Sipping a cappuccino at a Harker Heights coffee shop on a recent Tuesday morning, Tawni Lay seemed at peace with herself.
In a society of mainstream ideas, Lay, a yoga instructor, reflexologist and Reiki teacher, beats to the rhythm of her own drum.
“My hope is just to bring more light into the world to fill the dark voids,” she said simply. “The world seems to be falling apart and we need people to help keep it together.”
Lay’s lifestyle came to her intuitively, as naturally as the healing breaths she promotes in her practice with clients.
“When I was a kid, I used to massage my mom’s feet for her and realized that I had the potential to help others feel better and heal,” she said. “I’ve also struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life, so when I was 16 my mom took me to yoga, thinking it would help. I fell in love with it and have been on the path of healing practices ever since.”
Originally privately trained by yoga instructor Linda “Sevika” Ward, now of Georgetown, Lay went on to the American Vini Yoga School in Virginia in 2012 to complete her Hatha Yoga certification, and is currently working toward receiving a certification in yoga therapy from the same school, which she will complete in 2018.
“Yoga therapy focuses on specific issues or illnesses within the body,” she explained. “When the breath is flowing, life is flowing, so in moving through postures that bring more awareness to the breath, body and mind, the person becomes conscious of changes that need to occur for their health.”
In addition to being a yoga instructor, the long-time Heights resident is a wife, mother to daughter Kaya, 14, and a certified reflexologist and Reiki Master teacher.
“Reiki is essentially the energy inside all living things,” Lay said. “At the start of a session, we pray and ask for the healing of the person, who serves as a vessel for energy as we focus on the seven main Chakras, or energy areas of the body. Working on these areas can alleviate points of pain or blockage.”
In the past, Lay has used her combined skills to help soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Clinic on Fort Hood, concluding seven years at the clinic last September. She also teaches a free yoga class at the Harker Heights Activities Center several times a year.
“My mantra in life is to exist out of a place of love and service to others,” she said. “My favorite thing is to see how much better someone feels when they are done with a session, to see the glow on their face.”
Lay additionally attributes her path in life to her faith. “I have a strong faith and without it, would not be where I am today,” she said. “My faith, along with my yoga and Reiki practices, have brought me closer to God.”
The teacher, who operates out of Palacios Massage Therapy and Advanced Bodywork studio in Heights, noted that she will be offering discounted yoga therapy sessions until 2018, when her yoga therapy certification is complete.
Lay can be reached via phone at 220-0178, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or found on Facebook under The Living Lotus.