and life. He was detailed and enthusiastic in his answers back. He did his homework. It wasn’t until we arrived at Wanderlust and Eoin showed up for his photo shoot and interview that we saw first hand an even deeper side and a view into what the fuss was all about. We discovered this very complex, yet simple equation he was not just pushing but authentically living.
Finn, with an ear to ear grin, immediately hugged me, spoke with his eyes on mine, and opened up his heart and soul. His thoughtful adult self is clearly present, but so is his vulnerable, playful inner child. To say the least, Finn is blissful and self-confident in a way that is inviting and downright charming. He is even brave enough to share his fears and insecurities he has had along his journey. At first Finn’s admissions of self doubt feel alarmingly off in accordance with the optics of his brand, brand messaging, and also our original pre-questionnaire. However, as we sit down and get into the details of his journey, we experience his outright rockstar energy. We find bliss in his class and understand his main message and his global appeal. Finn really is a gem. It’s like he brings out your blissful nature by finding that part of you who can laugh, smile, and love. You feel your community spirit in your practice and through him. How can you find fault in anyone who is spreading love and good vibes on the level this guy is.
After our Q&A with Finn, I check out one of his classes. As I gasp for breath to keep up with what he calls the “after lunch dance party” – to killer iconic 70’s music – I find myself, like a nerd on acid, dancing up a storm next to about 300 yogi’s of all ages, races, body types, and levels of skill. Everyone is hugging and high fiving each other and jigging up a storm while laughing and singing their hearts out. After a previous class at the festival with another leader, where many in class shed tears at some of their self discoveries (which also has great benefit) I have to say – Blissology has me at hello.
Charlotte Carson: Great to meet you Eoin. We have heard so much about you.
Eoin Finn: Thanks. Happy to connect as well.
CC: So where do you reside presently?
EF: My wife, son and I are just moving back to Vancouver, BC after many great years based in Santa Cruz, CA and travelling all over the world to lead retreats and teacher training programs.
EL: The Smiles! It’s that simple. I like to be in environments where people can’t stop smiling even when we aren’t even consciously aware of why. Wanderlust has all the ingredients in place: Great music; awesome people coming together dropping their stories and dancing; yoga that moves what I call the “issues out of our tissues;” and when you add in the beauty of nature it’s total magic.
CC: Interesting (I can’t help grin and feel a little high from his child-like joy and wonder what planet this insanely happy guy came from) I’m curious what you studied at University? Have you ever been in the corporate world?
EF: I studied philosophy, my goal was to teach the philosophy of love. Then what happened was I ended up in Hawaii, fell in love with this woman from Japan and moved there with her. Her father pitched to me to sell these condos and the money was good, so I jumped on it. I cut my dreadlocks off and went out and got all these power suits and overnight went from this philosopher of love, yogi, surfer dude to a businessman. I ran that company for 3 or 4 years and I had a pretty big successful company but as the years passed I realized this wasn’t what I was meant to do on this planet but the money is so good and how do I reconcile this. It was like something Joseph Campbell said that you spend so much time climbing the ladder and then you realize too late it’s against the wrong wall.
CC: Wow, that’s an amazing quote really.
EF: Exactly, so I realized what it’s like to be motivated by money instead of passion. And the interesting thing looking back was that it wasn’t even the money that interested me it was that I was a man. Meaning every guy wants to have a good relationship with their dad and men have sports and business. My dad’s sport was horse racing and I just wasn’t into that, but then when I had business and my dad and I had this bond, I had respect. That meant more than the money but lent to my internal struggle.
CC: So then at some point psychologically did you need to go back to yoga?
EF: Yes, I mean if you look at Blissology it’s about connection. I had this neighbour in Vancouver who I always wanted to get to know one day and then two years later a UHAUL was outside and someone else was moving in and I had missed my opportunity. It was then I had this feeling of how did we create this world where we don’t even know our own neighbour and I realized I had lost my path and had to make a shift.
CC: How hard was it to make that shift?
EF: It was all about taking that first step. Like another Joseph Campbell quote: “Follow your bliss and the universe is going to challenge you and once you prove yourself, doors will open where once there were walls.” When I first started yoga, I rented a space for 2-3 nights a week for $75 and went diligently for two or three months and literally no one came. And when I say no one, I don’t mean just a few people, I mean not a single person in the room but myself. But I kept going back night after night, putting posters up, promoting, and after two months finally someone showed up. And then like the hair commercial, they told two friends and they told two friends, and after a year we had to turn 10-12 people away a night.
CC: You are lucky it was only 2-3 months. In business they say usually it’s a 5 year. But having said that most people would have quit after a week or two and not stuck it out for the 2-3 months. Most people want or expect instant success. It’s like any business if anyone expects you put your shingle out and everyone shows up is the fallacy. It seems you could also apply this to the disciple of personal change too. So, what’s next for you? You’ve made a big transition, moving back to a solid location from a nomadic one.
EF: It’s interesting because our nomadic nature was not intentional. I’m trying to work out why we have become nomadic. At first we tried LA but the surf wasn’t that good. And then we moved to Santa Cruz, which is an amazing town where I wish we could have made it work but mostly the main issue is that the US dollar is so high that Canadians couldn’t pay 35% more for our programs and our main community is Canadian. So basically we just made a commitment to just walk through doors that are open rather than trying to push doors open.
CC: That’s very yogi.
EF: Yes, exactly, so that’s where I am now. Although my goal is to find a centre, be by the surf, in an ocean minded community. But, until I have that place, I need to travel and make money.
CC: Seems to be an overarching theme that we have encountered talking to people here, that they need to work internationally, where you can do these big retreats. Where you can incorporate your personal philosophy but also make a living.
EF: Yes so back to how I see our foundation in Vancouver, I have to continually analyze that. I get anxiety living my life away from the surf, because that’s what I love doing.
CC: So maybe you’re not really sure right now, maybe it’s an evolution.
EF: It’s feels good to be back in Vancouver and always long term the goal is to bring people to us, the reverse of how I work now.
CC: Maybe build your own retreat? Your own yoga studio?
EF: Yes, even now I think that will be easier than how we operate now and who says down the road we can build a retreat in Santa Cruz as well, when the timing works better for us.
CC: So do you teach surfing? Or is that just a past-time?
EF: No, it’s funny because I make my living doing another thing I’m passionate about, yoga. Surfing for me isn’t about an economic driver, I don’t have to do it for anybody else, it’s just something I can find joy in for myself. I need a nature based escape to collect my thoughts, visualize and keep evolving.
CL: Back to yoga, what do you think is the newest trend?
EF: Good question: I’m hearing a lot about goat yoga. I’ve never done it. I practice in the open skies under the west coast beside sea lions and huge eagles so I’m not starving for connection to animals in my practice but I believe that we need more of this connection to animals and nature so go for it, goat-yoga people. Just make sure they don’t poo on your mat!
CL: If you could have one day with a professional sports athlete who would it be and why?
EF: Kelly Slater the 11x World Champion of Surfing. I love that he is still ripping at age 45. I am so inspired by athletes that have learned how to age gracefully and I would love to share with him the tools I have learned about how yoga can make our bodies last longer and perform better with age. In return, I hope he can teach me how to get barrelled off my ass at Cloudbreak, Fiji!
CL: What is your favourite song of all time?
EF: I don’t know about for all time but I just got back from our Bali Blissology Teacher Training and I can’t get “Dry the Rain” by the Beta Band out of my head. The words are, “If there is something inside that you want to say, say it out loud it will be ok, I will be alright, I will be ok, I will be your light.” Gets me every time…
Yogi, Surfer and Blissologist Eoin Finn is the founder of Blissology Yoga, which allows the wisdom of our innermost heart to guide our relationships with our bodies, our communities, and nature. Finn is passionate about bringing spirituality down to earth and reclaiming quiet time in nature as the greatest spiritual portal and our best source of health and happiness. As an ocean activist, he started the Blissology EcoKarma project, raising aid and awareness through yoga for the world’s imperiled coral reefs. He’s been featured in Oprah, InStyle, Vogue, the New York Times and the Yoga Journal. Learn more at blissology.com.