Our Tribe

HAYAT HAKIM, STUDIO FOUNDER

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.

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NAKIYA SMITH  

Nakiya loves to dance. Dance has “saved” her life on more than one occasion. In 2015, she once again sought rhythmic movement to find the answers to confusion and loss in her life . However, it was her love of dance that began her yoga journey.

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DENISE WESTENHAVER

Denise’s yoga journey began in 2004. She bought Bryan Kest’s Power yoga DVDs and started a home practice for physical fitness. She began to have a positive shift in her perspective and attitude, which she hadn’t expected. This intrigued her and led her to delve deeper into yoga, creating a strong home practice.

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LEYLA PUSKAR

Creating art is a state of mind, what you think and feel will inevitably show up in the outcome of your work. Much like how the attitude you bring to your yoga mat has an effect on your yoga practice. As an artist, Leyla employs sculpture and printmaking primarily for their requirement of thought, planning and physicality when making work. She finds the physical and mental demands of printmaking and sculpture similar to those of yoga.

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DANIELLE ROTH

Danielle was first introduced to yoga in college as an elective credit, she thought that it would be a good physical workout and a class she would enjoy. She quickly became attached with how her body felt and how she was positively effected inside and out. After her semester was over, she reached out to find studios in her area, but with no luck of finding a home studio, she continued her own practice periodically through videos and yoga like workout classes at her gym.

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ASHELY SKENTERIS

Initially, Ashely attended yoga classes as a means to counter the negative effects of a high impact fitness routine. She had begun to realize that, over time, the pavement had taken a noticeable toll on her knees and joints. Supplementing her regular exercise with yoga appeared to be a logical solution. It didn’t take long for her to recognize that the benefits of yoga far transcended simply stretching. Her mind and soul were also being nourished.

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HANNAH BRANDON

Hannah Heil Brandon was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC.  She achieved her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition with a Health Studies minor from NC State and moved back to the Ville after she graduated.  She met her future husband, Joel, and bought a cute little bungalow in Dunn.  While Hannah and Joel were dating, he empowered her to go back to school @ FTCC for Aesthetics Technology and she has been faithfully following her dharma ever since!

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CRYSTAL PLUNKETT

In today’s world, Crystal believes that we all need more Yoga in our lives and wants everyone to just try it! She first stepped onto the mat out of curiosity nearly fifteen years ago when she was stationed in Hawaii. Since then, Crystal has practiced various types of yoga (off and on) across the world from Bikram in Bangkok, to Ashtanga in Africa, and yoga/surf retreats in Bali and Costa Rica. However, it wasn’t until she was stationed here at Fort Bragg, that her practice began to truly deepen past the asanas of Yoga and into the philosophy and science of Yoga.

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LINDSEY STEWART

Lindsey has never regretted a single time she stepped onto her yoga mat. She loves yoga and is passionate about sharing it with you. She has learned a lot about yoga over the years and continues to learn with each new day.

In 2017, Lindsey did her Holistic Yoga Flow teacher training with Travis Eliot and Lauren Eckstrom. Holistic yoga flow is a series of vinyasas, controlled breathing, and some yoga philosophy, or manifesting yoga in to your life on and off the mat. Her goal as your teacher is to get you completely present on your mat while you move your body through a yoga flow that will send you to the moon.

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MANYLA MORALES

Manyla took her first yoga class in college as an elective, doubtful it would benefit her. A tragic car accident had put her on a downward spiral for several years and left her void of happiness, motivation, and a positive outlook. Her initial time on the mat was literally lifesaving. She felt the stirrings of life and positive energy reemerge after being dormant for so long. After the course, she practiced on and off using DVD’s until she moved back home in 2011 and found a studio. She was introduced to hot yoga by a friend and instantly fell in love. Over the next few years she learned to control her PTSD, depression and anxiety through yoga and meditation. She is eternally grateful for the healing path yoga opened for her.

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AMBER WARDEN

Amber first discovered yoga in college as an elective in 2009. But it was not until 2013 and during her final year of college, that she began a consistent personal practice. She was instantly drawn to both the physical and mental aspects that yoga brought to her life. In 2015 she completed her 200HR training through YogaFit, and has since started the 300HR training at Asheville Yoga Center.

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LUKE WARDEN

Luke’s journey into yoga began in 2013, when his wife introduced him to hot yoga. From that point, he was hooked. Yoga, for Luke, began more as a physical practice, but has sense grown to be so much more. Trying to find ways to balance the mental and physical stresses of his job as an Infantryman in Army, Luke began finding ways to implement yoga off the mat. This led to further studies and in 2016, he received his 200HR certification.

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BEAU MASTERSON

Beau is dedicated practitioner of Hatha/Iyengar Yoga since 1998. She is deeply grateful for the healing power of yoga for the body, mind and spirit for diverse ages and abilities. Also she is known for applications of yoga which inspire students to overcome physical and emotional difficulties in their yoga practice and life.

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JULIA MARCUZZO

Under the stars beside a crackling fire, Julia heard the wisdom of yoga and meditation – winter 2016. With one semester of college left, she entered it with a will to change her perspective. As her energy shifted, she saw her whole reality blossom and grow. For the first time, she felt beautiful and worthy of this life; all thanks to yoga quieting her mind and opening her heart enough to do in-depth spiritual work.

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ISABELLE DARLING

Meet new yogi trainee, Cardio Core Instructor and Wellness Guide Isabelle Swan-Mae Darling. Isabelle is a mental health advocate who has dedicated her work to refugees, war survivors and survivors of torture. Her work has taught her the importance of balance, the symbolic power of both water and fire, and the limitless human capacity that is revealed in the face of challenge.  For Isabelle yoga offers opportunities for transformation. How does a chest-opening position on the mat allow you to be open-hearted in your life?

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