Image by Alcy Sivyer
Hali has been practicing yoga for fifteen years. She started in her native country, South Africa with The Ashtanga practice. She stopped for a few years and found herself practicing again after she left dance and an unhealthy relationship at the age of 19. Through yoga, she has found acceptance and love that she had never been able to give herself and realized that she was the only one who could make herself happy. She became a yoga teacher and wellness professional five years ago. She has studied with Jared McCann, Joshua Rosenthal, Deepak Chopra, Frank Lipman, Erin Rose Vaughan and many others in the wellness community. She teaches Bikram, Vinyasa, Advanced Vinyasa, Yin and Ashtanga.
Hali was born in New York but raised in South Africa, her parents native country, and England. She has been mentioned in The New York Times, MindBodyGreen and Thrive Global. She also runs BiologiqueLife, an online magazine about living organically. She believes that everyday has been sent to us in order for our souls to flourish through challenge and gratitude.
1. How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for almost 4 years.
2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?
I came to a point in my life where I couldn't live without yoga. It may sound like an addiction; however, I live in New York and without yoga, I noticed that my anxiety increased, my stress levels went up and my faith in life narrowed. Yoga helps me expand: my breath, my body and my mind. So, with that in mind, I wanted to be a medium for others to expand too.
3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher? From Emalia Dawson, I have learnt that I, as a teacher, can be firm yet nurturing.
From Jared McCann, I have learnt many things but mostly to keep things simple and that I am worthy of what I want. From Yancy Schwartz- years ago- he told us in class to use our intelligence. These words were so powerful to me because yoga helps us access intelligence that we have always had. From Bryan Nygard, I have learnt to keep up with the current anatomy as research is always changing and scientists are discovering new things about the body. From Holly Colino, I have learnt to push myself within reason- she was my mentor during my first TT. I really also learn from every class that I take and I feel very fortunate to be able to practice.
4. How many times a week do you practice?
It depends. Sometimes everyday and sometimes 5 times a week. I don't like to get stuck in rigidity. I know when my body and mind need yoga.
5. Who inspires your practice?
Honestly, this question is a lot more difficult to answer than I thought 😀 The usuals: Kino McGregor, Jared McCann and Talia Sutra- of course. However, the conversations that I have with my friends about yoga inspire me, truly. My friends in the yoga community are people that I cherish so much and I am so grateful to have them in my life.
6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
To stay grounded and be aware of myself. So much damage comes from people being unaware and I want to avoid that. I want to be the best version of myself that I am able to be.
7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
To step outside of yourself and to honour the 5000 year-old science of yoga. We are blessed to be able to practice. Up until recently, only a small population was allowed to practice yoga. Now that we have access, we need to be cautious with it. I am an African and even though I started meditating and practicing yoga at a young age, I must be careful not to culturally appropriate and fetishize such a pure practice.
8. Where are you currently teaching?
Taking a minor break from teaching for KindGirlco. and BiologiqueLife.
9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
It's helped me pause and analyze my decisions, without judgement. Knowing that tomorrow, I can do it again differently and that how it was done before was not bad, it just wasn't how I want to do it in the future.
10. What has kept you practicing all these years?
The need to release. For some reason, I have had a challenging time in romantic relationships. A re-occurring trend in my love life is to be left or abandoned from my partner, which has been very difficult; however, yoga has helped me feel supported. Hopefully, I am learning from my mistakes and yoga has helped me deal with them in a way that makes me stronger each time. As I get stronger, I don't put up with disrespect and lack of consideration, from myself and my partner, like I used to.
11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?
Facebook: Hali Tsotetsi