Letesha Hallett: Strength by yoga

As a self-confessed people person, teaching whānau, school children and those undergoing drug and alcohol rehabilitation the art of yoga, is Letesha Hallett's dream job.

In the last four years, she has empowered people across Christchurch, through her Yoga Warriors business.

Following the birth of her second child, Hallett, who had always enjoyed practising yoga as a student, decided to make a career out of the art form.

“I just tried it and was hooked from then onwards.”

Hallett is now helping to make yoga become more accessible to communities, by breaking down the barriers preventing people from getting healthy and well.

“We’re in a lot of different places at the moment – schools, with families and in rehabilitation centres too. Obviously, there are always different types of people when you’re walking into those types of places. I enjoy that part of the job, where I am constantly getting to meet different people.”

While any one session was never the same, every session was about adapting to the needs of whoever she was teaching.

“It’s the first time doing yoga for most of the people we are teaching, whether we’re inside a rehabilitation centre and working with whānau. They come from all walks of life and they’re all different sizes - and everything. So being on the ball and adapting to them is the main thing.”

“As a teacher you’ve got to be really aware of what is going on and their surroundings and how they’re feeling.”

Hallett is now enjoying seeing the difference in her clients - and the role yoga is playing in their lives.

“We’re seeing awesome results. I’m seeing a huge boost in confidence in them. They start to challenge themselves and enjoy it a little bit more. A good thing is seeing them having fun because the more they enjoy something, the more they’re likely to come back.”

“Increasing physical movement is good for them too, especially if they’re in a position where they can’t leave the house."

Hallett is currently working with hundreds of young people and adults across Christchurch.

She runs classes from her St Asaph street studio, as well as whanau ora classes, external classes in schools, and classes at Te Waka Una and a Christchurch care and protection unit are in the works.

“If it proved to be working in places like that it just goes to show there is a lot more help needed and we could be needed other places.”

“There is no reason why we can’t spread the movement and help more and more people,” says Hallett, who wants anyone who is yet to do yoga, to just give it a go.

“I think it is important that you find somewhere where you are really comfortable.”

While there are many different teachers and studios out there, Yoga Warriors is unique, she says.

“Coming at it from a cultural perspective is quite important. I think Maori and Pacific can relate to us a little more.”

“We are grounded from a cultural place. The classes don’t look different, we come from the same foundations but a New Zealand manner. It just ties in together.”

Hallett is one of three wellness experts behind the creation of Hikitia Te Hā videos for All Right. It was yet another initiative that saw her match movement with cultural values.