Finding Your Y & B with Zaya Hastra
Everything Zaya does is full of soul – from leaving her beautiful botanical tattoo illustrations on bodies to exploring her heart through song. Born of a lineage of healers and yogi’s Zaya’s passionately curious way naturally embodies what yoga is to us. Read more about how Zaya found her “Y” and her journey to “B”-eing it.
What would you say is your “Y”?
I really feel I've found my callings! Firstly, tattooing allows me to express my aesthetic ideas and love of drawing/ doodling. I've always loved client facing jobs (even in pubs and bars when I was younger), because I love meeting people and making them happy or improving their day. Therefore, it's a real blessing to be able to give them a gift that lasts their whole life! In terms of music, it's just engrained in me. I connect to it on a really emotional level, and am easily brought to tears by a song. To put it simply, I'm most happy when I'm singing.
How do you keep you “Y” fresh and inspired?
My main inspiration in my tattoo work is flowers and leaves, so I love to keep millions of houseplants! Just seeing the way they react to water and sunlight amazes me - they're living beings just like us. My clients also keep me fresh, in the sense that they ask for wildflowers, herbs and plants that I've never heard of! It lets me dive deeper into my botanical knowledge, learning the names and the different ways that they grow or are formed.
What activities/hobbies led you to your “Y”
I've always been artistic; spending hours in after-school Art club, or writing and recording songs as a squeaky and enthusiastic 11 year old! It was natural progression to study Art at University (Chelsea College of Art), although I don't feel that really shaped me as the artist I am today. My favourite past works were in GSCE and A Level, where I felt free to paint large, colourful, abstract pieces, focusing solely on the emotion of the piece, and the aesthetics - and was less concerned with the concept behind them. University was so concept driven that it distanced me from the work. I think that's why I truly love tattooing, because it's a mainly visual art form, and feels much less pretentious.
What has finding your Y/Purpose brought to your life?
Being able to financially support myself through tattooing has been such a blessing, as I am now able to cut back my hours slightly and spend more time focusing on music. This is an amazing thing for a musician, as typically it's quite hard to support yourself whilst building a career in music. I've also met and tattooed countless people who inspire me; my life is so much more colourful, diverse and interesting than when I began two years ago!
Do you feel like Yoga/Meditation have been instrumental in your "B"-eing - in what way?
I've been practicing yoga and meditation on and off for about 10 years now. I use Pranayama techniques such as Nadi Shodhana whenever I feel nervous or have something important to do - such as an exam or gig, and it really helps to ground me and keep me level-headed! Day to day I have a very busy-mind, and sadly an addiction to my phone! I'm always switched on - looking at messages, emails, drawing and such - therefore my morning time on the yoga mat is essential. It relieves my back pain after sleeping, gives me a bit of 'me' time before the busy day starts, and helps keep me connected to my higher-self and guides.
Best piece of advice or words you have for people looking to find their "Y" and follow their dreams.
I'm a strong believer in 'manifesting'. The words we say or the thoughts we have will manifest, and will become a reality. So make sure what you're saying is positive, and productive! If you have self-depreciating thoughts, say 'these are not my thoughts' and replace it with something different, something utterly over the top and loving <3
Follow your true passions in life - don't get stuck in a monotonous job where you're unhappy, and just biding time. The time is now to follow your dreams... Believe in yourself!
What song makes you feel excited & brave & resonates with your "Y"?
Bad bad news by Leon Bridges - no particular reason it just GETS ME GOING!
How do you feel about New Years resolutions?
I've personally never stuck to resolutions; I'm a yoyo-er in every aspect of my life therefore they'll be forgotten very soon after they're made! My motivation changes like the wind, one day I'm juice cleansing, the next I'm eating a bucket load of biscuits. One week I'm meditating twice a day, another I'm on strike. My resolution this year would be to make less resolutions, and somehow find more balance and consistence in my general life and diet.
Favourite Book to keep you inspired
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda - best book I've ever read.