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.