October 4, 2022

About Grant, founder of KotE

As people discover Keepers of the Earth, or come across Grant and his work, it feels important to share details and background around who Grant is and how he came to be here.

This intention of this blog post is to offer information that will assist the decision making process for anyone who is considering a training or immersion with Grant and/or KotE.

Born as Grant Thomas Ifflander in Phoenix, Arizona, to parents Jim and Lauren Ifflander, Grant grew up a pretty normal life. He spent a lot of his time adventuring outdoors and much of that time was alone. Whilst he had one older brother, Grant noticed, early on, a preference to play and explore by himself. In his teenage years he was introduced to marijuana which opened up vast new territories of inner exploration and before graduating high school had experimented with psilocybin mushrooms and LSD.  There was a marked quest for “something” but there was no clear goal or destination driving him — merely a vague sense of that “something” and a general dissatisfaction with the “answers” about life he had been given in his developmental years.

Grant’s early adult life was dominated by his passion for optimizing human performance through modalities such as weight-lifting, nutrition, and other “performance” sciences. Although he’d achieved “success” in the corporate world, holding career positions such as sales manager and mortgage banker, Grant’s enthusiasm was reserved for researching, understanding, and applying ways to improve human performance. His concepts of “health” and “fitness” kept expanding and he took side-jobs as a coach and fitness professional as people sought out his guidance to improve their state of affairs.

The irony for Grant is that, whilst he was earnestly pursuing the art and science of personal transformation through health, fitness and fitness related subjects, he ended up experiencing some major health issues due to the imbalance of his pursuits. In 2014, Grant’s health suffered a massive decline when he ended up being diagnosed with Stage 4 Adrenal Failure. It was around this time that the “spiritual” quest began in earnest for Grant. The way it happened for him is that he started to realize that the ultimate answers to life’s biggest questions could not be found in what he saw as “achievement”. Although he was so heavily focused on being “healthy”, he had actually created some serious imbalances in his endocrine and nervous systems that required deep inner repair. Without going too far down the road of a materially focused life, Grant ended up making the decision to leave his career behind and pursue the answers to his deeper questions; he was forced to re-define health and success. His need to depart from the ambitious career he was locked into coincided with a severe “dark night of the soul” moment where he realized that the way he had been living was not in alignment with the rhythms and currents of Nature. Things had to change.

After a series of mystical and synchronistic moments spanning between 2014 and 2015, Grant’s personal evolution started to take off. Although he had read books and studied the work of people ranging from “science meets spirituality” with Joe Dispenza and Deepak Chopra; the deep spirituality of Eckhart Tolle, Sadhguru, Neville Goddard, and Wayne Dyer; the “Biology of Belief” with Bruce Lipton; Self-development gurus like Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Brian Tracy;  the list goes on…  it was not until Grant discovered the value and benefit of a regular and systematic daily yoga practice in which he was finally able to digest the deeper truths & actual wisdom that was presented through the knowledge he had amassed from all this information..

By mid 2015, Grant had quit his job as a mortgage banker and decided to focus solely on the path of Yoga. He dedicated all of his spare time to healing himself, researching methods and methodology, applying techniques, studying, and growing himself as a practitioner. For timeline purposes: July to August 2015, he attended a 21-day immersion Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica with his teachers Naga and Liz and the Sanctuary, where he was introduced to the Dhuni and other deeper sciences of Yoga. Upon his return to the States, Grant’s first teaching gig was offered to him in October 2015, and from this point onward he realized that this was all he wanted to do.

From 2015 onward he dove head first into practicing, teaching, and researching. Grant attended another Yoga Teacher Training program, one that was happening locally for him, as he continued to digest and assimilate all that he could related to the yogic path. His teachers at Inner Vision Yoga in Chandler were vastly influential in these early stages of development. Their story-telling and teaching wove into each class session and Grant’s overly scientific mind was perforated by mythological tales of Krishna, Arjuna, the Upanishads, the philosophy of the Yoga Sutras, and more.

In 2016 Grant was invited to assist on his first YTT, traveling back to Costa Rica to help Liz at The Sanctuary with the next round of 200 Hour Trainees. After completing two, week-long retreat teaching gigs there (Grant was presenting on Anatomy & Physiology for Yoga Teachers) he decided to go travel, canceling the flight that was supposed to take him back to his home in Arizona and instead going off on his own into what was a sort of “pilgrimage”.

After a few months of solo back-packing through Central America, Grant followed an inner call which took him to India, straight to Rishikesh, the so-called “yoga capital of the world.” He arrived to Rishikesh on Tuesday July 19, 2016 (Guru Purnima – the first Full Moon after the Summer Solstice) and the following morning ended up meeting his master and beloved teacher Steve Harrison of the Yoga Sanctuary.

Meeting Steve was another life-changing moment for Grant as it signified, in a way, the end of his wandering and the beginning of what became a very real, very sincere path. Grant completed his month long stay at the ashram where him and Steve met and then went to England where he recommitted to his studying and practicing with renewed earnestness and determination.

From the middle to the end of 2016, Grant had no other interest than practice, practice, practice. He felt like he had gone to the end of the Earth to find what what he was looking for, and now he had to put into action what he had found.

Eventually, sometime in late 2016, after countless hours of contemplation, inquiry, meditation, yoga asana and pranayama, Grant received the “green light” to return back to his home in Arizona and give back to his community. He flew home, visited family for Christmas, and re-entered “normal” life … albeit, completely transformed from the inside out.

From 2017 to 2020 Grant worked & practiced from his home in Chandler, Arizona, where he created a small yoga school and community of practitioners and called Bridge the Gap Yoga. He taught in studios, presented at festivals, led retreats and small-group intensives, and put all of his energy into generating environments that would help anyone looking for guidance in their spiritual practice. He saw the need for a  community-centric approach to spirituality, the need for sangha, the need for practices & teachings that could hold people through their awakening processes, the need for biological and physiological adaptations within the individuals in order for real change to occur. So for three years he worked tirelessly at doing this. Then, the world changed.

Just before the pandemic, in January 2020, Grant went on a 40-day silent retreat. This was another turning point for him. He was deeply questioning his path, his teaching, & his leadership. What he needed was a strong enough container that he could “cook” himself inside of, and burn through the impurities that were clouding his judgment. Upon completing these 40 days of solitude, Grant felt like he was shot out of a cannon. But shortly after the completion of this retreat, the world shut down.

During the pandemic Grant returned to focusing on his practices and figuring out ways to disseminate the energy virtually. It was a challenging time for everyone.

After several months of lockdowns, he finally followed his heart’s wish to move to Costa Rica. Arriving in October 2020, at the peak of the lockdowns, Grant was greeted by abundant, open Nature in all directions. Although human and social contact was still minimal, he took the signs apparent through the global climate of Earth as an opportunity for himself to go inward and restore his own health and integrity.

It was here in Costa Rica that the first seeds for Keepers of the Earth were sown.

Grant discovered the incredible healing power of Nature and the ways that the yogic technology could help sensitize people to feel this connection even stronger, and to live in harmony with it. For nearly two straight years, he lived and practiced in the midst of jungles, waterfalls, animals, rivers and streams. His practice was interrupted periodically with opportunities to teach, co-facilitate, or assist within various retreats, ceremonies, or trainings, but his focus was on growing himself, strengthening his spiritual connection, and refining his gifts.

Then, July 2022, at his isolated mountain home during a Dhuni, Grant was presented with the very clear, very direct guidance to establish “a School of Yoga & Mystical Arts dedicated to the preservation of Natural Law and Sacred Wisdom”. Keepers of the Earth was officially “born”, as in, it was gifted from the cosmos, through the fire ritual (Dhuni), as a sort of mission to complete. Grant’s mission? To properly train practitioners of these ancient arts so that they could be preserved and carried forward in a beautiful way. His vision? People becoming beacons of light in their community — human beings in service to the world — restoring structures of harmony, integrity, and love all across the globe through their personal efforts.

Grant was to put into manifestation, through the organization and establishment of KotE, all of the teachings and practices that he’d learned on his own spiritual path. Ten+ years of personal development, psychological contemplation, neuroscience, human performance, spiritual research, leadership training, refinement, application and experimentation was to be synthesized and administered through the teacher trainings & immersions that KotE would offer.

This story continues now with you, dear reader. May we all do what it takes to preserve the natural order and beauty of our Earth. This is what KotE represents — a pillar to anchor the necessary teachings of harmony throughout all. We all have this responsibility and we all have this privilege. The Universe is a mysterious place and no action goes unnoticed, no matter how small. Eventually, we might discover that all that we do really truly matters. We might observe the similarities of religion, spirituality, personal development and growth; we might see the many parallels running between all the spiritual teachings of the mystics, sages and masters, all pointing to the same, one thing. Our job here is important. Our thoughts, words, and actions are valuable. Who we are and what we do with our life is meaningful. We have a place in the cosmos. We are not part of Nature. We ARE Nature, and we are responsible for our environment(s).

Keepers of the Earth is here as a pillar, as a foundation for people who are looking for ways to make their corner of the world a little better. We aren’t just here to give out certifications or have “cool” experiences. We are here to train and grow as human beings. We serve you through stories like this, but we also serve by sharing the tools, techniques, & teachings which bring greater alignment within your being so that you can go out and do what you came here to do; so that you can become your own “Force of Nature”. This is what we are here for, and we invite you into our story.

Thank you for reading and we hope this gives you some inspiration. See you in-person, perhaps. May light emanate everywhere you go.