SHAN MAHER /// YOGI, GYPSEA, WRITER & ADVENTURER

Shan and I first connected thanks to the Go Light Our World organization. We were both asked to be global ambassadors for the GLOW projects and I was quickly inspired by her beautiful pictures and powerful words on Instagram --- one reason I love social media. About 6 months after I became an official ambassador, Kayla, our GLOW Goddess Leader (check out her interview here), sent me an email asking if I wanted to be a part of the GLOW Bali Adventure Retreat along with her and Shan -- that begins in less than 2 weeks, by the way! I was a big yes for the retreat! I was beyond stoked and felt like it was fate. Shan seemed like one of my soul sisters, especially after we had a Skype date to chat about our plans for the Retreat. We connected instantly. Her message is powerful, her light shines bright, and she is wise beyond her years. I can't wait to squeeze this girl in just a few days, but for now read more about this inspirational Gypsea Yogi below.

Name? Shan

Where are you from? Southern California!

What do you do? I write my feelings, document my travels, teach a little yoga and adventure a lot!

How did you find yoga? What led you to teach? I found yoga when I was in college. I had gone a few times with some of my girlfriends but it never really stuck. It wasn’t until I started seeing a therapist after my father passed that yoga actually found me. 

My therapist at the time suggested Yoga as an emotional release. It worked out really well that a studio had just opened up a couple months prior located a few blocks from my house! 

The first class hooked me. I felt for the first time in a long time at ease and the chatter in my mind was put to rest. I remember walking out of the room and purchasing a membership right then and there.

I started going twice a day and would even wake up at 5 am to make it happen. My room mates thought I was nuts.

I was having a really hard time dealing with reality during my Junior year in college, I had switched my major four times at this point and my fourth advisor finally broke the news to me during one of our meetings that it was going to take 2 more years for me to get a degree. Apparently I had built up a lot of credits in various programs but not enough to fill one major. I was devastated. It seemed like everything was going wrong and I left her office thinking about how I was having such a rough go with life (I was fond of throwing myself pity parties at the time).

Flash forward to the next morning in yoga class, the owner of the studio was giving out adjustments. As she was walking around she spoke to the class about how important it is to follow your dreams and be who it is you want to be. As she got to me she said “and you can be the best hatha teacher in the entire world” and she gave my leg a loving squeeze. 

I thought it was a sign and as it turned out, it was.

The next week the owner came up to me and told me if I wanted to do teacher training she would sponsor me! I hugged her and called my mom immediately. After an hour or two on the phone it was decided that my path was taking me away from a degree and into the world of yoga.

I’ve never looked back.

#1 Daily Health Ritual you never skip? I make it a point throughout the day to check in with myself and see where I am at mentally and physically. I feel that it is important to acknowledge what it is that we are feeling so that we can harness it to the best of our abilities and honor our own self.

How did you get involved with Go Light Our World? Kayla had found me on instagram after we both won a Teeki clothing contest last year! We spoke on the phone a few times and I ended up hosting a couple classes for GLOW when I was living in Washington. After I moved to California Kayla and I finally connected in person at a beach in Encinitas where we spent a few hours talking about travel and Africa, of course. 

A few months later we were texting about GLOW’S first retreat in Mexico and she asked me to come as one of the Vegan Chefs. I of course in all caps replied “FUCK YES”. Our trip to Mexico was wonderful, we bonded quite a bit (it was the tarot) and honestly the rest was history. I have such a love for this woman, she has wiggled into my heart space and I am forever grateful that we connected. She has created something so beautiful, and I am proud to be apart of it!

What do you love most about being a “Goddess?” The pure connection to myself, the earth, and the humans that inhabit her.

I used to be very disconnected from my body, and would not even acknowledge my emotional body. Now this couldn’t be further from the truth! Since learning to accept my emotions for what they are and recognizing that as a woman I have every right to not only feel but also express them, I’ve witnessed myself gain strength. This strength has come from learning how to tune in and trust my instincts. The more I acknowledge my emotions and truly let myself feel, the stronger I become.

I know now in this moment more than ever that I am stepping into my own power and it’s fucking beautiful.

Best advice you’ve ever received? This is a hard one. I have received a plethora of advice over the years. However, I would say the best advice someone has given me is to believe in myself.

It was actually a statement that shocked my ears. At times I will go through waves of not believing in myself. In the past this has inherently halted my growth, stunted my dreams, and created a home for doubt and fear to live. I was never able to clearly see that until my friend looked me in the eye and asked me point blank why I didn’t believe in myself.

I instantly became fully aware of my emotional cycle and how this doubt and fear can overshadow even the brightest of dreams if I allowed it to. My friend had shined a light into a space that I wasn’t even aware I created. And if I'm being honest, it was a slap in the face that needed to happen.

On occasion I still have fear that will creep in but this is ok because I now hold a new perspective on fear. Each time this fear comes I know that if I am able to find the strength within myself to cast it aside something brilliant will happen that will change me for the better.

Best advice that you can give? Trust & believe in yourself - what others say will never affect you as much as your own thoughts and feelings toward yourself do.

Why do you think it’s important for women to support other women? Because throughout Women’s history we have been conditioned into thinking that we need to do this and do that. At a young age we are sponges, we tend absorb it all - good and bad. 

We are exposed to so many external variables that mislead us, making us unaware of the fact that we do have the ability to choose for ourselves.

Its bullshit.

Women are special, we are wild and very complex creatures!

I believe that in order to get through the rough times and even just to truly experience the good times we need a strong support system. Who better to support you than others that know exactly what you are going through and who can relate to you on various levels. And each time I have gotten together with girlfriends I learn something new about myself and the world around me.

Women empowering other women is one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. When women get together it’s something you almost can’t explain, it’s pure magic.

Guilty pleasure that you’re not ashamed of? Erotic novels. I have always loved reading them for some reason and I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that until now!

Anything else you’d like to add? Hi Cait, I love you :)

Shan, I freaking love you too!

See what Shan's up to and get inspired by her powerful words by giving her a follow on Instagram & Facebook. And for more of her writing, teaching + retreat schedules check out GypseaYogi.com