Tahnee McCrossin: Conscious Herbal Yogi Mama ⟡
I am excited to share this conversation with the beautiful Tahnee McCrossin, a wonder woman/mama that emits a nourishing essence when met. I first reached out to Tahnee without the personal greeting, funnily enough, we bumped into each other in a cafe around town. I originally had something written down describing her beautiful self for this interview, and am happy to say she is as loving as I imagined. She is a welcoming soul with an authentic and quirky personality. Just like her little bubby Aiya.P, she is creative, curious, loving, nourishing and warm. Her life journey is dedicated to all the things her heart loves the most: Being the mummy of Aiya, the life partner of Mason (her future hubby), a devoted yogi, an advocate for herbalism, an eternal student and master of Chi Nei Tsang and the SuperFeast Queen. I am in awe of the beautiful project she and her loving partner Mason share: SuperFeast. A manifestation brought upon spreading the healing teachings of ancient Chinese medicine into this modern turbulent world. Through this conversation, I welcome you to celebrate with me this powerful woman. Tahnee, thank you for sharing this beautiful conversation with me and thank you for being one of my all time inspirations.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
What I do day-to-day is run SuperFeast, an incredibly amazing business that is bringing Taoist tonic herbalism to the world. I am the GM, which is still a title I struggle with (WHAT DOES A GM ACTUALLY DO??) but my work is super fulfilling and definitely keeps me inspired and busy. I get to weave my studies in Taoism and herbalism into my work, which is incredible - I trained in the Taoist healing arts, specifically Chi Nei Tsang. I also teach yoga, with a deep affection and emphasis on Yin Yoga, though I have been on hiatus for a while due to SuperFeast and motherhood commitments. I am teaching on a 200 hr teacher training next year and Mason and I will be running health retreats again from Feb 2019, so I feel like I am starting to ease back into that facilitating/teaching space. And finally, but certainly most importantly, I am the mama to the most amazing little person Aiya Pegasus and wifey-to-be to Mr Mason Taylor, the founder of SuperFeast...the two of them are my everthing.
How did your yoga journey start? And how has it had a positive influence on your life?
I started yoga as a teenager - my first tastes were through the 70s and 80s books that my mum had lying around (rather hilarious - lots of unitards!) and then a 'sports program' at school where we learned Swedish massage and yoga. I remember being taught to feel my prana/qi and create a 'qi ball' it was such an amazing feeling. I have never forgotten that experience. I kept practicing with a yoga video (before DVDs!), then discovered Ashtanga Yoga and spent the next few years dabbling in a home practice, which I struggled to stay committed to, honestly. I explored Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s work too, had all the Bihar books and would experiment with the practices he outlined. I would say I spent a lot of time in jnana yoga, reading, studying, learning, but not doing a lot of actual practice (meditation made me anxious and asana was something I struggled to stay disciplined with) until my early 20s, when I had some personal shit go down that made me realise I needed to get in the drivers seat of my life, and yoga was a catalyst for that. I think I had a lot of ideas about how yoga 'should' be practiced; those ideas were very limiting and acutally held me back. Once I got over myself and just started doing something every day, things really shifted. The liberation I experienced through discovering Yin Yoga and Vinyasa was really profound for me - yoga became about pleasure instead of some kind of forced self-discipline. Meditation in my mid 20s saved me, it changed me and taught me compassion (mostly for myself first) and opened me up to the absolute wonder of existence. I dove deep inside myself and found miracles. Yoga has helped me understand my emotions, my mind, my body, made me a better person, a better partner, better at business...everything is better.
What benefits have you found through yoga?
Physically I have a deep respect for the function of my body, mentally I get stuck in the downward spiral much much less and emotionally I feel less like I’m at the mercy of the deep well of feeling I experience. Spiritually I feel deeply connected to life. I used to be bulimic, I used to have some pretty serious mental shit going on, I used to be very insecure and sad. I used to take a lot of (party) drugs and generally not take care of myself. I am and do none of those things any more. Mase always says I look 'shiny' after I practice. :)
What is your favourite style of yoga and why?
Yin Yoga or a style that is not well-known but that a dear friend of mine teaches, Hridaya Hatha Yoga. And I do a lot of 'Tahnee Yoga', which is just me rolling around and being weird on the mat and experimenting with practices that feel amazing.
Who or what inspires you the most?
Yogananda. Paul Grilley. My teacher friends who all live their practice off the mat. My lover. My child. The team we have at SuperFeast, they're really amazing people and on this crazy adventure with us and they just show up with such grace. I love them.
Autobiography of a Yogi. Life makes sense after you read this book (or at least it did for me, though it took me two reads and about ten years in-between to really 'get it,' and I still have a long way to go to really embody the wisdom in that book). The Riders by Tim Winton did something to me. The Spark in the Machine by Dan Keown really excited me. I read every single day. I used to work in publishing and books are life. I could go on all day.
What has been the most rewarding experience in your life?
I’m proud of myself all the time because I feel like I am constantly working hard to not rest in my bullshit. But more tangibly, I feel like birthing my daughter at home completely naturally with the support of my partner and midwives is up there. Creating our family together has been hugely rewarding.
What is your biggest challenge as a mother? And your biggest joy?
Guilt, and self-judgement. I cannot be the perfect mother I hold in my mind, she doesn't exist and she certainly is not me. I am learning to let this go every day. It's really hard for me.
Joy is easy - every single night I lie down next to my tiny little human and my big human (we all still co-sleep in a Queen-size bed which is truly ridiuculous as Mase and I are both over 6ft tall) and am literally overwhelmed with love and gratitude. What a life!
What message/s would you like Aiya P. to grow up with?
Mase and I set up an email account for Aiya when she was born where we share thoughts and reflections with her as we go along this journey as parents. I write to her as much as I can. The big themes I hope she carries from me are inherent trust in her own intuiton and instincts, especially around her body, and a sense of her own sovereignty.
Tell us a little bit about superfeast and the magic/medicine behind the mushies.
Ah! I love SuperFeast. I think there are two parts to the magic: first is Mason’s commitment to constantly next-levelling our sourcing. We have the most amazing suppliers and you feel the power of their intention to preserve this ancient herbal tradition when you consume our products. The other factor is our team, who are not only transformed by the herbs but are transforming each other and our community through their work.
Top 3 favourite mushrooms or tonic herbs?
Reishi, schizandra, he shou wu.
What mushies or tonic herbs would you recommend to us women? And why?
Mmm I think for most women, the beautiful nourishing yin herbs like he shou wu, reishi and the liver (and beauty!) tonic schizandra are really powerful. Most menstural issues come down to Liver overwhelm (Liver controls the Blood in TCM), and we are all over-extended. Herbs like he shou wu, reishi and shizandra protect our precious blood and cradle us against the stress of life. Reishi was my first herb and will remain my favourite. She's like the queen, she holds the most potent space to reconnect you to your spirit.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey around Taoism? How did you discover it?
I discovered Taosim through my yoga teacher Paul Grilley and the author Daniel Reid, approximately around the same time. Daniel Reid I found through my interest in fasting and detoxification, and Paul through my intro to Yin Yoga thanks to the internet (I illegally downloaded his DVD!! Sorry Paul! I have since purchased it. :)) Paul wove such a stunning story of the Taoist worldview that I decided I must study it. My acupuncturist Mark Hoppe (based in Newcastle, NSW, highly recommend) recommended I look into Mantak Chia's work...I was on a training with Master Chia within the year. Master Chia and one of his main students Jutta really changed my perspective on health and expanded my worldview. In the Taoist healing tradition, we learn to transform our negative emotions into positive energy and learn to harness the power of the cosmos and the earth and to transfrom that energy within our own bodies, eventually for the purposes of healing. Taoism is deeply rooted in the natural world and if you read the ancient Taoist texts and ancient Indian scriptures the Vedas, you basically have an explaination of literally everything that happens in the universe, physical and psychological health and how to master this human experience. I am not even close to knowing as much as I want to know about Taoism and its healing arts, but I am definitely deeply grateful for the wisdom I have received so far.
"Perhaps holiness is nothing other than the capacity for finding loveliness in all things..." Maria Popova
How do you practice happiness?
Daily. I am nearly always happy. If I am not, I practice the Inner Smile meditation until I am or run away to sit with myself or practice some breathing and moving or get into nature, whatever it takes until I can return to gratitude. I think expressing your love and gratitude as often as you can is important - Buddhist metta meditations, where you learn to express love and gratitude even for people who drive you up the wall are really helpful if you find compassion difficult.
Last but not least, how did you and Mason meet?
Haha, I love this story. So, I went to do plant medicine (san pedro followed the next day by ayahuasca) and the plants guided me to reach out to health educators to run workshops at the yoga studio I owned at the time (Yoga for All). I was scrolling Instagram after I returned home and in that 'browse' section I saw a pic of a cute guy giving a presentation, so I clicked on it and it was Mase talking at an event. I commented that he should come to Newie, he replied 'sure, call me' and sent me his number and I gave him a call. We hit it off straight away but had a few complicating factors to negotiate - he had recently split with his partner and I was swearing off men for a while (long story). A month later I went to a cadaver lab at the Uni in Wollongong and stopped by his place on the way home and ... well ... you know what happenend next! I think it was when we travelled to Central and South America together 6 months later that we really realised we were going to be a family, and two years after we first connected we gave birth to our baby girl. It was one of those when you know, you know times in my life.
Thank you Tahnee for sharing this conversation with me and for allowing me to share it to the world. I pray you keep on shinning your beautiful light to others and to yourself. I love you.
If you feel drawn to connect with Tahnee or her SuperFeast Family you can find her here:
Instagram: Tahnee McCrossin
SuperFeast Web: SuperFeast
SuperFeast IG: SuperFeast
* all imagery comes from Tahnee’s social platform.