It’s a misconception that meditation has to involve a cross-legged position, closed eyes, and chanting mantra. Walking your dog can be meditation, reading can be meditation, creating and being involved with your community is a meditation. “In London and in cities in general, we are so caught up in rushing around, that we never actually take a step back to properly breathe and be present,” says Kaya Cansfield, a Master Instructor at Psycle.
Kaya started her journey with the spin-come-therapy studio while battling an eating disorder. A few classes and she was hooked, as it began to soothe her mind and thoughts, and in turn, her illness. “It became my sanctuary, my release and my home,” she says.
After studying multimedia journalism, Kaya moved through industry internships before building a successful career in beauty PR. She took her first Psycle class in 2014, became obsessed with the side effects, and wrote to Rhian Stephenson, the CEO of the company, asking how she could become an instructor. “Psycle was like nothing I had ever done before in my life,” Kaya says. “It was everything to me and when I sent this email, I was determined to get more involved, whether that be an instructor or not—it felt like a calling.”
Clarity in life is abundant – and it’s the ability and belief to act on it that’s rare and fleeting. “Grit is something I believe in,” says Kaya. “It’s the power of having copious amounts of passion and perseverance over intelligent conversation.” I’ve always believed that if you are fully invested in something, that’s enough to see you through and to ensure success. Kaya agrees: “Life just fell into place after I had taken the plunge.”
HOW SHE TURNED DOWN A WELL-PAID GIG TO START AS A BEAUTY PR INTERN: I studied Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University and came out of university not really knowing what I wanted to do but what I did know was that the last thing I wanted to do was work on a newspaper or a magazine so I started to look around for different opportunities and Beauty Seen were looking for an intern for their Revlon PR team. I loved beauty and makeup so I thought, let me go for it, even though I had pretty much no idea of what it would entail. I went for the interview, went to an event to get an idea of the role and ended up getting the job. It was an amazing feeling and it felt right, which is super important to me. I actually ended up getting myself into a bit of a predicament. Before applying, I’d just trained to become a Video Logger for the London Olympics for a few weeks and the timing of the job ended up clashing with my opportunity at Revlon. I had to make a choice – either go through with my job for the Olympics, which was really well paid job or go for the unpaid internship at Revlon. I ended up going with the latter and yes, all my friends and family thought I was crazy, but I saw it as an investment into a career and it ended up paying off. I worked my way up from an unpaid intern to a full-time Account Executive working on some other amazing accounts including Shiseido and Rituals. I didn’t have any prior experience but what I did have was grit and that’s something I really believe in. It’s the power of having copious amounts of passion passion and perseverance over experience and qualifications. It means having enough drive to get through any obstacles that come your way. Beauty Seen made me realise that I’ve always had this, when I wasn’t paid. It didn’t matter to me that I was at the bottom and that I wasn’t earning anything, I was determined and driven to get somewhere and to work hard.
ON LANDING (&LEAVING) HER DREAM JOB: I was at Beauty Seen for two years and although we were getting bigger and winning more clients, I struggled to see growth opportunities for me within the company. I loved my accounts, but I wanted more and after two years, I started to get itchy feet. I like change, in fact sorry, I love change, so I started to look around and found the Press Officer role on Rimmel. It was my ultimate dream job so I went for it. Once I was there I remember someone asking me, “what’s your dream brand to work for,” and I remember saying, I’m working on it…! That was a turning point. It made me feel like, ‘Wow, I’m actually living my dream’ and at the same time ‘what is next? Where do I go from here?’ It was strange, but leaving that world I felt so content and proud of where I had come from and where I’d ended up.
HER FIRST RIDE: I started riding at Psycle in June 2014, a few months after they opened. The Mortimer Street studio was literally a stone throw away from Beauty Seen so I started to get a bit addicted and after my first class, was going consecutively four times a week. It became my sanctuary, my release and my home. It helped me through a hard period of my life.
ON THE EMAIL THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING: After riding for six months and had recovered from my illness, I wrote to Rhian in January 2015 enquiring about becoming part of the instructor team. At this point, I felt ready for something new, something that excited me and something that I was passionate about. Psycle was like nothing I had ever done before. It was everything to me and when I sent the email, I was determined to get more involved, whether that be as an instructor or not. It felt right; almost like a calling.
THE TRAINING PROCESS: I was working at Rimmel while training and it was never guaranteed that I would even make it. During the academy I remember the group getting smaller and smaller each training weekend so it was a huge risk that I was taking and it took 5-6 months for me to fully train and qualify. It was made up of full weekends of riding, technical rides every week, assessments and rehearsal rides. It was a physical and emotional journey. I had to take paid holiday from work but there was no question in mind that whether it was worth it.
PSYCLE HELPED HER OVERCOME AN EATING DISORDER: It showed me a lot about myself. It showed me that I was worthy and capable, which, at a certain time in my life, seemed impossible. It taught me that I am capable and in control, which is one of the most exhilarating, liberating and exciting things I have ever experienced. It taught me that I am a warrior, a boss and to love myself; to love who I am and to stand tall in myself. Once you love yourself, you can love the world and live so much more freely. Today, I’m two years into my recovery and I never thought this would happen. The journey was hard, really hard. But I believe that your biggest tragedies become your biggest triumphs and my eating disorder is exactly that, my biggest triumph. I got over it, without any professional help and it taught me so much. It allowed me to pass on what I have learnt from it, the most important learnings of loving yourself, knowing that life is so much more than obsessing over how you look, what you eat and that you are a warrior for getting through it.
HOW SHE PUTS HER SELL-OUT CLASSES TOGETHER: I try to change them every week. It’s important to change them regularly but it’s equally important to give enough time for your riders to progress with a routine. Putting a class together may look easy but in reality, it can take days. We have a specific structure that we stick to but every instructor is different in how they plan and structure their class. I start by basing my rides on a psychological intention so for example, this could mean that one week I want my riders to feel fearless. I’ll then base my class, my music and my choreography on that intention. Some instructors base their classes on delivering psychological or spiritual classes and some are more focuses about the physical workout. That’s the beauty of Psycle London, we have instructors to suit everyone’s style of riding.
THE POWER OF FINDING YOUR CALLING: Life just fell into place after I took the plunge. I truly believe that once you are doing what you’re meant to, life will happen as it needs to and things will flow. Going freelance from working full time on PAYE was different but I liked it. I was in control of where I was and what I was doing and it was all on my terms. It was a dream. Not going to work 9-5 was amazing. It was a mindset shift but I’ve never looked back. My passion for teaching, my passion for the community and my passion for delivering a great class every single time goes above and beyond anything that I could be experiencing personally, so I’m very good at switching that off to be able to deliver a class. Yes, I am only human and there have been some days that have been seriously hard to do that but I can count those on one hand. The thing is, teaching is not about me as an instructor, it’s about them, the community who ride with us. I am focused on them and them only. I am focused on providing them with the safest most energetic space where they can let go, have fun, love themselves, work hard and be proud. It is nothing to do with me.
ON HER PERSONAL TRAINING BUSINESS: Being an instructor at Psycle London is a great platform for me to meet new people and gain clients and has been the main driver for my personal training. When I first qualified as a PT, I started out in Virgin Active which was a huge learning curve. I was only there for a month but I learnt so much and realised that working freelance works better for me. It’s on my terms. I currently only have two clients and that works well for me considering everything I’m doing at Psycle London. The main bit of advice I would give to anyone starting out is to read and educate yourself as much as you can. Your course will of course provide you with knowledge but experience and surrounding yourself with people who have done it is invaluable. Do you, be you and get your social media going and your name out there. Create a portfolio you’re proud of and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
ON PAYING IT FORWARD THROUGH MENTORSHIP: I work with a charity called The Girls Network, which provide a mentoring scheme to girls in schools in underprivileged areas around the capital. The charity work with successful women from all kinds of industries and matches them with mentees who share similar interests. For me, it’s so important that more of us pass what we’ve learnt to the next generation. If I can help inspire, motivate and drive my mentee to do something she didn’t think was possible, I’ve done my job.
THE UPSIDES OF GETTING OUT OF YOUR HEAD & INTO YOUR BODY: In cities like London, we are so caught up in rushing around that we never actually really take a step back to breathe and be present. Exercise gives you the space to do that. To not have your head in your phone, laptop or computer. It’s also just about shifting your focus about what is important. You know, focusing on things like being kinder to yourself, giving yourself headspace or timeout, speaking to a family or friend rather than just texting them – the things in life which we can get distracted from.
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