Soul People – Hayley

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Name: Hayley Mia
Age: 29
What is your role at Soul&Surf? I teach people how to bend and how to breathe 🙂

How did you come to be at Soul & Surf?
One of my dear friends shared a post with me on Facebook a few years back that Soul and Surf were looking for a Yoga teacher. I initially only came for 2 months but just like most of us, couldn’t wait to come back again.

What does Soul mean to you? 
Soul to me is the part of us that is our truest form, its the person we aspire to be, its our passion, our warmth, our vitality our inspiration and our emotion. Its the you that’s always smiling from within even when you’re having a tough day.

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What inspires you about your work?
Everything! I teach simply because it is the most satisfying, heartwarming job to connect with your students and, ultimately help them to lead a healthy, positive, fulfilled life.

What’s next for you?
I keep asking myself that question at the moment and i’m yet to come up with an answer, as soon as I have i’ll let you know 🙂

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Stuff We Like – Beyond the Break

 

The story of a group of pro surfers who have left the international surfing circuit in order to grow organic vegetables on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Mat, Fergal, Mitch and all the crew are creating a sustainable community that focuses on taking care of the earth, sharing the crops they grow and surfing really really good waves.

Great work from the Perennial Plate

 

Soul People – Tom & Jen Harvey

We love all of our guests and hear a lot of incredible stories around the villas both in Kerala and Sri Lanka. We wanted to bring these to the Journal, starting with Jen and Tom (a.k.a. “Stretch” – he’s 6’6”)

Jen and Tom came to Soul & Surf in Sri Lanka to take a break from their busy schedules as full time yoga instructors and business owners. They are currently undergoing a design build of their brand new yoga space and home in Cornwall. We talked to them about how they started their business; what it’s like working together as a couple; what inspires them; and other fun bits about this dynamic, and gracious couple.

 

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What do you guys do?
We both teach yoga full time at our studio Oceanflow Yoga and run an online yoga clothing (and accessories) shop.

Where’s Home?
Newquay, Cornwall in the UK

How did you come to be at Soul & Surf?
We were looking for a trip that would be fun, sociable and included our favourite hobbies – surf & yoga! We’d never visited Sri Lanka before, so to have the guides take us around to different breaks and share their knowledge of the area was invaluable.

We believe in the importance of making time for yourself and doing the things you love. Travel is a high value for both of us, so what better way to travel than to combine a visit to a new pace with our favourite pastimes!

How did you first get interested to start surfing and yoga?
Stretch has been surfing since he was 3 years old! He grew up on the surf beaches of North Cornwall so not too hard to learn at a young age! Jen started practicing yoga 15 years ago and fell so in love with it. Becoming a teacher seemed natural to share it with others.  Stretch quickly following suit, so we can work and play together! In both practices, there is the moment where the whole world falls away and time becomes still. Whether it’s the focus on the caught wave or mastery of a pose – the experience of ‘now’.

Give us a brief overview about what you’ve done to get yourself to where you are today?
We had a big epiphany about 4 years ago where we were both living to work in jobs that didn’t fulfil us, and actually living in a lot of stress that we didn’t truly recognize until we left it. Our bodies and minds were exhausted and failing health is always a sign that you’re not living your purpose. It took a lot of faith and courage to trust the signs we were getting to move on but SO glad we did. We had no idea what it was we were supposed to be doing but we let a higher force guide us in our decisions. We set up our own yoga businesses that have proved to be highly successful, building a huge yoga community in the space of 3 years and this is just the beginning.

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What inspired or motivated you to start your own yoga business?
Knowing how much yoga has helped us in the past with body issues, injury recovery and dealing with mental and emotional challenges, we were incredibly motivated to create a space where we could share that with others. Creating our own studio provided a sanctuary where people can come to classes, workshops or private sessions with us to learn what it is they need.

How is it starting a business and working together as a couple?
Both amazing and terrifying in equal measures really. We put all our energy and finances into this project and had to trust that it would work. It was brilliant to have each other to lean on and we both had different skills to bring in to the business that ended up being quite commentary in making it run. We have to have some rules though about when talking ‘shop’ is off limits so that we can simply enjoy each other’s company, which can be challenging as we work and live at home!

You are currently working on expanding your studio and opening a new space – how has the process of designing and construction being going for you?
It’s turning out to be quite a long process – what’s in your head doesn’t necessarily translate well to paper and there are a few compromises having to be made! We’re just at the planning stage at the moment so until that first brick gets laid, I’m sure Stretch will be trying to change things about to how to get the best design for our home and studios!

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Tell us a little bit about your yoga studio and teaching style.
We have converted our home to create the studio – we knew as soon as we saw it that it was what needed to happen! You have to visit to really understand! It’s a 4 story building where the top floor is the vinyasa studio where Jen teaches and she works in quite a unique style. Having training with traditional Chinese medicine, her vinyasa and relaxation classes always have an intention to bring an energetic balance to people, through movement and connection to the environment (the seasons). Stretch teaches beginners up there too with a real passion for alignment in vinyasa flow but with emphasis to be accessible and inviting to people new to yoga. As a surfer he loves teaching surf-yoga, trying to get people to warm up before they hit the waves! We also have a Hot studio down in the bottom of the building where we get the Bikram lovers and we both teach here too. In the building, we also have our shop which we run online mostly, an office, changing rooms and finally our bedroom! We have also started to build our team to reflect the addition of classes and styles so there will be six of us teaching here starting in 2017!

What inspires you about your work?
To help others in our community and to offer guidance whether through yoga, meditation or just simply talking and listening to what’s going on for them. When we work with ethnocentric intention, it is always a joy!

 Is there an inspirational moment or something that you’ve learned during your stay at in Sri Lanka and/or at Soul and Surf that you will bring back with you and be able to use in your everyday life or business?
We have enjoyed every single part of our trip here and really can’t thank Soul & Surf enough. The customer service you all have here is impeccable and it has inspired us to take that back to our business. Nothing has been too much trouble, no matter what we’ve thrown at you! Additionally, the special moments – from celebrating birthdays and the first time someone stood up on a wave – have been met with genuine excitement and enthusiasm, even though the staff must see it every week! The authenticity that the staff shows is incredibly inspiring and very moving.

What does Soul mean to you?
Soul is true essence, of feeling deep connection with where you are and what you’re doing.  It’s effortless and light. When you are guided by your soul, every experience is sweet and easy.

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Check out www.oceanflowyoga.co.uk to learn more about Tom & Jen’s studio and community in Newquay and stop by for a visit or a drop in class if you are in the area.

Photos: Alejo Achaval

Media – Pipeline Magazine

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Surfers Against Sewage are leading the way in protecting our seas. We’ve been huge fans ever since their iconic environmental work in the 90s with guerilla style campaigns like the one below.

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We joined the 1% for the planet scheme a few years ago and have been supporting SAS by donating 1% of our annual profits to help them keep on fighting the good fight.

We’re super stoked that they chose to feature our work with Water For Waves in India in their latest issue of Pipeline Magazine.

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Stuff We Like – Eunioa

 

EUNOIA from Desillusion on Vimeo.

This beauty comes from the man behind Desillusion , Sebastien Zanella. If only all surf films were shot like this.

Stuff We Like – Loving Lanka

Loving Lanka from Sebastian Linda on Vimeo.

Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the most photogenic places in the world. German film maker Sebastian Linda spent some time here last year and produced this epic short covering all corners of the island. Want to come and visit now?!

 

 

Happy Guests – Kayla

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We get some incredible, beautiful and inspiring people staying with us at Soul & Surf. Some of them even go home and write about it. Kayla came over from the UK and had never surfed before, by the end of her stay she was cruising! Check her story HERE.

Soul People – Rakhul

What makes Soul&Surf tick? The amazing bunch of people that work with us of course. Soul People will introduce you to some of the incredible people we work in both Sri Lanka and India.

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Photo: Steve Coombes

Name: My name is Rakhul, find me on Facebook
Age: 25
Where’s Home? I’m from the Western Ghats
What’s your role at Soul&Surf: 
I’m working as a surf instructor in Varkala

How did you start surfing?
I came to visit a friend at S&S and I started to work in the café. I’d seen surfing before but when I got here I had free time so I went for a surf lesson, it was the first time in my life on a surfboard, I was so excited but a bit scared.

I’m from the mountains so I’d never had experience in the ocean or with waves. My first lesson was terrible, I couldn’t even lie on my surfboard but I loved it so I started surfing with the other guys at S&S. On my 6th lesson I stood up and was so excited I fell off. I was fist pumping and telling everyone I got a green wave and was so happy that I didn’t eat all day.

From then I went out whenever I had free time, to catch waves and wipe outs, and when a guest gifted me a surfboard I felt braver to go out on my own. I went for every wave so I learnt how to read the ocean and helped out the surf team whenever I could, going with them and watching what they were doing. I joined in helping people and they liked me so the next season I applied to work as an assistant surf coach. I did half and half café and surf. Then after a while I moved to the surf team full time and went for my qualification. I’m now the 9th person in India to have qualified as a surf instructor. 

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Photo: Steve Coombes

What does Soul mean to you?
Soul is your attitude, your personality, soul means to become a nice good person which is what I try to do.

What inspires you about your work?
I have a lot of fun and I get to meet so many cool people, I have friends all over the world. I get to have fun with the waves, it makes you feel happier being in the sea and being a part of what’s going on.

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Photo: Pete Chamberlain

What’s your goal for the future?
I want to make a rap album and I’d love to keep teaching surfing. It’s a new thing in India so I’d like to be one of the leaders in that for my country. I want to travel and surf in different places, I went to Bali and Sri Lanka for the first time this year and I loved it.

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Photo: Pete Chamberlain

Soul People – Varghees

What makes Soul&Surf tick? The amazing bunch of people that work with us of course. Soul People will introduce you to some of the incredible people we work in both Sri Lanka and India.

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Photo: Steve Coombes

Name: My name is Varghees
Age: 26
Where’s Home? Kovalam, Kerala
What’s your role at Soul&Surf: I’m a surf instructor

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Photo: Steve Coombes

How did you start surfing?
I dropped out of school when I was 14 and a year later met a Belgian guy called Paul who runs a charitable school for dropouts. I started there and every weekend there were outdoor games which the volunteers there helped with. We used to play football and go the beach and one day one of the volunteers Jelle who knew how to surf offered to teach me. I’d never heard of surfing before because it’s not a thing in India. I trained really hard and loved it, it’s so much fun and really frees your mind. I got a job at the Kovalam Surf Club and became an ISA Surf Instructor. Ed & Sofie visited my school one day, spoke to Jelle about my story and offered me a job at Soul & Surf.

What does Soul mean to you?
Soul means respect and a peaceful way of living

 

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Photo: Pete Chamberlain

What inspires you about your work?
I love surfing because its so much fun. If you’re feeling anything; sadness or frustration or anything like that you just take your board, go surf and it refreshes your mind. It’s different every time you go out, every wave is different to the last and the feelings you have change all the time.

What’s your goal?
I haven’t thought about my future too much, I just want to keep surfing and teaching people how to surf.  One day I would love to set up my own surf school and teach other kids like me how to surf.

My life has completely changed because of Paul, Jelle and Ed, I would have been a fisherman still if it wasn’t for them. I’ve met lots of people by being at the beach and have got to travel to Portugal, Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands. My favourite place to surf is probably the Andaman Islands and a secret spot near to my home town.

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Photo: Steve Coombes

Stuff We Like – All for a few good waves

David Carson – All For a Few Good Waves from Dress Code on Vimeo.

David Carson is arguable one of the most famous graphic designers in the world. After serving as art director for iconic magazines, Transworld, RayGun and BeachCulture, he set up his own studio and now live and surfs in the BVIs, and despite being over 60, he still rips.

 

Guest Reviews

Thanks for a great stay at Soul & Surf…truly amazing trip and so nice to take time out! Truly inspiring and lovely people and actually our stay was just great and have a lovely moleskin full of notes and now working my way through the ‘to do’ list!

Helen, Cornwall