Have you ever seen a photo or video of someone on social media and instantly known they were a kind-hearted human? That was my gut reaction as I started learning more about Morgan “Mo” Haley, known to many as The Southern Yogi.
It’s easy to get lost on Morgan’s Instagram feed, as her personal flow videos show a level of strength, control, and self-awareness that is awe inspiring. She wasn’t always a graceful yogi, though. Morgan was actually a competitive swimmer for 10 years before getting a degree in vascular ultrasound. Fun fact: She is also one of seven children.
Soon after completing her degree, Morgan realized that establishing a career in vascular ultrasound wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life. She pivoted and wound up working as a barista at Starbucks for six years to afford herself more flexibility in her schedule. This enabled Morgan to devote more time to finding herself and pursuing the true passions that ignited the flame inside her. It was in 2014 that she discovered yoga and downloaded the Yoga Studio app, which set her universe in motion.
The more Morgan learned about the practice of yoga, the more she realized the value of listening to her body and using her mind and focused strength to achieve difficult handstands and various arm balances. It was her love for these inversions that taught Morgan the importance of core strength in one’s yoga practice. She developed her own technique, started sharing her tips and tricks, and her popular ab’asana guides were born. Morgan thoughtfully curated these ebook guides to help others build a solid foundation of core strength to assist with their yoga practice (getting great abs in the process is an added bonus).
In just a few short years, this Kentucky girl has become certified in 200 CYT and Standing Acrobatics while growing her social following from 200 to over 500k. Though this success has led to a busy schedule filled with travel, social media scrutiny from strangers, and the other joys and heartaches that come with being an influencer and yoga instructor, Morgan takes it all in stride and welcomes the change.
She views travel as a blessing and realizes that she will not always be able to please every human on social media. She’s shared these wise words about that topic on Instagram: “Try to focus on all the epic humans you have following you and not the small percentage that will never understand.”
Although yoga is a large part of her life, her practice is just one of the many reasons we are inspired by Morgan. In a blog post that particularly resonated with us, she shared one of the hardest things she’s ever done in her life: going through a divorce after being with her partner for eight years and married for five. Morgan is especially raw in this blog post, sharing the truth about the depression she experienced during this difficult time despite knowing she was listening to her heart.
Fortunately, Morgan began attending therapy and also had a tight crew of family and friends to support her (as well as her sweet husky–coyote hybrid, Kali, for those extra snuggles). We’re thankful Morgan chose to share her story, because it can truly help others who are struggling with a similar situation and may be feeling broken, unsure, guilty, or any of the other challenging emotions divorce can bring.
Morgan radiates light from the inside out and it’s clear that she is genuine about her mission to share the joy she’s found in her personal yoga practice with others. There’s no denying that her life has changed since her competitive swimming days, and she’s perfectly fine with that, stating, “I sure hope that I’m not the same person I was 2, 5, 10, and even 15 years ago. I hope I’m not that same person in 5 years from now. I hope I’ve lived hundreds of different lives by the time I’m old and grey.”
As a beginner yogi myself (and someone who often feels lost in her own life!), it’s inspiring to see Morgan’s progress knowing that her yoga journey began in 2014. This makes me hopeful that with enough focus, I too can achieve a new level of fluidity and grace—and hopefully find a new connection with myself in the process. I also know many others feel the exact same way.
If you’re in a rut and seeking a spark to light your fire, check out Morgan’s Instagram feed and blog. Read her words, get lost in her beautiful imagery and self-expression, and then take your own first step toward your passion. It all starts with one step (or yoga pose).
A Day in the Life
What does your daily routine look like?
The very first thing I do when I wake up is brush my teeth. Even if it’s before I’ve eaten breakfast. I’m such a weirdo about oral hygiene, but my teeth and tongue have to feel clean. After that I put the kettle on and make myself a cup of black breakfast tea with a splash of milk. I usually make some style of eggs for breakfast. Afterwards I answer emails and do some work while I take my pup to the park and let her run around.
My yoga practice is mid-morning before lunch. I have my own personal sweat sesh and then film or take photos for IG. The afternoon consists of more meetings/phone calls or interviews and a trip to the gym to get my HIIT workout or lift in. The nighttimes are pretty chill, and my partner and I cook dinner together and end up watching Netflix or a movie before heading to bed.
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care?
Obviously physical activity is huge for me. No matter what day it is, I try to do something active, whether it’s a walk with my dog or practicing handstands for an hour. Different days call for different activities depending on how my body feels. I also love the mental stimulation of reading a good self-help book. Right now I’m working on The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. I think it’s always important to continue learning about yourself through every season of life. I’m also not mad about a good bath bomb and a face mask.
How do you stay inspired?
Honestly, on my days I’m not feeling so motivated, I just remember that the sole fact of taking another breath and being alive is inspiring. I also find going out into nature away from the noise and the crowds calms my soul and refuels my creativity tank.
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What are the best products you’ve discovered recently?
Dessert tea by Tazo and Bigelow. I can’t travel without buying Salted Caramel Blend and my Butterscotch Blondie Blend. It curbs my sweet tooth. I also love Farsali Volcanic Elixir that I apply on my face every night before I go to bed. So much yummy skin hydration.
Whose Instagram is on your radar?
What’s your go-to healthy snack?
If I’m in a salty mood I love to grab an Epic Bar. My favorite flavor is Chicken Sriracha. If I have a sweet tooth I’ll normally go for a honeycrisp apple and some almond butter.
What are you reading, watching, or listening to?
Currently reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Currently watching Orange Is the New Black…guilty pleasure. Currently listening to loads of Flume and Odesza.
If your pet could talk, how would they describe you?
My dog Kali: Morgan is the best friend I’ve ever known. My two cats Kovu and Bagheera: Morgan is the best peasant who’s ever walked through our kingdom.
What superpower would you like to have?
Definitely teleportation with all of my things. I’d never have to fly on a plane again!
What are you really great at (that might embarrass you to admit)?
I’m really great at not trying on clothes when I buy them, hating them once I get home, and then just giving them away because I get annoyed at returning things.
What piece of advice has impacted you the most?
Oh my goodness—why is this the hardest question? I think a few years ago when I was leaving an eight-year relationship and wasn’t sure how to make it through another day, my mom told me to stop focusing on days—on the future. Start focusing on seconds and minutes. What do you need to do to get you through the next 10 seconds? Take some breaths. Recenter yourself. I know it sounds corny, but there is no fear or anxiety in the present. So if you ever start to get too caught up in days or weeks or months, bring yourself back to the present moment.