Happiness exudes from Renee. It’s not simply her huge smile that draws you in but also her infectious positive outlook on life.
She is an inspiring yoga teacher who is adored by her students. And that’s because she pushes them to be the best and most authentic version of themselves every time they come to the mat. She makes you believe in yourself again.
Hailing from our hometown of Melbourne, we just had to take the opportunity to delve a little deeper and find out what happiness means to her.
WHERE IS YOUR ULTIMATE HAPPY PLACE?
Savasana after a hot, sweaty, messy practice. And Disneyland.
IF YOU ARE NOT PHYSICALLY THERE WHAT DO YOU DO TO HELP EVOKE IT?
Well I love both of them for that sense you get when you fully lose and immerse yourself in something and I often evoke that same feeling by listening to music. Loudly. And singing. And dancing. A lot.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU HAVE TAKEN IN THE NAME OF HAPPINESS?
Selling the company I had spent years building to pursue yoga.
DID IT PAY OFF?
For sure. AND it didn’t always feel that way… there were so many low points and moments of fear and doubt, but ultimately letting go of what didn’t serve me created space for what did and there is no better feeling than finding and doing what lights you up.
IF YES, WHAT ABOUT ANY RISKS THAT DIDN’T WORK SO WELL? WHAT DID THEY TEACH YOU ABOUT HAPPINESS?
All of the low points highlighted that happiness doesn’t mean everything going well; it’s not about smiling all the time, and it’s not about never getting angry or upset. Happiness for me means being ok with what is, taking the good with the bad, and knowing it’s all worth it when you’re in the pursuit of passion.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE WORLD WILL LOOK LIKE WHEN EVERYONE IS DOING WHAT THEY LOVE?
I’d love to say ‘everyone will be happy and free’, but I’m not really sure that’s true. For me, doing what I love has created so much joy, but it’s been equally important to surround myself with supportive and loving friends, give back where I can, and learn how to treat myself with more kindness and compassion. It’s an ongoing process for sure, but I think these are the things we want the world to find to create a pretty special and (even more) uplifting place.
WHO IS THE HAPPIEST PERSON YOU KNOW?
I actually don’t have one person – I’m lucky to have many and they’re all the closest people in my life. They’re not happy because they’re always smiling, they’re happy because they’re up to something. Whatever the scale – family, friends, community, or world, the happiest people I know are doing what lights them up and are always seeking to create a positive impact on the people around them.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST THING THEY HAVE TAUGHT YOU?
To believe in and be myself.
WHAT DOES HAPPINESS FEEL LIKE FOR YOU?
It’s this internal lightness and flutter that builds so intensely I can’t help but to smile… It’s the greatest feeling in the world!
TALK US THROUGH A HAPPY DAY FOR YOU…WHAT’S INVOLVED OR PERHAPS NOT INVOLVED?
Ooh great question. Practicing yoga, teaching yoga, a good chai latte, delicious food, great conversation, loud (lame and AMAZING) music in the car, laughing, walking my dog, and seeing my nephews. And let’s secretly add an episode of Friends in there, too. Not included… toxicity. I have no time for it.
DO YOU HAVE A LIFE MOTTO?
Be all in, be intentional, be kind, and be around people who lift you up. And in moments of doubt I often hear myself quoting Baron Baptiste, “what’s possible when your way of being is, anything is possible?”
WHAT’S A SIMPLE PICK UP THAT WORKS FOR YOU EVERY TIME?
Man in the Mirror by MJ, a walk outside, and my nephews.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR THOSE WANTING TO LIVE A HAPPY LIFE?
Know that you’re great – really – and the longer you hide who you are, the longer you deny the world the one thing it doesn’t have and desperately needs. Also, redefine your relationship with fear and get curious about it, because if it scares you, there’s something in it.
WHEN YOU WERE A KID, WHAT DID YOU ENJOY DOING MOST?
I was always dancing around the house, climbing trees, patting every dog I walked by, and writing plays (and then making my family sit down to watch them…)
ARE THERE ANY ELEMENTS OF THAT IN YOUR WORK TODAY?
There’s still an impressive amount of carefree dancing, which now extends beyond the house to the car and the studio. Plus I definitely still pat every dog I can and walk by trees and consider their ‘climbability’.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU’D LOVE TO TELL YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF?
You just keep doing you.
AND YOUR 80-YEAR-OLD SELF?
Stay all in and keep handstanding, you badass. Also, I hope you’re making use of being able to say inappropriate things in public.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WERE DOING AT 8 YOU HOPE YOU’RE STILL DOING AT 80?
All of it… mostly, believing in magic.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHEERLEADER?
My big sister. I remember bringing home this (really, really awful) clay bear I made in art class. Like, really awful. And kind of terrifying. I was so disappointed in my lack of talent, and went to throw it out. She made a big deal over how amazing it was and asked if she could keep it- 22 years later it’s still here. Which if I’m being honest is both beautiful and unfortunate.
WHOSE GREATEST CHEERLEADER ARE YOU?
If you’re a part of my life, I’d like to think I’m your greatest cheerleader. Whether it’s family, friends, or students, it’s one of my biggest values to empower others to believe in how great they are.
WHAT IS ONE THING ALWAYS GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU SMILE?
The words, I love you. I wish they were said more often. We reserve them like there’s a scarcity of love, or like it’s somehow less special if we say it a lot. We should say it a lot.
PLEASE FINISH THESE SENTENCES:
If I wasn’t afraid I would… ride a motorcycle
I come alive when… I’m teaching yoga, traveling, singing (badly), or talking with someone about their passion.
Everyday I… make sure to dedicate time to what I do, who I love, and what I need.
If I ruled the world… give control to someone who would serve it better, and just continue to pursue what lights me up… after I made everyone listen to some bad 90s music and dance around their house.