By Alyssa Shapiro
Meet Brinda Iyer, one of the models in our campaign for the new Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial. They’re a creative and an artist—Iyer also works as a radio host, is a creative director, and performance artist. Here, they open up about cultivating positive energy, the importance of rest, respect, and how they're dealing with the current pandemic.
What drives you?
Because I’ve moved upwards of 15 times, I’ve adopted a hustler mentality and a push to keep going. Life is a driving force and is full of untapped potential. I don’t let irrational fears hold me back from accomplishing my dreams.
If you ever feel “off,” do you have any self-care rituals that help ground you?
Whenever I feel off, I usually try to take a well-intentioned nap/rest because performing intense labor is so applauded in our capitalistic world. Energy needs a guiding force and taking breaks is so important in order to yield that full potential! After sufficiently resting, I try to dedicate part of my day to dance and perform care and peace rituals at night involving fire, herbs, and idols inspired by my cultural background to bring my body and mind into a state of equilibrium.
How does your energy impact those around you? (And vice versa?)
I’m an introverted extrovert, meaning I perceive and pick up on people’s energies pretty well, and adapt to a collective, or else help guide that energy to a level of grounding if it seems necessary. I used to be really anxious around new people, and sometimes still am, but remembering to be confident and knowing I have things to offer has helped clear that.
What’s your personal motto?
Keep calm, be humble, and give thanks while having an open mind.
Was there a time you had to fight to stand for your own beliefs?
Always! As a queer non-binary East Indian American, I’m a very marginal demographic. I’m a minority in the motherland as well as in America. Right before the Trump election I was living in southwest Florida and was grossly accosted by a man for being “different” while I was wearing my temple clothes getting groceries. I had to tell him off while maintaining my safety.
In your point of view, what’s the best way to understand someone else, or help them to understand you?
By respecting one another. You can’t change someone’s mind by being rude or aggressive. The best way is to facilitate a conversation around understanding. Practicing humility, viewing the other person as a human, and accepting mistakes as long as there’s work being done towards self-improvement.
What has positive energy done for your life?
It’s made me a better person and allowed for new experiences and opportunities in my life.
How are you coping with the state of the world right now? Are you finding any practice or mindset or action to be particularly helpful?
I admit it's a shocking time on both a political and biological level. Many of us haven't ever experienced something like this before, and definitely didn't see it coming. However, it's important to remember that anything can happen at any given time—so you can always be prepared for the worst.
I tend to be more of an introvert, so being alone hasn't been too out of the ordinary for me; however, I miss being able to hug my friends, cook together, and engage in other social activities that I could so freely do before without having to think about it.
I'm currently taking the quarantine in stride, taking time to work on things I felt I didn't have the 'time' to do before. I'm harnessing all this untapped energy to work on producing music (I'm just starting and it's all very new to me), learn Spanish, work on yoga, dance, and cook delicious food.
It's been an interesting collective break so far. I think people are realizing that in the face of adversity we are all truly the same. We face the same fears, we want to hold our loved ones, and we hope to be free. I've been engaging with a lot of folks on uniting, collectivizing, and engaging in charity/resource support through the virtual world, and that brings me a lot of hope.
The media can be scary triggering, but we're also blessed to have technology at the tip of our fingers. By staying involved in grassroots [movements] we can understand the importance of community and how each individual is capable of bringing about change for the better in someone else's life. I think that's the energy for 2020.