Along your travels, you’ve undoubtedly met someone who wants to be a professional yoga teacher or DJ. For many people, they sound like dream jobs. That’s why I’m excited to bring you two people who have made these careers their reality.
Taya Smythe was one of my favorite yoga teachers while I was living in Ventura and practicing at Jai Rhythm. She has a sassy personality that’s different from any other teacher I’ve had.
Her boyfriend Ian, aka DJ HyFi, is a music producer and DJ who specializes in performing with yoga classes. Last winter, I was lucky enough to take a class at which he performed, and it was awesome — kind of like a yoga rave (right up my alley!).
After leaving Ventura, I didn’t think I’d see either of them again, but I was wrong. We all attended World Domination Summit this summer, where Ian DJed our successful attempt to break the world record for the most people doing yoga.
That’s when I realized they’d be perfect seasonal workers of the month. If you want to learn about pursuing your passions and becoming fluent in what you do, keep reading.
(Before reading the interview, I’d recommend hitting play on Ian’s awesome new track HYGH VIBES. It’ll set the perfect mood!)
Meet Taya & Ian
Name: Taya Smythe & Ian Hyman
Age: 24 & 26
Hometown: Indiana & New Hampshire
Current location: Ventura, California
Current job: Yoga Instructor/Photographer & Music DJ/Producer
Spirit animal: Horse
Favorite quote: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.”
Favorite condiment: Organic housemade ketchup
Fun fact: We design crystal grids, and we both eat chocolate chip cookies every single day. (Susan’s note: If, like me, you were wondering what crystal grids are, here’s a primer.)
Taya & Ian’s Working Life
You guys have what many would consider to be dream jobs: yoga teacher and DJ. Do you love what you do?
We do love what we do. We have the opportunity to get creative every day in our work, and that is incredibly rewarding.
What led you to becoming a teacher and DJ? Was there an a-ha moment for either of you?
Neither of us had an a-ha moment in becoming a teacher and DJ. We are still evolving. You have to let your passion fuel you more than expected results. Don’t get caught up in the highs and lows, because when something is truly your passion, eventually enough momentum will build. No need to count on one particular event or opportunity to completely make it for you. It is a constant journey in being open to exploring different avenues and shifting as needed.
How did you get started in your jobs? Any tips for others interested in doing similar things?
In Victor L. Wooten’s The Music Lesson, the protagonist laments “I just cannot do well at this (playing music).” And his teachers asks, “you speak English as your primary language, yes?” The student answers, “yes…” And the teacher asks, “would you say you’re fluent in English?” The student answers, “yes…” The teacher inquires, “how did you get good at English? Become fluent in it and it be an effective tool for you?” The student is silent. The teacher explains, “you were surrounded by it every day, often. And day by day, you played with it, maybe one word at a time, but you played. You began to jam.”
The only two requirements to becoming fluent in what you want to do and it being supportive for you is surrounding yourself with it every single day and then to jam with it.
You guys work and travel together; do you have one piece of relationship advice you’d like to share? Do you try to keep your work and personal lives separate?
We don’t try to keep our work and our romantic relationship separate, and we haven’t had to… actually we work a lot together. I (Taya) shoot most of his (Ian) photography and design his graphics for his work, and oftentimes Taya teaches while Ian DJs for a class or workshop. Communication is key. The intention to open up to your partner is what makes relationship work. If both persons’ highest vision is to honor the other — and therefore drop making a point, etc — then things feel good!
What rocks about your jobs?
We love the flexibility that our jobs provide. We can choose when to work and when to have downtime. We understand the benefit to our bodies and minds of having that downtime — it facilitates our highest effectiveness.
What sucks about your jobs?
Taya: My work can be inconsistent. Peaks and valleys of perceived sustainability. My big lesson in life is about patience, so in good humor, I think I am meant for the work I do because it facilitates that lesson.
Ian: There is always something to catch up on. Between scheduling, producing, and visiting different communities, I always feel like I could be looking at a calendar or email. Learning about the best balance for me is where it’s at.
You guys travel all the time. What are some of your favorite places?
Portland, Oregon has fantastic food. Clean real food without chemicals all over everything, logically priced, and available block-to-block! Omaha, Nebraska has one of the most epic yoga communities, Lotus House of Yoga, where classes are consistent, powerful, and of high vibration — and the people there are incredibly genuine and present.
What’s the one coolest thing you’ve done through your jobs?
Taya: One of the photography shoots that really stands out for me was capturing an event at the San Francisco Giants stadium last year: hundreds of people filled the field and Janet Stone led an epic yoga dance jam with Ian, and I caught some amazing video footage of people just breaking it down in the middle of a baseball field. I was thinking the event would be boring but it was completely out of the box and the whole group there was totally on board and connected.
Ian: I recently DJed for the World Domination Summit in Portland OR, wherein 808 people broke the Guinness world record for the largest yoga chain to date. I also DJed for an epic pool party on top of a mountain in Squaw Valley, CA. I love spinning for really high energy events.
Looking back, can you connect the dots to where you are today? If you could talk to yourself 10 years ago, what advice would you give?
The dots are right there, for sure. We’ve both always been very independent and creative… and stubborn about fitting a mold. Advice to give 10 years ago… and 10 years from now… stop worrying. You’re not going to miss any appointments — with a relationship, a career opportunity, a trip, anything — unless you worry about missing them. Just keep acting on your highest excitement at each second.
What would you say to someone who is interested in an alternative career, but is scared of quitting their 9-5?
A big thanks to Taya and Ian for sharing their knowledge with us! If you’re interested in learning more about their inspiring work, please check out their websites: Taya Smythe and DJ HyFi.