Shayna Hiller is a yoga teacher and Certified Health Coach based in Venice Beach, CA. She is also a business coach for yoga teachers. Her light-hearted and deeply intuitive approach to coaching is truly one of a kind. Shayna has been teaching yoga and leading yoga retreats around the world for over a decade.
Originally from New Jersey, but having lived and learned in the jungles of Costa Rica for five years of her early adult life, this is where she believes she experienced her most significant healing and personal transformation. It is both Shayna’s passion and privilege to share her wisdom and methods to empower people of their inherent capacity to experience ecstasy and bring their deepest desires to life.
Hey Shayna, how its all going?
Wonderful, thank you! I’m grateful to be here.
Can you talk us through a typical 24 hour in the life of Shayna?
When I’m not traveling, my days are pretty consistent. These days I wake up, meditate for 30 minutes then make my homemade almond milk latte, burn some incense and go through e-mails. Mornings are sacred and grounding for me. I try not to schedule anything which requires me to leave the house before 10 am. I also go for a daily walk on the beach which invigorates me and prepares me for the day ahead. On a typical week day, I will teach a private yoga session nearby and one or two health coaching sessions via Skype before I teach two public yoga classes. I come home after a long day of coaching and teaching and either cook dinner or visit one of LA’s many healthy restaurants! I always drink tea and read before bed. Teaching and coaching give me energy and inspiration, and I use this inspiration in the evenings to write poetry. That is my nightly ritual.
You have trained in all various aspects of health and life concerns including emotional eating, anxiety, depression, relationships and career, however which seems to be the most frequent cause for concern amongst young women?
The most frequent concern for most women is usually emotional eating and anxiety, though I’d have to say all of the above are so intricately linked. Most of my clients approach me with emotional/binge eating concerns and once we dive deep into the root cause of self-sabotaging behaviour it is 99% of the time connected to something non-food related, whether it be relationship and intimacy, career, etc.
You are the author of ‘Don’t Judge Me By My Cover,’ what inspired to you to write your own book?
Honestly, I never had the intention of writing a book. It seemed too difficult and time-consuming. But one day I was just ‘in the mood’. I read something online about how to write a book within 6 months and thought to myself, ‘Now, that sounds good!’ So I got to work. What inspired me to write it in the first place was my desire to share my story and the tools I used to break free from anxiety, eating disorder and low self-esteem. I feel the information is vital for young women and it is my duty to share what worked for me. It was a labor of love and definitely just the beginning…
What was the process and journey throughout writing your book?
What a great question. It was intense yet fulfilling. I was going through a lot of transition personally, having just moved to LA after years of living in solitude in the jungles of Costa Rica. So essentially, the book signified my decision to step into the world and build a career in LA. It was scary! It forced me to create a routine, to commit to writing every day despite resistance, and to start believing in myself. Honestly, writing the book was a total meditation for me. I learned so much. Looking back on it now, I have no idea how I wrote that much. It’s like I was in a trance and that information needed to come out of me. I call it grace.
You received your undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island, did you always know that writing a book was something you wanted to do?
No! I never thought I would write a book. I did always love to write though, and creative writing and poetry were a big part of my childhood. So perhaps deep down I did know, but it didn’t come clear until the opportunity to write a book presented itself and I just said ‘yes’. When in college, I chose a major not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I felt I was too young to make that choice however perhaps I trust that experience and education supported me in my current skill set. It’s all connected.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Oh this is perfect! I was recently on a call with my teacher from India and telling him about an obstacle I was facing in my life. He reminded me that when we are driving somewhere, there may be traffic. There may be a bump in the road. We may have to place our foot on the brakes and slow down for a bit… but that’s all part of the journey… it’s all part of eventually safely arriving at our destination. His words sank deep into my soul. Whatever we are going through, whether blissful or challenging, is guiding us. Slowing down is okay. Obstacles and detours are normal. Trusting this journey of life is a gift we give ourselves to avoid suffering and create more peace and harmony.
Best advice you can give to young women on their journey throughout womanhood?
Trust your intuition. Journal. Meditate. Dance. Allow yourself to receive. Don’t work too hard. Travel. Know you are powerful beyond measure. The female body is a gift from nature and it is worth exploring with curiosity and wonder. Love your body. If you don’t love your body, pretend you do. Make it a practice. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy and enjoy your food too. Life is not about deprivation. Be aware in every moment and rejoice and celebrate as often as possible.
Who do you feel is an inspiration to your life?
So many people are inspirations to my life.I interact with so many people on a daily basis which is how I learn and grow. The garden of life is so rich with unique flowers and each person I meet has something valuable and inspiring to offer. Though not a physical person, nature is one of my biggest inspirations. Nature reminds me that in order to grow we must ground ourselves in the dirt here and now. A lotus flower cannot exist unless it is in mud. Noticing these subtle signs in nature forces me to embrace all of life the dark, the light, the messy, etc.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Giving stuff away for free! I remember taking a business course many years ago which mentioned that offering free valuable content was the first step in attracting loyal customers. I thought that advice was crazy! How would giving away FREE stuff end up supporting my business? Well, years later it finally clicked. What I needed to discover is what I was going to offer, and once I found that, it flows effortlessly and from my heart and in order to build a business, especially a business focused on wellness and health, it’s vital to build trust and loyalty with prospective customers. That’s my mission and it brings me so much joy to offer free content.
I have a YouTube channel for yoga teachers which as significantly boosted my exposure without having to pay for marketing. I also have a mailing list where I answer specific questions people have related to health, business, etc. I feel grateful for the internet for that reason; the ability to build tribe and community across the globe. It’s truly magic…
Which marketing tools are you using?
Right now I use Youtube, Facebook, Mailchimp and Instagram and word of mouth! I feel it’s important to focus on marketing channels that really ‘speak to you’. It’s not necessary to be on every single portal. In fact, the more I hone in on the platforms that inspire me, the more traction and engagement I receive. It also helps me be more consistent in posting and avoid getting overwhelmed.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenges in business have been the uncertainty of where it will all lead. Being an entrepreneur is a risky choice, yet I’d rather embark on this than any other path. It is just as invigorating and exciting as it is risky. So I choose to focus on being excited as opposed to nervous. While building my business, I felt there was a lot of money going out and nothing coming in.
My biggest challenge with my personal health was battling Orthorexia in my early 20s. I thought I would have an eating disorder forever. My body was shutting down and I felt isolated, stuck and helpless despite my intellectual understanding of how to heal myself. I felt trapped in my mind and my unhealthy habits.
How did you overcome these challenges?
For business: I re-assured myself that it was all part of the building process and I was right. Patience is key. One of my teachers always said, ‘No amount of energy is ever wasted.’ And I truly believe that. Everything is happening in divine timing and there’s virtually no way to fail unless you give up.
I believe that yoga, being in nature, reading inspirational books and having external support from family and friends were my saving graces with my eating disorder. I needed to come to a place where I fully accepted things the way they were, which was not easy. But it served as a springboard for me to start creating a new reality. Once I accepted my condition, there was a sense of ease as opposed to resistance and self-judgment. And from that ease, energy started flowing and I started taking small actions each day that eventually led to full recovery. Also, consciously choosing to support others with their health and step into the role of leader means I must be practicing what I preach.
How do you personally keep motivated through difficult times?
Yoga and breathing help me. Remembering that I have already made it through difficult times is proof that I will get through this too. It’s important to understand the working of our minds if we truly desire peace and freedom from suffering. The mind likes to create stories; often times in the form of worst-case scenarios that are based on nothing real, only fear. So when my mind begins to move into fear-mode, the slowing down and breathing I’ve learned through yoga and meditation support me in pivoting and choosing a direction guided by love, trust and surrender.
Why do you think its important to defy the odds and Be Your Own?
Consider that you have something that no one else has. As I mentioned that we are all unique flowers of the garden of life, I believe that from the depths of my being. The more we compare ourselves to others or thing we ‘should’ be a certain way, the less possible it is for us to share our special fragrance with the world. Get still and quiet and tune in to your magic.
It’s real and the world is waiting for you to sing your song and dance your dance and create something that’s never been created yet— whether a business, a relationship, a nourishing meal. Big or small, following your pleasure is the pathway to lasting health, happiness and fulfillment on all levels.
Finally, what can we expect from you in 2018?
In May I am offering a very special retreat in Bali called ‘Bali Like A Boss’ for yogis, boss babes, creatives and all beings! If you’re having trouble juggling career, health, and personal life.If you dream of positively impacting others but are struggling with the ‘how’.
If fears of failure, or not knowing enough are sabotaging your dream.
If you feel your hustle’s leading nowhere.
Then this is the year you go all in and I’m giving you everything you need to make it happen. Uncover your true vision, be guided in your self-care practice and fulfill your soul’s calling. This is your opportunity to step out of your workaholic bubble to get healthy perspective, action steps, and uncover peace of mind that’ll carry with you the rest of your life.