Feeding your soul

The last few weeks have been hectic – trying to get my life sorted, teaching classes all over London, juggling social and work commitments and trying to find time for myself. I felt like I was struggling to find a balance and was neglecting myself and what my soul needed. I thought this was yoga, as often the physical practice grounds me and makes me feel calm. And to a degree it was the physical asanas I was missing. But over the last couple of days I still have done barely any practice, yet something has shifted. And I’ve realised there is more than one way to feed your soul and give it what it needs – you just need to work out what.

Over the last 2-3 days, I have reconnected with myself and brought more peace to myself partly by making sure I have time alone to ground and do work and not get so distracted. But I think the main thing is that I have surrounded myself with loving people. I have FaceTimed with 3 people who are very dear to me that live in Morocco, and I hadn’t properly spoken to them in a long time – they all understand and support me and make me feel happy and loved. I have also spent time with friends that I haven’t seen for a while, and also with people I see super regularly but who always lift me up. I have also messaged friends I love dearly and have a list in my head of a few others I desperately want to talk to.

And after doing all this, I took myself to my mat this afternoon for a quick practice, and something had shifted. The physical movement still felt amazing and helped me to centre myself even more, but because I have taken time to talk to people and feel loved, I felt at one with my body again (it’s been a while). I felt more connected to myself, I moved easier and freer, I was more open and able to listen to my body and to what it needed.

So that’s what I need to keep doing. I need to keep on my physical and spiritual yoga path, but I also need to remind myself that I have an incredible community of people around me who build me up and help to calm my soul. I shouldn’t shut them out when things get tough or I get frustrated – I should actually make more of an effort to connect with them. And to remind myself that balance does include time alone, but it also includes time with others. To all my friends – I love you and you know who you are.

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Why I teach yoga

I often get asked why I teach yoga, why I changed my career and my life. And since being back in London and teaching and living here, in a place where I used to live a very different life, I’ve had even more time to reflect on this.

When I was younger, I never imagined I would be a yoga teacher. I never thought I’d have a physical job (I was overweight, hated any kind of exercise and had no confidence – especially not enough to wear leggings!), and I never thought I’d teach (despite being told I’d make a great teacher – I think they meant in the more tradition school environment). I was so different to who I am now, and that is in part because of yoga. Obviously I don’t attribute all my changes to yoga, as part of them have come with growing up and my amazing friends and family and my life experiences, but still – yoga has made a difference.

I started off slow in yoga, just doing Bikram to balance out the running I was doing. I dabbled in it on and off for a few years and tried a few styles. Then, when I was going through a particularly bad time, I went to a small hot yoga studio to sweat out some stress, and something just clicked. Suddenly, I was going 4 times a week. Over time, I realised how much just practicing had changed me – I was dealing with stress better, my confidence was growing (at that time my confidence was shattered and I was at an all time low), I was aware of my body, I wasn’t getting as sick as I used to, and my outlook was changing on so many things. I was taking yoga out of the studio and out of the physical and into my life.

Yoga changed things for me. It helped and continues to help me through bad times, it boosted my confidence, it makes me happy with who I am and where I am. It is something I can turn to if I’m feeling off physically or mentally, and it helps me identify where the problem is. It grounds and centres me. It joins me to new, wonderful people and expands my community to a new level. It allows me to meet amazing souls. It makes me feel strong and powerful. It makes me challenge myself.

All of this, all of these feelings, are what I love to awaken in others. I teach because there are some people that need yoga in their lives the way that I do. I love knowing that maybe I’ve helped someone or am slowly planting the seed. I like seeing the moment on people’s faces where something clicks or they try something new or learn something about themselves, and I like seeing faces at the end of every class looking so relaxed and peaceful and knowing I’ve helped them at that moment. I hope that through yoga, other people get to experience what I have. And selfishly, I teach yoga because it makes me feel good. But it also reminds me we are not alone, we are part of something much bigger and that there are so many souls out there. So that’s why I’m also running retreats this year (www.hayleystatter.com/retreats), because that way I get to experience this more intensely for a whole week with some amazing people.

 

So now I teach yoga, I practice yoga, I live my life a different way that I love. I still do marketing work, I still travel, I still spend as much time as I can with the people I love. But I am different – I am the me I feel happy with.

The future is calling

It’s all out there right now – new year, new you/change your life in the new year, etc. While I don’t necessarily like all of this as I don’t think you need a new year to make a change, and I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with the old you (it’s more about accepting who you are than needing to change), I do think there are merits to it as it often pushes people – me included – to evaluate what you want and what future goals might be.

So it’s time to look back and review what has been, learn from it and let it go. And it’s also time to look forward, to see what could be coming your way or what you might want in your future. Which is what I’ve been doing the past week. I took a bit of a digital detox until the other day to give myself a break, and during this time I thought a lot and wrote things down and meditated and gave myself the time to evaluate and to dream. Now I am done with looking back and am firmly looking forward. There is a lot I could do with my future and I am excited for that! I am so proud of how far I’ve come and can’t wait for my next adventures. I’ve decided to put myself out there a bit and have launched my first yoga retreat (if you’re interested you can find out the info at http://www.hayleystatter.com/retreats), so we will see what happens! It’s one of the many things I’m doing to look forward and to try to achieve new things and push myself.

I think this time of year is also really good for clearing energies, as a part of starting afresh. So I have spent some time clearing negative energies from my mind and body, assessing patterns and behaviours in myself and beginning to change ones that aren’t good for me. I have also been dealing with old issues so that I can move forward strongly and without being held back by them. I think these kind of actions are important for us all to do so that we can keep striving for our future, as well as being happy and content in the present. It doesn’t happen overnight and I am still working through some of it, but I know that ultimately it will do me so much good when it is done.

So here is to saying goodbye to 2017, and any other things in the past that have altered us, and saying hello to the exciting world that lays before us.

 

 

Is there actually an ‘easy way’?

Over the past 15 months or so, I have moved around. I’ve spent time in a number of countries, working and chilling and figuring things out and meeting amazing people. The reactions I’ve had for the major change of life I decided to embark upon have been mostly positive, but I’ve also encountered some negativity about it. Both these reactions always make me think about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how I am perceived by others, as well as by myself at times.

I’ve met a large number of people living the same lifestyle I now am, but I also have so many wonderful people in my life that are living the lifestyle I used to have. I never say that one way is better than the other, and I never proclaim that if people aren’t doing what I now am, they are having a worse life. I just know which one feels right for me. And most of the reactions of all of the people who have been in my life for a long time have been so positive and loving and amazing, as have the reactions of people I’ve met on my new journey. In doing this, I have met a huge number of wonderful human beings, and I have realised what a strong support network I have back home and all over the world. I have been lucky enough to see this network grow and grow, and I feel so lucky.

Some reactions haven’t been quite so positive. Most of the negative reactions have come from people I still love, and many of them don’t even realise that I perceive their thoughts as negative. Almost all of them love me greatly and want the best for me, and in most ways do support me. But since coming back and wondering where I’m going next in my life, some of the comments have made me ponder things a lot. Like how I have an easy life, how I’ve got no worries anymore, how it must be nice to run all over the world and not have to settle or worry about things or have responsibility, how I’m running away and at some point I’ll have to come and settle and I can’t run forever and I should be sensible sometime. I know that most of these comments come from a place of love, and from people who want the best for me or pretty much just want me to stick around so I’ll be in one place again.

But is it running away? Is it the easy life or the easy option? Or is it actually pretty hard – always living out of a bag, not sure where the next place is or how long a job will last or if you’ll have money in two months time. Constantly meeting new people – both exciting and exhausting depending on your mood, and meaning you end up with friends all over (again an amazing thing, but also means your network isn’t always around or close). I wouldn’t say I have chosen this way of life because it’s easier, and I’m not running away. I still have worries and stresses, just different ones to before. I’ve been told it’s brave, that I have a lot of strength to do it. Sometimes I don’t feel strong, and sometimes I just want to be around the people who know me well and drink tea and hang out and have some ‘normality’. But I also know after a month or two of doing that, I’m itching to get out again.

And when I settle anywhere for a bit, part of me gets comfortable and part of me cries out to keep going. I hope that one day I will find somewhere I want to settle and make my proper home. Until then, I will keep exploring and discovering places and also finding out more about myself – I’ll keep meeting new people and yes it will be hard sometimes and no I’m not running away. And all this will be worth it – I feel like it’s paying off already and I am becoming richer in knowledge and experience and full of love for everyone I have in my life. Genuinely, thank you so much to everyone I have met who supports and loves me.

Muddy shoes and a grateful heart (for my Dreamsea family)

Sometimes the unexpected situations, the things you didn’t see coming, are the ones that can teach you the most and help you make so many realisations. The last couple of months I’ve been away from this blog and have been making new memories with an amazing group of people in Spain – my Dreamsea family. Each one of them is unique and beautiful in their own way, and I have learnt so much from them all. And I now have a whole new group of people that have helped me grow and will continue to be an influence in my life.

Going to work in Spain was one of those unexpected situations – it all happened suddenly and was a snap decision I made that turned out to be just what I needed. I had highs and lows there, but overall the experience has given me a fresh perspective on who I am, where I want to go, what I want to do and ultimately the kind of person I am and the kind of person I want to be. It has made me realise some of my less than desirable traits (which I would like to change and am going to work towards), it has shown me there are parts of me that I really want to work on and past experiences that I want to deal with, and it has also taught me the things I love about myself and about what I do and the life I have chosen. It has also given me the chance to show my love to a new group of friends – which I am ever grateful for – and reminded me of how incredible the friends I already have are, as they are constantly supportive and always there.

I am sure I would have come to all of this in time, but the catalyst of my camping life gave it to me in just the way I needed. So going away, unplugging from things (and people), and taking time in a different situation was exactly the right thing for me. It has given me a buzz for things again, a new excitement and a world of opportunities – plus a hunger for more. So thank you to everyone who has been part of my life the last few months, and also those who have been around a lot longer (you know who you are). I cannot wait to start out again on a new adventure, to continue growing as a person and also to see my wonderful Dreamsea family again soon.

When there is more than one path…

Decisions can be hard. I, for one, am one of the worst decision makers at times – many people will support this fact. I am way better than I used to be, but still at times I am totally thrown. The last few days have been a challenge for me because of this, and it got me to thinking…how do you make a decision when there isn’t a clear answer, when there is more than one path and all routes look promising and could lead to different and interesting things?

I try to follow my heart and my gut as much as I can. But even this has been torn and confused lately. I know I am going through a huge period of change, and I am trying to trust in myself as this happens. And I have had a lot of decisions to make recently, some of which are testing me a lot. As I make the decisions, I feel a sense of relief. Not necessarily because I know I’ve made the right one, but because at least I have picked a path to follow at this moment in time and I can begin to move forward. Because until I make that decision, I am stuck in limbo and simply tormenting myself. So I keep making them and moving forward. Maybe I’m making the wrong ones sometimes, but at least I’m trying things and seeing where it takes me. Otherwise, I can’t develop and I can’t learn and I can’t get to the next place on my journey.

It’s all about learning and trusting that it will work out. If I pick the wrong path, I will learn something from it. And in that sense, it therefore doesn’t make it wrong – no path is wrong because if it isn’t exactly right from us then it shapes us and teaches us. The important thing is to pick a path and begin to go down it. In the end, everything works out as it is meant to. But in not making choices, you are stopping that from happening as you are becoming stuck in a situation or a stage of your journey that is not the end. I know I need to remember all of this now more than ever, and I need to keep reminding myself of this as I continue to move forward in a less than straight direction: my path is winding and has a lot of branches off, so it’s time to explore.

Stop and appreciate the beauty around you

fullsizerender-1Sometimes, I have to pinch myself and remind myself of how lucky I am. I live in a beautiful country right now, with the ocean on one side of me and incredible mountains on the other. It is full of lovely, kind, funny people and everywhere you go is stunning scenery, amazing sights and a rich culture. I have also been lucky enough to travel around incredible parts of the world, and have seen so many places that have enriched my life – and I know I will visit many more (if my bank account allows my wandering heart to be free!).

Lately I have had a fair few bad days for a number of reasons, be it health, mental state, worries about things far away and close by, and I think I was going through the motions of what I needed to do for work and to live. But I had almost forgotten that I have been given an opportunity to do a job I love, in a new and exciting place that has so much to offer and so many things for me to see. Then something clicked the other day for me, and the black cloud that had been around me suddenly lifted. I realised that some of my stresses were beyond my control, that I needed to go back to the relaxed person I have become in the last 6 months: trying not to worry about things and letting things come and go as and when they need to. As soon as I remembered this, my whole outlook has shifted again and I’m going back to the person I know I am and the person I love to be.

I went on a trip into the mountains with some lovely ladies for just a couple of hours on the day I had the wake-up call, and as we were driving I looked out at the incredible landscape and realised I had shut myself off from what was around me. So I stared out the window for a long time, taking in the mountains and then the ocean as we rounded a corner on the way back into the village I live in. I was struck by how lucky I was to be here, to live next to the ocean that keeps me calm and happy, and surrounded by nature and a simple life.

So I’m going to keep remembering this, being grateful and happy and knowing that whatever comes and goes in my life does so for a reason and I shouldn’t try to control it. Instead, I’m going to let my explorer nature be free, and I’m going to continue to be the inquisitive, open-hearted, wandering yogi I want to be.

The root of yoga

Now that I have experienced the yogic lifestyle in India, and have delved into the philosophy, food and attitude surrounding yoga, I find it interesting how different parts of the world view yoga as a whole.

In western society, yoga is often more focused on the physical aspects. It is seen, for the most part, about fitness and flexibility. People go to a class, do a ton of asanas, try and improve their fitness/strength/flexibility, and then leave and go back to their lives. In some cases it is viewed the same way as a spinning or body pump class. This isn’t to say that it is always like this, but this is the experience I’ve generally had. There is also sometimes an air of competition in yoga classes – who can do the best headstand, who has the deepest down dog, who has the coolest clothes to practice in.

In India, yoga is about so much more. It is a way of life – it involves meditation, pranayama, food, lifestyle choice, attitudes, philosophy. It takes over, it is all-encompassing and it moulds you far beyond the still important asana practice. Yoga in India has an equal balance of everything, and there is no judgement or competition. Instead, it teaches you to focus on yourself and be kind to yourself, and to others. It promotes joy and friendship, and the whole community is warm and welcoming.

It is these parallels that I find fascinating. While the western one I’ve described is extreme and something I’ve only experienced in very small pockets, I do think the differences are so interesting. I used to be more along the western route, but I know now it’s so much more than that. I love that I can combine it all in my new lifestyle, and I feel grateful I’ve learnt about it all in the spiritual home of yoga. And I hope that western places follow suit and start to uncover the wonders of all aspects of yoga.

Yoga days

Yesterday was an appointed yoga day. It happened by accident, but it turned out to be a happy one. I started my Monday by returning to my old studio for an early morning hot yoga class with a teacher I hadn’t had before. Since I’d last been there, the studio had been completely revamped, which was a nice surprise! The class reminded me why I’d started my yoga journey, and brought back fond memories of my practices over the last year. And being in a warm room gave me a flashback to India (although Rishikesh was MUCH hotter than this room). The teacher was great and I learnt some new postures as well – overall the class set me up for the day and I was so glad to get back into the studio.

Later in the afternoon, I taught a small group of work colleagues a yoga class. Again it reminded me as to why I began my yoga journey, and why I took the decision to do my yoga teacher training. I loved being able to work with others and impart some of my yoga knowledge, and the response I got was heart-warming. I then ended the day talking to someone I hadn’t seen in years about yoga, about what I’ve been through to get to where I am, and the possibility of her maybe going to do something similar at some point.

Without meaning to, I gave myself a day that reminded me of why I love yoga, why I did my training and how yoga has helped me be who I am today. My time in Rishikesh was so special to me and my days were centred around yoga and nothing else, and since I’ve been back I’ve struggled to find the balance or the time to focus on yoga. There has been a lot of craziness with seeing friends and sorting things at work and getting ready for the next chapter in my story, and I think I was beginning to lose my way with my practice a bit. It was so nice to come back to it all and remember what is important and rediscover just how much I love it. I hope this feeling remains and as I begin the next phase, I can keep it all at the forefront of my mind.

New beginnings

FullSizeRender (1)Last weekend, I got to see my beautiful sister get married. For her, it signalled a new beginning – one I’m so excited to see her face. New beginnings for me at the moment are a little different, but just as exciting. I have been through an amazing journey this year so far, and it’s now time to take that journey further and move on from my current way of life. So my new beginning involves a complete change of scenery, or vocation, and of lifestyle. And I cannot wait.

At heart, I know I am a bit of a nomad. I love my home and my family and friends, but I love experiencing new places and new cultures and meeting new people. Being in India for a month has shown me that places outside of the UK can feel like home. One day I will go back to India, and I know I will feel completely at ease there, because it is like a second home. A few other places have felt that way for me, so I’ve decided to try one of them out! So soon I will be off to try my hand at making my photography my job, alongside my marketing and my yoga. In all, it’s a pretty awesome opportunity – one I’d be crazy to pass up.

Yoga has become such a big part of my life, and doing my teacher training reaffirmed to me that I want to keep it in my life in a big way. And my current situation just won’t allow that. I’m excited to be able to practice for as long as I want each day, to begin teaching my knowledge and experience to others, and to immerse myself in that world.

I spoke to an inspiring person recently who told me to ‘trust the process’. To go with opportunities and what feels right, and have faith that everything will work out and things will go the way they are meant to. And I totally believe in that. Recently, as I’ve opened myself up to not controlling everything and opened my heart up to things, the process has taken me down a path that feels completely right. New opportunities keep arising and people keep coming into my life that make me know what I’m doing is right for me, and are showing me that the decisions I’m making will serve me well.

So I’m trusting in this process. I’m letting myself be guided, I’m taking a leap and I’m trying something different, something I’ve wanted to do for so long but not had the courage to do. And I’m taking with me so many memories and wonderful friendships, and knowing I will make many more. I think no matter what the new beginning is, it can bring you so many opportunities and so much joy if you let it.