*Please note, in the following interview we talk about mental illness. This is just Shay’s personal experience and our opinions; it does not intend to influence anyone’s health decisions. Always seek advice from a health professional.
I met Shay through a recommendation of a friend and instantly felt so safe in her presence. She has the most beautiful energy surrounding her. For someone so young, she has so much knowledge to share, and does so in such a non-threatening way. I was so impressed by my first experience with Shay, that I just had to book in again! During the time in-between my treatments I started ohti where she reached out. This moment was huge for me in itself, as Shay was someone who I admired being on my own health journey/career change. For the interview, Shay invited me to her beautiful home in Broken Head. I was in awe. And as soon as we sat down and began talking, it was as though we’d known each other for years. We completely lost track of time so as you can imagine, it was hard to put into words, over two hours of conversation.. I would just love for you to experience just how wonderful this woman truly is.. Below is a recap of our “chat” which I’ve split into sections.
Shay is from a small coastal town in WA called Yallingup (meaning place of love). Raised by her dad and her big brothers, she grew up feeling like one of the boys. I loved when she told me about her oldest brother saying to her - “Shay, one day you’ll grow up, get a period and have to have a baby!!” she was rattled. Shay shared stories of her childhood, the journey of being an angsty adolescent tom-boy, and all the things along the way that led her to be (and embrace) the woman she is today. I have this theory that anyone in the natural health field at such a young age (Shay is 27yo) must have experienced something big which drew them to it! Shay of course shared her mother’s battle of postnatal depression and the trauma she endured going through the conventional system for treatment. Her brave mother received 12 ECT (shock treatments) in the attempt to zap her brain from all the suffering. But nothing seemed to work, eventually forcing her to move back east to be closer to her own parents for support, unwillingly leaving 2yo Shay behind.. It takes such vulnerability to speak in the way Shay did about her Mother’s traumas. Growing up she remembers the big drives & flights over east to visit her mum, but eventually it became unaffordable, phone calls just didn’t suffice and they lost touch. It wasn’t until about 8 years ago (a couple of years after graduating high school) when Shay decided to move over to Byron to study Ayurveda, that she began to rekindle the relationship with her mum again. And it was then when the healing started.
Throughout highschool Shay developed severe anxiety and depression, for which she shut herself away from her family. She was becoming a woman (which was foreign territory for her) and doing so, without the love of her biological mother. She suffered immensely and was constantly doubting her self worth. Living out of home at 14yo she became so unstable that she had to be sedated with antidepressants to stop all the noise in her head. But Shay’s resistance drove her to spiral further down, just like her mother (which was of course, her biggest fear). Though Shay’s resistance came from a deep knowing within that there had to be another way out of all the mess, but no one would listen. Finally with the help of her angel (best friend’s mother who took Shay under her wing), she was put in touch with an incredible psychiatrist who helped her wean off and regain stability. ***Please note, if you’re considering healing the mind and brain naturally you should do so under the guidance of a licensed natural health practitioner. And always seek advice from your health practitioner before stopping any medication. With a little encouragement, Shay eventually gained confidence in her belief that she could heal naturally. Shay said “I felt defeated & ashamed as a teen that I had to take something to make me ‘happy’ so that I could smile just like my friends. That’s not to say it didn’t help numb the pain inside, but I knew there was a hole in my heart that needed to be fixed, not ignored..” I had goosebumps when Shay was sharing this. I don’t think we understand just how incredibly resilient the human mind & body is, and it’s ability to undergo deep healing if only we allow it. She then decided to take her health into her own hands, experimenting with vegetarianism and different superfoods when she noticed a significant improvement in her mental wellbeing; she made the connection to certain medicinal foods that made her feel ‘happy’ again. And this was the catalyst, giving her hope to continue down the path of natural medicine.
Although Shay’s becoming well known around the Northern Rivers for her witchy healings at Ayupōtheca, she’s had some interesting career history! Ayupōtheca was not her first business baby. In fact, she actually ran a social enterprise vintage clothing label (called Crop Vintage aiming to #makeuniversalhappiness) back in 2015 which she used as a tool to raise awareness around mental health and teen suicide. But studying full time to become an Ayurvedic practitioner, she ultimately had to make the decision of where to give her energy to.
Shay now gives the love & support she was given, back to her clients and her community through her service at Ayupōtheca. She practices from her tranquil home studio, as well as from her clinic space in Newrybar, NSW. Both spots hold the most positive energy. Like all of us, she is constantly growing and learning along the way. Shay has a variety of offerings but her true passion lies in strengthening women on their maternal journey. She truly believes that if she holds space to nurture the mother, that love & care will only translate to her baby. Which is simultaneously healing the mother wound in her (and because of her service & devotion it’s given her the inner strength to heal and rebuild the relationship with her own mother). That’s become her way of making universal happiness now. I find this incredible resilience, though Shay was firm when she said she holds absolutely no regrets; she sees every bump in the road as a clue on her pursuit of happiness. Shay and I were in total agreeance when we spoke about the fact that bad shit happens to everyone in life, but it's how we learn to rebuild & reinvent ourselves after the ruin. She said - “It’s transmuting the bad into something good that gives you your purpose, your story in life. For what’s life without a story to share. You can let bad things turn you into a bad human, or you can choose to rise above and change your destiny, and when you share your story with the world hopefully can help someone else out there who is struggling to see the light.” Shay is constantly writing in her posts - “there is a light that never goes out..” she said she was once dark but she found the light, and now she hopes to forever hold that light for others.. As Shay spoke about her clients her eyes became teary. She said she meets new people in the clinic everyday but each person is so special and deserving of healing that she does everything in her being to take their suffering away. There is no surface level with Shay, she gives her whole heart and soul. I feel that is what sets her soul on fire. Being of service to others, and seeing the ripple effect it can have on the world.
My personal experience during therapy
My first treatment with Shay was magical to say the least. I literally felt like I was floating out the door after. I received the Shiro Abhyanga (head massage) & Full Body Abhyanga - she knew all the triggering areas. It was crazy, just before my treatment I said I was feeling a little off but didn’t go into much detail. Shay then shared with me afterwards what she noticed during the therapy, and it was exactly how I was feeling! My experience shows just from touch, not only how knowledge Shay’s understanding of the body is but how to treat the individual’s mind & body. My experience with Shay is one that I can’t quite put into words, it’s simply something you must experience for yourself. I thank Shay for being on here, sharing her knowledge, time and touch.
My personal experience during interview
It was a beautiful day so we moved outside to sit in the sunshine with her chooks. Me being me, always having a gazillion questions for people who are experts in their particular field, I wanted to understand Ayurveda a little more.. But the one piece of advice that Shay shared which struck me the most was - “Always stay connected with nature. It’s the only thing that will truly guide us in this life; anything man made generally has an ulterior motive. You see, if ever we start to feel anxious, we're naturally drawn toward more grounded people, or foods which antidote our stress.. It’s only because of the disconnection to self and our environment that we lose our ability to know what's good for us! And according to Ayurveda, like increases like so if it's cold & windy outside and you shelter yourself from it, not only will it support your immune health but will also help you maintain mental stability, because exposure to wind infuses our mind and body with the same qualities it embodies with it’s erratic, unpredictable, whirling, ungrounded nature (ever noticed when its windy everyone gets super spacey like their head’s up in the clouds) well, perhaps it’s not just a metaphor. We are part of nature, the sooner we realise this, the sooner we can reclaim our health & our happiness.” I love this, so simple. Shay has built her entire life surrounded by nature so she doesn’t lose that connection because she's only human, and humans are easily distracted and tend to forget. She’s inspired me, and now I wish to inspire you to be in nature a little more. Interact and explore the elements and see what you’re naturally drawn to, maybe your body is telling you something. I
To finish off, I wanted to leave you with self reflection. As being surrounded by such a wonderful soul, who forever supports, loves and encourages me - constantly filling up my love & service cup. where is your cup sitting? Am I a little low? Or am I overflowing? Who/what can I pour myself into if I am spilling over? I love the cup analogy as it’s just as important to fill your cup, as it is to share the love with someone else. Sharing is what makes life beautiful. Allow yourself to stay connected to allow your gift and energy to others.
Thank you Shay for being on here and touching every soul you meet. I'm very grateful.
Shay is a world of wisdom, if you would like to connect here is her practitioner page.