1. Tahnee, for those of us who haven’t heard your story before, can you explain what you do and how you have gotten to where you are?
My path to this moment was driven, I think, by curiosity; if something interests me, I just won’t stop until I understand it (which never ends, I have learned). I have always been sensitive to energy and been empathetic, which I couldn’t handle as a child and young woman. I was unwell emotionally and physically in my late teens and early twenties – I had an eating disorder, regular UTIs, constant digestive issues when I did eat, adrenal burnout – it was all related. I have basically, since that time, been learning about what it means to be healthy, what exactly health is. Even when on paper I was healthy, in that all my bloods were fine, I was (after my eating disorder) a normal weight etc, but I felt malaise, not really in my body, kind of on the edge of something being out of alignment and it wasn’t really tangible but I could feel it. But I could also feel that this wasn’t ME – that there was something blocking me from emerging.
Hard to explain but I knew that if I kept going I would learn some things and find some answers. Long story short, I kept looking, kept looking, and the combination of Taoist and Yogic wisdom (and some amazing mentors/guides I met over that decade) got me over the line. I have been practising yoga since I was 15 but it took me a long time to rediscover the yoga I was first introduced to, which was emphasising prana (or Qi) cultivation and not just making random shapes for exercise. But I found it, and found ways into my body and all the pain it was holding and that process was cathartic (still is, never stops!). I also studied chi nei tsang (Taoist abdominal massage) to help deepen my relationship with my body and to help others and I have kept studying with Master Mantak Chia (and some of his students) to learn the Taoist healing arts. I found tonic herbs because I knew there was a piece missing and I suspected it was herbalism but I wasn’t drawn to Western herbs so much and TCM formulas felt a bit too prescriptive. I met Mason (owner of SuperFeast and now my baby daddy) at the studio I owned at the time (he did a workshop) and we hit it off. The herbs felt like the final piece. Meditate. Practice asana. Cultivate qi. Be careful with your thoughts. Be generous with others and yourself. Stop freaking out about food. Take your herbs. Rest. Enjoy life. Those simple things really altered my life in the most profound ways. I now am mama to a (nearly) 3-year old, run SuperFeast as the General Manager, teach yoga at Creature Yoga, and run yoga teacher trainings. And I am studying acupuncture. Typing that all out I realise I am probably insane but it kind of feels like I have all these dimensions of me that need to be expressed, you know?
2. We’re all human and not meant to be walking an ‘enlightened path’ every minute of every day. But when you do get out of alignment or a certain situation makes you feel stuck, what is your go to, to bring you back to your centre?
Breathe. Clichéd but true. I am ALWAYS amazed at how powerful closing my eyes and deep breathing is at bringing me home. Breathing in nature ramps up the feel-good factor!
I also forgive myself. I have only recently really appreciated how powerful this is; I used to be (and probably still am more than most!) extremely self-critical and judge myself for fucking up. I am trying to let that go. My acupuncturist and I have been working on this together, actually. It’s been really hard, I have had a few months of really diving deep into shame and guilt, fun stuff. Thank God I have yoga or I think I’d have run away. Yoga does this to us, our vrittis surface and we see ourselves as we are and it’s not pretty, but it also gives us the tools to navigate it. It’s an incredibly elegant system.
The final thing I do is read something beautiful. Philosophy or poetry. Ideally with a cup of tea with tonic herbs. I don’t get to do this as much with a toddler (breathing is a lot more realistic!), but before my daughter was born this was a favourite way to centre myself.
3. If you could tell your teenage self something, what would it be?
I would give her a hug. She really wanted to be loved and didn’t know that it wasn’t going to come from outside of herself. I would tell her it’s all going to be OK; I think she knows that anyway, but it’s always nice to hear it.
4. At Angea, we believe our stories begin in our wombs. Can you tell us about your practices for womb care?
I love womb care! I use a tens machine to stimulate my pelvic floor, jade eggs for similar reasons and to cultivate qi, self massage (abdomen and breasts) and less frequently, vaginal steams and vaginal massage (I was lucky enough to have three karsai sessions in Thailand before my daughter was born and I can’t wait to go back!), as well as herbs and diet to support my Blood and Qi. I am lucky to have no PMS unless I have had a particularly emotional and busy month in which I was unable to process, in which case I will sometimes have a related symptom (Heart heat, so break out on my chest, for example). But this is rare.
5. What are your top 3 non-negotiables in your life that bring you the most joy and peace?
1. Practice. Daily-ish yoga/pranayama/meditation. I am always asked how I fit in practice with a kid and a business – it is nothing fancy and it looks like whatever I can squeeze in whenever I can – usually when our daughter sleeps during the day or in the evenings while my partner puts her to bed. Typically, he takes the mornings, I take the evenings. I get to one or two classes a week, max. I use YogaGlo and The Sanctuary app and read notes from my teachers’ lectures to help keep my motivation for a home practice high. It has taken Mason and I three years to work out how we can both fit in a daily practice and keep all the rest of the cogs turning! I also try and see my teachers Paul Grilley, Mantak Chia and Rod Stryker annually – this is so important for me, I feel like I am fortunate to sit at the feet of masters and I am aware they won’t be around forever.
2. Nature. Mostly the ocean/beach as we live close and our dog needs two walks a day and the toddler can usually be convinced that this is appropriate outing. The worst thing about a business is how much time I am required to be indoors in front of a screen; I try and mitigate it as much as I can.
3. Books/art/to a lesser extent film. I love literature – I read every single day. I try to read fiction as much as possible as my work is so often heady and I enjoy the journey; I’ve been working through Neil Gaiman and am excited about Patti Smith’s new book. I also find it soothes my soul on some level to immerse myself in other people’s stories and worlds. I usually read on the Kindle, sadly (more screens!)! I worked in publishing in my early 20s and I swore I’d never get one but I have really fallen in love with mine. We still have a lot of ‘real’ books though! 🙂 I also love galleries and going to see a movie for the same reason – to immerse in another world – but again, this happens less now we have a child. And also great TV; we just finished The Deuce and it was SO GOOD.
6. What excites you the most at the moment?
I feel like we are moving into a higher collective state of consciousness. According to Yogananda’s guru we are entering a time of new energy and positive change. I would be so excited if that were true and I am practicing faith. That despite all the chaos we can find love and peace and happiness is pretty exciting, it’s what keeps me practicing yoga and taking my herbs and hugging my family.
7. Where can we find you to connect?
You can connect with me personally on Instagram at @tahneeyoga or see more of what I’m up to here. If you’d love to know more about SuperFeast and where to top up on your medicinal mushrooms, head here.