Steffy White’s yoga classes will change your life. She’s responsible for introducing a relatable, accessible approach to yoga. Her classes are fun, empowering and energising experiences, which leave you feeling calm, grateful and essentially the best version of yourself. Her classes give you the perfect opportunity to reflect, reset and calm the mind.
White’s pathway to yoga is unique, jaded by the brutal reality of the entertainment industry she took solace in yoga, which in turn opened up an unexpected journey which changed her life beyond just her profession. Today, she is an international yoga teacher, world wanderer, entrepreneur (Founder of White Light Yoga Retreats) and guiding light for her students.
Could you tell me a little about your background, where did you grow up?
I grew up in a tiny little village in the north east of Scotland. My Mum was my primary school teacher, and there were about ten people in my class, most of whom were my family or next door neighbours. It was a rural, simple and beautiful life!
You started out working as an actress, how was that?
I went to LIPA, Paul McCartney’s drama school, it was a brilliant four years of my life, studying a BA in acting, being in shows, playing and improvising. It was a very creative and inspiring place to be, surrounded by musicians, dancers, artists; it was a hub of talent. From there I moved to London and started auditioning for TV, theatre and film. I was about 22. One of my first jobs was a regular role in a children’s show on the BBC show. After that project finished, I was back on the audition scene and doing bits and pieces, but I just lost the will to audition. I didn’t want to put myself out to be judged anymore. I found it quite harmful to my mental health, never feeling good enough, and always looking to the future. The life of the actor is quite a challenging one, and I never seemed to get the balance quite right. I felt like I was never fully living my life. Instead, I was watching my life go by. That’s where yoga changed my life. I finally began to feel what it is like to live in the present.
When did you embark on your yoga teacher journey, and what was the transition like from being an actress?
I learnt my first sun salutation in my mum and dad’s living room when I was about 13. I was a weird little kid, and I liked the idea of yoga from a young age. But it was on and off, a love affair that never lasted. When I hit my low points in my early twenties, I returned to yoga. When things hit a low, I decided to give myself some space, and I headed to India to begin my first teacher training. At this point I didn’t know I was going to give up my acting career, I just knew I needed to do something. Within just a few days of being there, everything began to change.
Yoga can be an intimidating practice for people to start. What advice would you give to someone wanting to explore one?
Find a teacher you resonate with, someone who’s kind, and smiles and learns your name. That way it will be more likely you continue and head back week after week. And that’s the key to practice; you’ve got to arrive and do the work. No one’s going to do it for you!
Can you describe your day-to-day life? How does the day usually start and end for you?
It starts with a prayer, and what I mean by prayer is I say THANK YOU! For my comfy bed, my beautiful boyfriend, my health, whatever comes to mind. I get up, then take some time on my mat to sit with myself, breathe, practice yoga. The end of the day is very similar, time reflecting on all that I am grateful for, quiet time with my man, making non-harmful food, just normal things really.
What aspects of your yoga practice do you harness in other areas of your life?
I want to think I try to harness all aspects of yoga in all areas of my life. For me, yoga is not something that is just done on a yoga mat. Yoga is a way of life — non-violent, non-greed, truthfulness, and living simply without excess. These things are important to me and a big part of my practice and a benchmark to what is important. I am by no means perfect, and I am a human living in London. But the practice of yoga, in all it’s forms tunes my strings and brings me back to who I am. It allows me to focus on my truest essence time and time again, even when I am swayed from the path, practising yoga brings me back to my centre.
You have built a real community around the work you do with retreats, workshops and a really open and honest dialogue via social media. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of this community for you?
Community is everything; I am not someone who wants to walk this path alone. Or head to the caves to understand the meaning of life. For me, the meaning of life is this, how we share it, how we connect, how we affect the lives of others. This is why I love yoga and share it with such passion and enthusiasm. We really can change the world by coming together. We cannot do it alone!
What’s your philosophy on how to stay happy and healthy in this fast-paced world?
Breathe. Stop. Trust. Slow down. You’ve got this. You are enough. Let go.
PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY AND LOOK INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S EYES!
Travel is an important part of your life, how do these journeys inform you’re your creativity and your practice?
I have just got back from Bali where I was leading a retreat, and I can honestly say that being there inspires me so much. I love London, but I am in a very privileged position where my work takes me away every month. This space away from London does with new surroundings and being immersed in nature is pure magic for me. I come back brimming with ideas, healthy, vibrant, slower, softer and more in-tune. Getting out of London and sleeping with the trees is the best medicine.
What are the best and most challenging parts of your career?
I have to spend a lot of time in the day to day working on my own. I can get stuck on my laptop planning all my retreats, training and workshops and I get a lot of emails, filled with questions. So, I find that hard. Because it’s not my mission, being on a computer, I want to be with people, sharing yoga, connecting, doing the work! But right now, I am a one-woman band, so I do everything.
What keeps you so passionate and focused?
I want everyone to experience the deep magic and healing of the path of yoga. I am so passionate because I’ve seen it first hand, I have experienced and still do constantly myself. I am powered by yoga. It is in every living cell of my body. It is everything.