Sjana, pronounced ‘See-ah-nah’, is a 500 hour RYT yoga instructor and a published author of poetry and photography collection book, ‘You Will Rise’. A beautifully thoughtful, talented, and intuitive soul, she shares her experiences of exploring the world, her love of journaling and her devotion to yoga with an audience that not only spans across Australia but the globe.
Constantly trying to better herself and encouraging others to do the same has become her dharma, her purpose in life. Sharing thoughts and moments of her life and how she came to stop just surviving but to start living, are raw and honest words that remind us that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that you are all the empowerment you need.
Similarly, our mission at By Charlotte is to help empower and inspire those on their spiritual journey to enlightenment. Enlightenment comes once we have found peace and balance of mind, body and soul. Removing ego, embracing our individual voice, and showing compassion to those around us are crucial steps to reaching a higher state of being.
Opening and aligning our seven energy chakras is a powerful and effective way of finding that balance. Our seven energy chakras can have a huge effect on our physical and mental wellbeing, and those with a holistic approach to health, emphasise the importance of ensuring there is alignment within.
Charlotte was inspired to create and dedicate a collection to the sacred chakras, marrying each chakra with healing gemstones and empowering mantras. The collection was designed with the intention to bring balance to the seven chakras and alignment to mind, body and soul.
Sjana knows firsthand the importance of the relationship between mind, body and soul. Embodying everything we stand for and believe in, she is a beautiful example of how you can heal and thrive by tapping into your truth through self-reflection, discovery, and self-love rituals such as yoga. Just as Charlotte believes, Sjana also believes that all women deserve to feel empowered in their own skin, and it was these beliefs and truths that resonated with us and why we were so eager to create a collaboration with Sjana.
After exploring a number of treatment options to help deal with past trauma and anxiety, Sjana found yoga to be the practice that aided in her recovery. She documents her life openly and honestly and shares how years of working on herself has led her to be able to now share this experience with others. Mindfulness is another practice she holds close to her heart, a practice we too love for its simplicity yet incredible ability to tap into deeper thoughts and intentions.
Sjana’s journey is truly inspiring and we could not be more excited to introduce her as the muse and face of our new collection, ‘Align Your Soul’.
Traveling to the Byron Bay hinterland, we met with Sjana for a magical day of light and laughter to bring to life our ‘Align Your Soul’ collection. Sjana is as gorgeous in real life as she appears in her images. Although it’s her infectious energy and happy soul that left a lasting impression on us.
For those who do not know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Of course! Hey, I’m Sjana (pronounced Si-ah-nah) but you can call me SJ! I’m on my 26th rotation around the sun in this lifetime, and loving every bumpy lap haha! I was born and raised in Newcastle, NSW and grew up playing every kind of sport you can imagine and always at the beach! I experienced anxiety and depression in my mid-late teens, so left school in year 10 due to being in a psychiatric ward for a period of time and ended up going to university at 16 completely unsure of what I wanted to do or be. Through this process, I moved away from home and up to QLD and discovered yoga at 18. This was a really pivotal discovery, even though I had no idea just how transformational for me the practice could and would be. Not just for my healing journey, but also in regards to how it would influence and shape my life, friendships and even my career!
Now I teach yoga internationally (well, before covid happened anyway haha!) and am also working on some very exciting things that I cannot wait to share with you!
I enjoy spending as much time in nature as possible, but also a Type A go-getter so I’m always building or working on something! Poetry is another love of mine, and I also found writing as a tool for expression in my recovery from depression, and have recently compiled a bunch of my writings and Penguin Random House Australia published my poetry and photography book “You Will Rise” at the end of 2020.
Where do find your abundance of energy?
I think going through depression and suicidality in my late teens, helped me to see every single moment as an opportunity for expansion, transformation, surrender and wonder! I’m just thankful to exist – and that alone gives me energy and makes me feel vibrant! A desire to do, see, experience and share as much as this lifetime and world has to offer
…and the sun also plays a huge factor haha. I’ve always felt solar-powered!
How do you find alignment in mind, body and soul?
It’s different every day. When I feel out of alignment, I like to check in and see if I can pinpoint where in my body the imbalance is situated – this is usually in a meditation or just closing my eyes and placing one hand on my heart, one hand on my belly and deeply breathing with curiosity and presence. And then I ask myself what is that sensation trying to tell me? What do I need? I believe any sensation we can experience in our bodies is simply our energy trying to communicate with us the best way it knows how. So learning to sit with it and dance with it has been deeply healing in my own journey.
And then rebalancing if possible – usually moving my body (yoga, running, walking barefoot in nature, swimming, dancing or shaking or jumping), other times it can be ecstatic breathwork, time in self pleasure, chanting, singing, screaming or time in my fluid feminine creative – art, clay play, cooking, drawing, writing etc or sometimes it’s giving myself permission to exist in the womb of No-Thing for a few minutes, and enjoying the vast spaciousness that is my sovereignty.
What drew you to practicing yoga?
Initially the physical practice – the Asana. But the more I got to know the practice, the better I knew myself, and this lead to an insatiable desire to learn more and more! Almost a cosmic magnetism if you will haha!
Once I did my teacher training and learned more about the teachings, philosophy and what it truly meant to be in the practice of yoga, the practice of pure devotion to the self and connection to source, I didn’t even had a choice! It was as if my entire being knew this is where I was meant to be and what I was meant to be doing!
So I suppose fate did!
Which is your favourite yoga pose, and why?
I’m a sucker for inversions! They’re playful but also require my full and unwavering presence. They’re an upside down meditation haha!
But at the same time, my favourite yoga pose isn’t one particular pose at all.
I can witness the importance of every pose, and notice the way I embody it differently each and every time I step on to my mat.
even the poses I find the most uncomfortable are where the greatest growth occurs.
I love the moments of transition between the postures too - the fluidity of the vinyasa practice. The way it isn’t one pose after another, but the dance created by the combination of an entire sequence.
Can you tell us why you practice mindfulness and your favourite mindfulness ritual?
It ‘s a no-brainer really haha! Once you FEEL just how powerful and beneficial a mindfulness practice can be for your body, mind and soul, you will not require any kind of motivation to continue devoting yourself to it every day. It speaks for itself really.
All it requires is an intention, an openness, and a couple of belly breaths. Then you can expand and invite whatever feels right for you that day, and for however long.
I ensure I make time to prioritise my mindfulness practice and time to sit each day purely because it feels like I am gifting myself with that time and space. It’s like a little treat!
My favourite mindfulness rituals are transitory, constantly changing and shapeshifting. Things like journaling, dancing naked, earthing in nature, meditation and sensory embodiment practices, breathwork, blessing my food before I eat it, and entering any interaction with full presence, and intention.
What empowers you as a woman?
Connecting deeply to myself, other women and to Mumma Gaia.
I love remembering that we are all one. Knowing that the same magnificence I see in a sunrise, also lives in you and I. The same power of a gushing waterfall, also flows in you and I. The heat of a fire, the resilience of the forest, the pull of the moon, the vastness of the galaxy, the beauty in every unique moment, also lives in you and I . – that empowers me as a woman.
Is there a mantra that inspires you?
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” – Translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may my thoughts, actions and words contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all”.
Or “So Hum” meaning “I am that” -It’s about unity and oneness, and the balance of both feminine “so” and masculine “hum” energies to understand our inward divinity.
The Ho’oponopono Prayer is one of my eternal favourites and always seems to resonate:
“I’m sorry, Please Forgive me, thank You, I Love you”.
Can you share with us how we can try to shift our mindset when we’re having a bad day?
I try to separate myself from the emotion/experience, just for a moment. Again, I enquire within and see what my body is trying to communicate and then give it what it needs.
This could be nothing, and I allow myself to embody and embrace feeling like crap. It’s okay and within our nature to continually move through phases and emotions fluidly. Some emotions don’t need to be “fixed” they just need to be really truly FELT.
Other times it’s having a cold shower, finding the softness of forgiveness and stepping away from the ego. Usually, it’s flowing on my yoga mat to some music or diving in the ocean or calling a friend or making some “bad” art.
I like to ask myself “Is this hurting me, or helping me?” and “What is it teaching me?”. “Is the way I am reacting something I believe to be aligned with my higher self? And something my 5yr old self would be proud of?”.
Self enquiry is proving again and again to be helpful in any scenario for me haha!
What makes your heart sing?
Watching people do what they love. Connecting with someone’s soul, and conversating with their heart not their superficial self. Making mistakes, because they are often followed by a lesson and a break-through. Sunrise or sunsets.
Finding psychological flow and losing track of time. Witnessing growth and expansion (of myself but mostly others) especially in their emotional evolution and in their yoga journeys – I love hearing from my students about the way certain flows or postures or words resonated within their existence.
Inspired by the seven chakras, the meaningful jewels from our ‘Align Your Soul’ collection are beautiful reminders to honour yourself through mind, body and soul. Allow each gemstone and mantra to vibrate through your being, allowing you to heal, rebalance and align as you welcome your dharma, your purpose.