Zingara Woman: Meet Tiari-May of Mahana Soul Yoga

Our first feature in our ‘Zingara Woman Series’ is the incredible Tiari-May of Mahana Soul Yoga. We chatted with Tiarna to learn more about her yoga journey,  path to holistic wellness, and to steal her go to yoga poses for ultimate relaxation.

Hometown: Cairns, Queensland

Star sign: Cancer Sun, Gemini Moon, Sagittarius Rising.

Growing up, I wanted to be: A Professional Ballerina. I have always loved expressing myself through movement, and dance has been a huge part of my journey.

Go to morning ritual: Rise at 5-5:30am. Make my bed. Shower routine (shower, tongue scraping + teeth clean, skincare, hair brush). Large glass of water. Movement (Yoga or Pilates) 30mins-1hr. Breathwork 10-20mins. Meditation 10-20mins. Fasting on water or herbal tea until mid or late morning. I don't do this everyday, but rather listen to what my body needs each day.

To me, wellness is: A result of deep connection to Self, to Spirit, to Truth, to your Body and it's constitution, to the Earth and its cycles and to the rituals and practices that honour and develop this connection. Maintaining a state of balance within our physical body is a great place to start. The physical body is intimately related and interconnected with both the mental body and pranic or energetic body. Bringing harmony to these dimensions means freeing ourselves from the fluctuations of the mind and enabling prana to flow freely by moving any stagnant energy or blocks within the system. Connecting mind, body and soul so that all energy can flow. Taking the time to tune into our bodies - our bodies hold all of the wisdom and guidance we need at any moment to feel our most high-vibrational self. Today it might look like a long run or power flow to lift our spirits. Tomorrow a nourishing bath with candles and herbal tea. Honouring where we are each day and remaining conscious to the things that allow us to feel our best. Ensuring these become a priority in our day - because our energy and our vibration is our most valuable resource. In this state of balance and harmony, our body (physical, mental, emotional, energetic, spiritual) is functioning in its most optimal state - free from dis-ease, illness, pain and rigidity. It is from this state that awareness and consciousness lifts and we remember our truth, our true essence, and the Universal truth.

Self care items you can’t live without: Journal, Yoga Mat, Cacao, Incense/Sage, Herbal bath soaks.

Tell us about your journey, and what led you to where you are now? It has been a long and beautiful journey of self-love, evolving, learning, healing, growing and discovering new parts of myself along the way. Growing up, I was influenced with some degree of spiritual beliefs originating from my "hippie" background. My mother always had the desire to study yoga and had me reading The Celestine Prophecy at 12 years old - this was her bible. And although I adopted some of these beliefs, at the same time I resisted this way of life and tried to become the complete opposite to my family - a.k.a the corporate, well-dressed, hustle and bustle businesswoman. I was the "golden" child of the family who always did well in school and was destined for "great" things. I was a ballet dancer for 11 years, I went to University and completed my Bachelors of Business in Marketing and Banking & Finance. I always had this certain standard that seemed to be expected of me. I was walking the path that this educated societal structure had already predetermined for me. But I was lost. I didn't feel alive. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted. I didn't feel a sense of belonging with any of my social groups. I was yearning for more. And the journey back home to my roots has been the most incredible and expansive experience to date. 

For most of my life, I felt stuck in this low-vibrational state of being - I struggled with mental health (especially depression and lots of social anxiety), I lacked purpose and meaning and I gave my power away to feel worthy. I was constantly negative towards myself and my experience and I would attract all the wrong people for me - I lacked those deep, meaningful connections and conversations that I was craving, and I started to experience major health problems. The list would go on, and I continued to recreate these cycles of experiences because my reality was a DIRECT reflection of my internal state. It has taken me a very long time to understand and learn that when we are stuck on a loop in these negative cycles, in this victim mentality, it is the surest sign that we are completely out of alignment to our authentic truth. 

Once I reached breaking point, it triggered my own healing journey. I stepped out of my comfort zone and the practice of yoga Divinely landed on my path. I began to take a moment to quieten down, to become more aware of my self-destructive behaviours so that I could empower myself with tools and information that would change the course of my actions and therefore the trajectory of my life. I began to drop out of my mind and into my body - to quiet the egoic-mind enough to allow my body's intelligence to take over. Moving through life with presence rather than projection. Building trust in my Body and Soul to know and understand and guide the way. I started to unravel deeper and deeper layers of myself, unveiling my true self, and I began to hear that little voice inside of me with so much clarity that was always there guiding me forward to take a leap of faith. 

And my goodness, the gift that was waiting for me within. I remembered. My truth. The core of my being. And I continue to remember, to walk towards my fullest expression, my most aligned and radiating self. And I promise you, once you have an awakening - an expansion of consciousness - your whole life will change. You will be reborn and you will never look back. The expansion will never cease. You will continue to reach higher and higher states of being and your world will be filled with magic and miracles. That is the pure bliss of this journey: returning home to our authentic gifts, our authentic Truth.

How has your Yoga practice changed your life?  Yoga was my entry point, the gateway. It was the introduction my logical brain needed to open myself up to this deep inner work. I developed a regular practice of Yin Yoga in a studio and fell in love with this style of movement. I was so intrigued by the emotional and myofascial release that these classes would offer. At the time, I didn't realise why I was so drawn to this practice. Now with my level of awareness, I understand that my nervous system was craving this deep, introspective, soothing style of healing. My body, mind and soul were yearning for me to journey within - to become aware of what I was feeling and to actually FEEL my emotions, rather than suppressing and avoiding them. I started to become conscious of my thoughts and how they were destroying my happiness. To unravel the layers of trauma and patterns stored deep within my body. And so yoga became my pathway to begin the process of letting it all go. To release all that was no longer serving me. The healing journey began - and the healing continues, the work continues, and I commit to this practice every day to continue journeying home to the truth of my inner being. 

Yoga has guided me to remember my own power and innate capacity to heal. The intelligence of the body, breath and consciousness is all we truly need to experience health and harmony. To free our energy for creation, expression and expansion. And this state of inner harmony created within, our true essence, has then been reflected back to me in the outermost dimensions of my life: my relationships - with all beings, with myself, with Mother Earth and the greater cosmos. 

Movement - when done in complete presence, and when connected with the breath - is pure medicine. A vehicle to understand ourselves on such a deep level. And a vehicle for divine intelligence to evolve through us. Yoga has given me the gift of a blissful life, of embodying my true essence, opening my heart and expanding my perspective to see clearly the joy and abundance that can always be found within me. Yoga brings me back home to myself. It was my gateway to this deep inner work, and once I started to go deeper on this healing journey, I began to explore other modalities such as breathwork, somatic healing, ecstatic dance and plant medicine. The magic and the bliss that has unfolded for me is impossible to conceptualise and I hope that every human has the opportunity to experience this level of expansion and life-altering shifts. And that is the passion that drives me to share this beautiful gift.

What advice would you give to those contemplating starting out in their yoga journey (aka ME!)? 

Welcome to the beautiful gift of yoga, it is truly an exciting journey to begin and so I hope you enjoy it! Here are some tips if you are starting out. Of course, take what serves you and leave the rest:

  • Yoga is for EVERY body - there is such a misconception that you have to be super flexible and able to do the most advanced postures in order to do yoga and that couldn't be further from the truth. Find your own pace and comfort.
  • Yoga meets you where you are at. If you are only interested in the physical aspects of yoga, that's great! The physical is a beautiful place to start. Yoga will begin to work its magic on you, and who knows... you might start having spiritual awakenings too ;)
  • Double-check that the classes you're interested in are suitable for beginners (most of them are). And let the teacher know that you are new to yoga so they can celebrate you for making that first step and help guide you.
  • Try different styles of yoga to see which one(s) resonate with you.
  • Practice regularly! Yoga is a practice and takes time and dedication. You will start to become quite comfortable and notice significant shifts with 3-6months of regular practice.
  • Move your body slowly and mindfully. Be patient with yourself and do not force anything during class. Listen to your body and leave your ego at the door. If a pose does not feel right for you, then you can always leave it. If you need to rest, honour your body at any moment.
  • If frustrations arise or you find difficulty in certain postures, know that this is totally normal. Try not to compare yourself to others who may have been practicing for many years. Focus on your breath, and over time your body will start to let go and open up.
  • Remember to have fun with it! Enjoy the journey. Getting to know your body, mind and soul on deeper levels is powerful work and you will discover beautiful parts of yourself you never knew existed. Always bring gratitude and intention to your mat.

If you could, what would you tell your younger self? I would say to her: Darling girl, if only you could see just how beautiful, pure and magnificent your soul is underneath all of the distorted beliefs and views these world experiences have led you to believe. You are so much more powerful and strong than you can even imagine. You are SO worthy of the infinite love and happiness that surrounds you, and most importantly lives within you. Thank you so much for doing everything you could with your level of awareness. You truly committed to yourself and your growth, you never gave up no matter how hard it became, and I am so proud of you! Remember who you are and please stop trying to be liked and accepted by others to fit in. You were not born to fit in. You were born to show the world a different way. You can be free and liberated. Simply by showing up as your most fullest, vibrant and authentic expression of self. And in turn, allowing others to do the same. This is the key. Stand in your power and your whole world will change. I love you.

Can you share with us your go to poses for ultimate relaxation that our Zingara Women can integrate into their wellness routines? 

Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

An easy, cross-legged, seated position. This is the ultimate pose for finding instant grounding and shifting into a meditative state. When paired with equal ratio breathing, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system. To practice: inhale for a count of four, hold at the top for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold at the bottom for four. Repeat this breathing pattern for five minutes or longer to feel the effects of the relaxation response. Alternatively, you can repeat a mantra and you will find a beautiful meditation practice of stillness and tranquility.

Puppy Pose (Anahatasana)

Start on your hands and knees and begin to walk your hands forward, melting the heart and the forehead towards the floor (chin down if you are feeling more open). As this is a slight inversion, with the heart just higher than the head, this pose can foster a sense of calmness in the body, relieving stress and anxiety. It also works to release tension in the upper body, and by allowing your heart to melt into the earth, you will feel a grounding sensation as you breathe deeply into the full torso. Through physically opening our hearts, this also energetically increases our openness to love, which in turn can boost feelings of connectedness and provide relief from depression and aloneness.

Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Scootch your hips as close to a wall as you can, lean back on your elbows and begin to lower onto your back. Allow your legs to reach up the wall, resting your heels against the wall, maybe a soft bend into the knees. Find a position that is comfortable for you and let this be a completely restorative posture. Practice this for 5-20minutes. This receptive posture is incredible for settling the nervous system, activating the parasympathetic state and reducing stress and anxiety. You will likely have a great sleep after practicing this pose! Try to calm your mind with regulated, deep breaths and you should arrive into a state of deep relaxation.

One quote you live your life by: "If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough." - Oprah Winfrey.

Such a powerful reminder that I live by as it can be so easy to focus on what we perceive to lack or desire but do not have. Which only then creates more of what we don't want. This has been a huge part of my journey, to shift my perception to acknowledge the beauty and abundance that surrounds me right now at this very moment. In this vibration of gratitude, you then open yourself up to cultivate more of this into your human experience.

Favourite Zingara Crystal Water Mist:The Love + Passion Crystal Water is definitely my personal favourite. I am such a hopeless romantic, and I love the idea of cultivating more unconditional love and open heartedness into my day. I love to use this mist in my own meditation practice, on others when holding space, and sometimes even spritz in on myself before I head out for the day to help boost feelings of self-love, lift my spirits and allow for deeper connections with others.

Feeling inspired? We highly recommend checking out Tiari's classes and following her journey on Instagram HERE 

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