About Us


Hayat Hakim

Hayat Hakim is the founder and owner of Hayat Yoga Shala. She discovered the ancient art of yoga during one of her military training deployments in 2007. It helped her cope with the stress and the ever-changing, fast pace of military life.

Middle Eastern Dance has been close to her heart from a very young age. Growing up in Syria, she believed that following the rhythms of the drums was part of everybody’s life. Combining the extended breath work of yoga with the flowy nature of yogic dance movements, Hayat opened up her heart, spirit and physical well-being.

Deploying to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2010 made her realize that sharing her love of yoga and dance had an incredible healing power to other soldiers. She knew then that she wanted to continue to teach classes upon her return to the USA.

After returning from Afghanistan in 2011, she started developing a plan to open a yoga and world dance studio in Fayetteville, NC. In 2013, after 17 years of serving in the U.S. Army as a Chief Warrant Officer, she devoted her life to sharing a piece of her culture, combined with her professional training and foundation in Yoga, Middle Eastern, lyrical, jazz & hip-hop dance, she created “ Hayat Yoga & World Dance Arts”.

That vision has evolved into the “Hayat Yoga Shala”. Shala is a Sanskrit word meaning “home.”

A Yoga Shala is a place where the physical practice of yoga is taught, but it also provides a nurturing and supportive environment for yogis to gather, share experiences and grow in their practice.

Some of Hayat’s training includes: 500hr RYT Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Dharma (currently attending) ◊ 230hrs RYT Asheville Yoga Center, NC with Stephanie Keach ◊ Yoga Warriors International, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder focused ◊ Ayurvedic Treatments with Dr. Neil, Goa, India ◊ BatsB Barre Teacher Training Program Pilates Sports Center ◊ Hot Yoga Teacher certification course Level 1 Aura Wellness Center ◊ Complete Certified Meditation Teacher Course Aura Wellness Center ◊ 40hrs Egypt Dance 1 & 2 with Sahra Saeeda Washington, DC ◊ Level 1 Certification Suhaila International Belly dance Academy Atlanta, GA ◊ 40hrs BellyFit Instructor Training ◊10 Days Dance Intensive with Bozenka Crete, Greece 2011 & 2012 ◊ 7 Days Dance Intensive with Aziza Montreal, Canada◊