Hayley Steadman –

Practitioner Profile #1

Practitioner Profile #1

 

Name
Hayley Steadman 

Occupation
Yoga Teacher 

What Does Your Practice Look Like
I try to see my practice as something that permeates into all aspects of my life. Instead of separating the day into practice time and non practice time, I like to see all moments of the day (how you choose to wake up, eat, speak and so on) as an opportunity to practice, to learn and to grow.  

In terms of yoga—my regular practice at the moment is mainly focused on breathing/physical movement and reading/study. Ideally I like to do 3 long home practices per week (I practice my own sequences which have a specific focus - eg forward bends, backbends, twists) and then a few classes with other teachers. Over the past few months I have been experiencing anxiety and stress in a way that I never have done before so I’ve been finding daily seated meditation quite difficult and some times counterproductive. So i’ve been exploring different ways to focus the mind - walks in nature and more mindful movement. Reading and studying are also very important parts of my practice. 

What First Brought You To Your Spiritual Practice 
For a long time I can remember that I was searching for meaning in my life. Although I’m sure at the time I wouldn’t have said it in this way. I was 21 and in a difficult place and I can’t recall how or why, but I started reading Pema Chodron books - when things fall apart and the places that scare you. I was immediately drawn to the philosophy so I began to self study Buddhism and eventually found a Buddhist meditation group near where I lived. I only went a handful of times, that particular practice didn’t resonate with me. As much as I was interested in the philosophy, I was still living a mildly wild lifestyle and I knew the two definitely didn’t merge. So I put my spiritual inquiry to the side for a while. About a year later, my mum and sister took me to my first yoga class and I haven’t stopped practicing since. 

What Has Been The Biggest Obstacle In Your Practice
The biggest obstacle in my practice is finding routine. I’ve been teaching yoga full time for 4 years which means that my work schedule is changing frequently and most days of the week have a different timetable. Waking, eating, sleeping at different times, so I find it difficult to practice at the same time each day (which is what I would prefer). Sometimes I go through periods of getting myself up with 2 hours to practice in the morning before my first class or sticking to a 2 hour slot in the afternoon, but this tends to make the rest of my life feel quite rigid. I like my practice to be something that supports and uplifts my life, but I also recognise that discipline is such an important aspect too. I go through times of being very strict and disciplined and other times being a bit too free. So the obstacle for me is trying to get the balance right. 

How Have You Overcome This 
I think balance is a practice within itself. Finding balance, steadiness and evenness in all aspects of life is something I am definitely working on. In a practical sense I try to overcome this by looking at my week ahead and scheduling in my practice times. I make a commitment to be there, just like I do when I have a class on or a meeting. I try my best to stick with it, but also understand that sometimes things come up. I think it’s also about learning when you need to be more disciplined with yourself and when you need to be more free, depending on what is happening in other areas of your life. It’s always a work in progress. 

What Is The Biggest Insight You’ve Received From Your Practice 
Everything changes. Nothing lasts forever. On every level—physical, mental, emotional. (And this is a good thing). I can look back over the past 8 years of life and practice, and can think back to good times and more difficult times and sitting with it all in practice. At the time you think its going to be like this forever and then slowly, gradually, it passes, it changes. Something new comes. And it all makes sense (for a moment) and then it happens all over again… This is just life and the best thing we can do is just try to move with it.