Originally from California, Tammy Hayano has been an ex-pat in various countries, as well as a world traveler for the past 14 years. Tammy took her love of travel, teaching background, and interest in transformational experiences to start Hanuman Yoga Retreat. Since its launch in 2013, she has led retreats in Bali, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii, and California. Her Manifest and Celebrate! – a New Year´s Yoga and Well-being Retreat will be held here at Xinalani this December, for the third year in a row! From December 26, 2015 to January 02, 2016, we can all receive the blessings of the New Year in Mexico.
Join Tammy for a week of connection, manifestation and celebration here at Xinalani, a unique eco-resort designed for paradise seekers. Tammy values creativity and has a unique approach to her retreats. Hanuman Yoga Retreat is intended to be an inspiring, mindful, joyful, and heart-opening experience!
Xinalani: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us and allowing our readers to learn more about you and your Manifest and Celebrate! – a New Year´s Yoga and Well-being Retreat. How did you find out about Xinalani Retreat and why is it important for you to bring your group back to our retreat in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta?
Tammy: It was a combination of detoxing and Google! I was trying to think of an inspiring place to lead a yoga retreat, but I was limiting my options to only locations that I had been to. During this time of contemplation, I was completing a one-week detox program. After detoxing, people often have a lot of clarity. I woke up on the final morning of the retreat with absolute certainty that I wanted to lead a retreat in Mexico. From there, it was the power of Google that led me to Xinalani! The amazing reviews, as well as outstanding support from the management is what made me sure of my decision to choose Xinalani. I was not disappointed. I was so touched by the hospitality there. It is not just customer service; this is the spirit of Mexico. When I returned my second year, all the staff remembered my name, and it was like a joyful reunion with many hugs and smiles. My retreat group would also comment every day on how wonderful the staff was, so I knew I had found a special place. And, of course, the location of Xinalani is gorgeous. Being able to do yoga, QiGong, and special evening programs on the beach is magical.
Tammy: Since it’s a New Year’s Retreat, I put in a lot of special touches by bringing in the spirit of Mexico and creating my own beach ceremonies. These intimate gatherings offer moments of intention and connection as we close one year and move forward to the next. We’ve also been very festive— danced with maracas and broke a piñata! By the end of the week, participants feel very motivated to continue practicing self-care and mindfulness into the New Year.
Xinalani: Tell us a little bit more about Hanuman Yoga Retreat?
Tammy: The intention of Hanuman Yoga Retreat is to create many, many tools for self-care that you take with you in your ‘tool box’. That way, you have a memory of this, and you can refer to it anytime. For example, if your body is feeling cramped up on a long flight, just go to the emergency exit aisle and do some yoga poses or QiGong. And when you’re stressed or feeling unwell, practice some breath work, do a body scan, or meditate. The retreat experience is also about connecting with the group. I think it’s amazing that a random collection of people can be brought together and dive deep into opening their hearts. It is beautiful to witness.
Xinalani: When you first started with your yoga practice, how did you feel?
Tammy: I loved the feeling of yoga when I first tried it. In my blog, I have described it as an “Incredible Hulk” moment, where I felt so much expansion with each pose along with a burst of energy. However, it did take me many years to develop the discipline to practice regularly. I still remember saying aloud, “I would never be a yoga teacher.” At that time, I thought I had to know Sanskrit, be able to do advanced poses, and practice yoga everyday.
Xinalani: Back then, did you think about bringing together all these people to follow your lead?
Tammy: Once I let those beliefs go, I realized that I could make my own ideas about yoga and leading retreats. For me, yoga is definitely not about ‘body beautiful’ and contorting your body— that’s all ego. It’s about self-care, body awareness, and feeling good. I’ve had participants of all ages, body sizes, body types, and physical limitations in my classes. For me, it’s about making yoga accessible to them, and that goes with my own learning. Whoever I receive, I welcome them.
Xinalani: How has your yoga practice influenced or improved your life?
Tammy: When I first tried yoga, I enjoyed the non-competitive and natural way to maintain fitness. However, it moved beyond that and opened many doors for me along the way: meditation, breath work, dance, energy work, developing a relationship with my self, and becoming a much more centered person.
Xinalani: What is your favorite music and/or artist? Would you have recommendations for those who would like to find inspiration in music?
Tammy: I love the music of Snatam Kaut. It’s like take a nice long bath when I hear her sing.
Tammy: Nature. It teaches me so much: having strong roots; going with the wind; blossoming and opening up like a flower; plants simply breathing in and breathing out.
Xinalani: What is your mantra today?
Tammy: There is always time to pause.
Xinalani: What is your main goal for this current year 2015?
Tammy: To not engage in any drama, whether it is the news, social media, with people, or my own thoughts. It has the effect of a runaway train on my mind, feelings and emotions once I get on board. I try to have my awareness on something without reacting or having an attachment to it.
Xinalani: If you could spread your love of life with the world, what advice would you give from your own personal experience?
Tammy: I’d say that mindfulness practices have really changed my outlook on life. Whether it’s eating, walking, working, or anything I bring my full attention to, I have a much greater appreciation for my own being and how I relate to the universe. It’s really interesting how much more I’m aware of the universe responding to my actions, and this truly makes me feel alive and amazed with life.
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