HAYLEY


Personal Journey

I relish the curiosity of my hands and body. I have been collaborating with this acute kinesthetic awareness for play, inspiration and healing as far back as I can remember. Deep sensitivity has brought me face to face with paradox, serving as my toughest foe and most trusted ally; my greatest teacher. Surrendering to the truth of who I am has guided me to listen deeply to the wisdom of my breath and body by continually honoring their dynamic connection with my mind and emotions.

 

 

As a child and young woman, my empathic nature and fascination with interpersonal dynamics swept me into healing missions. Time and time again I attempted to understand and, therefore, heal myself and others of our sense of suffering & separation. This yearning inspired deep introspection; while the desire to acquire knowledge & be successful motivated me to pursue academia with fervor. 

In my teens, I discovered the field of psychology and felt a natural and satisfying connection. I nurtured thoughts of becoming a psychotherapist or doctor as I dove headlong into all academic subjects. I enjoyed many movement forms and was a skillful athlete, yet was plagued by injury. In the fall of my senior year of high school, a ligament tear and subsequent knee surgery sealed my decision to focus solely upon academics in college; rendering conscious movement a hobby. Though disappointed not to play athletics at the university level, I was also profoundly relieved. The accumulation of chronic pain from past injuries weighed heavily on my ability to concentrate (mentally) and cope (emotionally).

 

 

Though I was internally contending with physical pain and emotional strife, I knew how important it was to excel academically if I wanted to be accepted into a great college. I was a dedicated student, even if it cost me sleep, and a balanced personal life. I applied and was accepted to the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, where I initially choose to study scientific courses such as: anatomy, physiology, physics, biomechanics, biology, chemistry and astronomy. In contrast, I also loved writing and studying literature, psychology, philosophy and sociology. During my third year I transferred out of the college of Literature, Science and the Arts and into the School of Kinesiology to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree and consciously pave the way to a healing profession; likely physical therapy (PT) or medical school.

As I neared the end of the 16-year academic trek I ruled out medical school. I could not imagine four more years of academia, plus a three-year residency. I had also begun to recognize that I could listen to and counsel others without a medical degree in psychiatry, not to mention my brewing skepticism of allopathy, symptom suppression and pharmaceuticals. However, I still felt unsure about PT school and did not apply right away. I was craving real-world experience. My body hurt, my mind longed for a broader focus, and I wanted time to contemplate, so I prepared for life outside scholastic achievement. 

 

 

Because PT did seem the most intuitive career for me, incorporating healing touch, movement, guidance and counseling, I sought hands-on experience. I wanted to experience city life, so I moved to Chicago, IL and worked as a physical therapy aide and personal trainer. I developed enough clarity and inspiration to send applications to PT programs and was accepted into George Washington's physical therapy program, but chose to defer for a year. The next year I was also accepted to Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, MI where I pursued a doctorate in physical therapy.

At this stage of my journey my interests were venturing well outside modern, western thought. An avid reader, I was studying Buddhist, Zen and Taoist philosophies as well as practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques. With my curiosity broadening and deepening, I experienced more than a little trepidation about pursuing an allopathic degree. However, I felt the credentialed knowledge would offer me an opportunity to bridge the gap between a contemporary view of health and science and the ancient, eastern healing practices and wisdom I could sense would be woven into my future.

 

 

Throughout PT school, my curiosity about alternative forms of health and well-being grew. I sought out my own research relating to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. I cared deeply about my academic and clinical education, yet was simultaneously engrossed in other paradigms, systems, theories, and methods. 

During the final year of my doctoral program, I discovered and dedicated myself to the practice of Kripalu yoga. I manifested a wonderful teacher who guided me gently and skillfully into a far clearer, expanded and trusting version of myself. I began to understand the profundity of looking and feeling "within" to heal, experience truth and recognize my creative potential.

 

 

Upon graduation and passing board exams, I entered the outpatient PT setting and quickly realized I wanted to incorporate the art and wisdom of yoga into my practice. I ventured to Massachusetts to participate in a deeply transformative 200-hour yoga teacher training (YTT) with Devarshi Steven Hartman and Jurian Hughes at the Kripalu School of Yoga and Health. As the powerful clarity invoked during my YTT settled in, I knew the integration of physical therapy, self-care and yoga was my path. I now practice and teach conscious breath engagement, holistic body awareness, therapeutic movement, receptive touch, meditation and integrative self-care.

 

 

I am voraciously interested in life... most of the time! After many years of berating myself for my sensitivity, my experience with and understanding of consciousness now helps me flow with emotional waves, rather than erecting dams of resistance to avoid feeling. I have an unquenchable desire to touch the essence of the present moment and discover practical tools for harmonious living. I am inspired by a broad range of ideas, philosophies, techniques, methods and people. My personal learning spans scientific, psychological, emotional, energetic, quantum and spiritual realms... and beyond! The knowledge and insight revealed through these sources have become inextricably woven into who I am and have guided my life and vocation immeasurably.


the practice of yoga has taught me:

  • When I link subtle breath & body awareness cues with flowing movement, I feel the intuition to move in ways that feel unique to the needs of my body, enhancing strength, flexibility and postural alignment

  • Paying attention to the breath helps me honor the sensitivity and intelligence of my body

  • Consciously connecting with the breath elicits genuine pain relief and emotional awareness

  • As I breathe more fully and the energy of my body redistributes, a healthier dynamic between my mind and body grows

  • Greater mind-body balance affords access to an inner sense of stillness and clarity

  • Resting in this stillness, I am able to witness my unconscious patterns of thought without reacting

  • Allowing a wider range of emotions to course through my body, I continue to discover how to live with greater presence and flow with, rather than resist, the inevitable waves of sensation & emotion that life brings

  • Listening more objectively to my thought stream, I experience sentient wisdom regarding the true power we hold within us to consciously shift the tide from a habitual, critical inner dialogue to compassionate, affirming self-talk

  • As I become more compassionate, I receive inner guidance regarding ways to connect, collaborate and co-create with others from internal inspiration rather than external motivation

  • As I hone this practiced state of being, my focus improves, I sleep better and when I am awake, I am more alert, aware and present to my life