Haley Marie Walker's relationship with yoga began at a very young age and has strengthened over the last decade. Her introduction began with Bikram and over the years her desire to be challenged more mentally and emotionally lead her to practice and teach Vinyasa classes in Florida and Michigan. As an adventuring spirit, she has traveled to and lived in several different regions of the United States and the world. However, while change has been a frequent theme of her teens and early-20s, dedication to the practice and philosophy of yoga has been a constant. In September 2011, Haley moved to New Hampshire to enroll in the YogaLife Institute's Teacher Training Program. Having had the opportunity to deeply engage in a variety of yoga traditions, Haley offers a diverse knowledge base both physically and philosophically. With each class, she seeks to offer yoga as a grounding reprieve to people of all ages and abilities, giving an experience filled with peace, grace and strength.
An excerpt from Haley's graduation speech from the YogaLife Institute I have lived in five different states or countries in the last five years. I have graduated from two different academic programs and now one yoga program. I have lost several of the most important relationships of my life. I have gained perhaps the most important relationships of my life. I have fractured my leg, broken a few fingers, sprained my ankle, and torn my hamstring. I have gotten lost and had to rely on complete strangers in foreign countries to point me in the right direction. I have been in the best and worst health of my life. These past five years have certainly been pivotal. However, the one constant throughout all of it has been my daily yoga practice. I have practiced at 3 and 4 a.m. on nights when the only thing I could do was focus on writing my thesis. I practiced the day that I walked across a stage to receive my master's degree in journalism. I have practiced with the tarantulas and bees on a farm in Ecuador. I have practiced on the floor of my childhood room. I have practiced on the porch of a farmhouse in Vermont after finishing my Americorps job of building bridges with teenagers. I have practiced with those teenagers in the woods and on top of the bridge we completed. I have practiced inside a small house in New Hampshire, while snow fell outside. I have practiced on a beach on the coast of Florida. I have practiced completely alone and in rooms of dozens. In other words, nearly everything about my life has changed in the last few years. However, yoga has been my constant. This is how I hope it remains. While my life may continue to be a mess of places, professions and experiences, I know that I will always have my practice. What this program has helped me realize is that even when I do not have my mat in the same place every day, week or month, I can always be flexible enough with myself to find my connection to it again. I have also been provided with the knowledge that there is so much more to yoga than the asanas. While I was somewhat aware that yoga was more than the postures, I don't believe I had ever really practiced and felt that knowledge as much as I have in the past several months in the YogaLife teacher-training program. As many of you know, I began yoga early in my life and considered it to be only a workout. Even when I eventually became a college student and would teach it, I still continued to approach it as mostly physical. I drove to my first workshop here all the way from Northern Vermont. Something about the questions that Julie asked me on the phone earlier that week pulled me in to this place. As we discussed the yoga sutras during the workshop, my heart raced feeling like I didn't know enough about the philosophy behind yoga. But, I was reminded that yoga is a constant journey, and we will always be gaining new information. At that point, I felt at ease, and I knew that this was the kind of supportive place for me to gain the knowledge about yoga that I had been missing for years. For a wandering spirit, it is always good to find a place to call home.