By Samantha Yardley
Photographer Ben Cope with styling by Anna Schilling
At 16, vegan yogi Tabay Atkins is nothing short of a child prodigy. After witnessing his mom battle cancer, he was inspired to find his ‘Dharma’ and become the youngest 500-hour qualified yoga teacher in history, attracting a legendary celebrity client base in the process.
Most 16-year-olds would be interested in partying and meeting girls; are you naturally an overachiever?
To me, overachieving is not a burden. I work very hard, but as they say, if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life!
Do you get any downtime? What do you enjoy doing for fun?
Although my career is wellness-based, I sometimes use other forms of self-care in my time off. I love spending time with family and friends, and enjoy building Legos, playing piano, collecting coins, reading books, and doing outdoor activities.
Can you provide an insight to your philosophy to encourage people to be more Zen?
Yoga and meditation are great practices to improve mindfulness and stay centered, even during challenging times. I would recommend incorporating yoga, meditation, or other wellness techniques into your routine to stay healthy in your mind, body, and spirit.
How does being vegan contribute to your overall health?
Having a clean diet of whole, plant-based foods doesn’t just help prevent disease, it also helps reverse diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Besides that, going vegan can help improve your energy, sleep, mood, productivity, and awareness.
“Having a clean diet of whole, plant-based foods doesn’t just help prevent disease, it also helps reverse diseases”
How did it feel to bag your sponsorship with Nike? You must be the envy of all your friends!
My friends were very happy for me. I am so grateful for all the love and support I have received from everyone. Working with Nike has been an amazing opportunity and I continue to inspire more people each day. My dream and mission since the beginning of my wellness journey have been to increase my reach and inspire people everywhere to live healthier lives. These larger platforms, like Nike, help me do just that.
How did you find your dharma and how did it change your path?
My dharma is to heal people through the practice of yoga, mindfulness, and veganism, or, to summarize it all, wellness. I found my dharma after seeing how the practice of yoga helped heal my mom from the effects of chemotherapy and cancer. I was so inspired, that I started training to be a yoga teacher, so I could share this healing practice. I found my dharma when I was only six years old. It is never too early or too late to make a positive impact in the world.
It’s so wonderful that you use the money you make to give back to cancer charities. What inspired you to be so generous?
Helping others has always been my passion. Seeing all that my mom has done to help everyone, has inspired me to do the same. When I decided to be a yoga teacher, my goal was to be able to help people with cancer both financially and physically. In addition to donating money to various cancer charities, I teach free yoga and nutrition classes to cancer patients.
“I found my dharma after seeing how the practice of yoga helped heal my mom from the effects of chemotherapy and cancer”
What’s it like working with such notorious celebrities like Deepak Chopra and the Kardashians?
It was such an honor to teach for Deepak Chopra. He was hosting a seminar and asked me to teach a yoga class to over 350 of his guests. It was such a special experience for me as he is a big role model and inspiration to me. I am so thankful that he believed in me and trusted in me enough to let me guide his guests. I am also grateful for the Kardashians welcoming me to share this healing practice with them. Kim is such a great hands-on mom and was also very kind and welcoming to my mom and I. When I teach yoga to celebrities it helps my platform grow which allows me to reach and help even more people. I am very thankful for that.