Interview with Tahra Golightly

For this blog post, we were fortunate to sit down with the buddhaful Tahra to talk about her journey and the exciting series of workshops she will be hosting in July (more dates available in October!).

Tahra is certified in nutrition, personal training, Pilates and yoga and she leads uniquely designed transpersonal workshops using art therapy as a medium of self-exploration.

Taking her own many and varied experiences and marrying them up with the many modalities she has studied, Tahra’s workshops are a part of a month-long program called Journey to the Self. Also included is a month of unlimited studio classes and a yin yoga workshop with Michelle.

Read till the end to find out how you can join Tahra.

Essence of Living (EOL): Tell us a little bit about you and what you do in the world.

Tahra: For me, it started, as it does with all of us, very young in my childhood. I left home at 14 because I felt like I wasn’t in a safe and loving environment. That led me to live on the streets at 15, where I became addicted to drugs and selling them as a means to get by. I was mingling with all the wrong people and looking for love in all the wrong places. I ended up in a refuge for a year. I remember there was one day, it was just before I was 17, I woke up and remember thinking, “What the hell is going on?” I remembered I wanted to be somebody, I really thought I was going to make an impact on the world, and it was in that moment I knew I needed to make a change. I decided to go back to school.

I went back to school and did year 10, where I realised, I felt very unwelcome and very unwanted and it was made obvious that I didn’t belong. Fast forward a few years, I was 24, in love and moving to Spain.

I lived there for five years, and it was the first time in my life that I had been truly loved and needed and it offered me a place of safety that I had never felt before, to explore: who am I really?

I feel like I’d just been in this place of survival and really trying to fit in, because if I didn’t fit in, I got objectified or bullied or made to feel like I didn’t belong. But looking back I think I made a whole lot of that story up in my head.

So, being in Spain was a really incredible journey for me, because growing up, I was labelled dyslexic, I was this high school dropout, I was the drug addict, I was the one that everyone thought would be a single teen mum.

When I moved to Spain, I chose to no longer let my past predict my future. I started to dig deep and get curious about what I can really do, I ended up getting myself a job being a grade one primary school teacher at a private school in Valencia. I honestly just winged it, but the biggest thing for me was what it taught me. I realised, “Man, I can do anything if I believe in myself.”

I became fluent in a second language as well, which was surprisingly really easy for me. I had a moment where I thought, “Wow, I’m continuously surprising myself because I’m removing these labels.”

It was a huge wake-up call, when a girlfriend of mine said to me, “Why don’t you become a personal trainer or a coach, you are so inspiring.” I was like, “Me? A personal trainer? I’m the one that used to bludge school and smoke behind the shed.” I had to laugh but it planted a seed inside me.

After almost five years in Spain, I decided to come back to Australia and change my entire life, and I really recreated myself. I ended up leaving my partner of seven years, I did my Personal Training course, I studied nutrition, and I found Michelle [Cassidy] and did my Pilates teacher training.

When I did my Pilates training, it was the beginning of another kind of turning point for me, because I had to stand in front of a class and I had choose: Who am I offering to these people? It made me start to take the inquiry of who am I to another level.

One of the biggest things was that, for me, it started on a physical, external level and over the last four years, I have been incredibly curious of what resides within this internal body of mine, what makes me, me? Why am I me? Why am I here? Why is this my path? Why was that my past?

I noticed that people listen to the wisdom and the knowledge that I was sharing and it became apparent to me when people started to come to me and tell me, “I want to know more, what have you got that you can offer me around this?”

So now it’s like the things I have been exploring on my own personal journey and embodying what serves as my truth are having a ripple effect on the world around me. I’m passionate about supporting people, not to be their “best self” (that line is so overused), but to create, to rebuild and tap into the truth of who they are without the conditioning, without the labels, without all the bullshit stories we hide behind. I help people uncover and reveal who they are when they stand in their authentic light and let it all be seen. That for me is what it’s all about, I feel it in my body, it’s so juicy, raw and real.

EOL: Can you share something that you’re currently working through yourself?

Tahra: The shadow aspect of self, the stuff that’s not so welcome, and fear. It’s like fear holds us back, it’s like it has so much freaking power over us when we let it!

I’m playing with flipping fear into curiosity and excitement. I’m starting to play with the idea of when something’s unknown it can be quite confronting or scary. But if we think of it like when we go on a holiday or an adventure, we still don’t know what’s gonna happen, but we naturally have a concept of it being exciting. The funny thing is, it’s still the unknown but it’s got a whole different feeling in the body when it’s presented like this.

So I figure why can’t we take that same idea, that same concept into this arena of the shadow or the unwelcome or the messy aspects of ourselves?

What if we can welcome that fear or that shadow to sit with us and we’ll have a little cup of tea together? It’s here it kind of starts to dilute the power it holds over us, here I believe is a gateway to freedom.

EOL: What are your three words to live by?

Tahra: Authenticity, embodiment and courage and, I have to add one more, curiosity.

EOL: Let’s talk about what is happening at Essence. What are your workshops about?

Tahra: It’s a four-week series which is all about building a foundation or repaving ones path.

The first session is focusing on the power of now and finding your why. Why are you here right now? And also trusting in that everything before has prepared you for this moment right here and now.

I will be using phenomenological questioning in the session. Phenomenology is the study of the conscious self. Meaning the body is the experience or the vessel of empowerment. The body allows us to merge the psych, the mind and the spirit. So in essence it is the connection of the experiences. We’ll be questioning who you are, like, who are you really? Then we get to remove all of that, all of the conditioning and stuff like that and offer space to remove the old and choose a more aligned self.

The next session is around the study of the self and bringing in that shadow element or the disowned self, or the parts that we hide behind, and removing all the many masks using art therapy as a self-led medium to inquire.

Session three, we go deep into exploring around fear and shining a light on one’s fears, and finding gratitude for the struggles that we’ve had and for all that has shaped and prepared us to be ready let go of what know longer is in service. We’ll be doing a releasing of fear ritual, where we make a choice not to let the fear rule our circumstances anymore, this is such a beautiful and powerful moment to witness.

The final session I’m really excited about! It’s going to be a blindfolded sensory experience where we’re going to be playing with movement and also clay. It’s all about awakening the five senses and in doing so detaching from external stimuli or gratification. And the human instinct to seek to know if you’re doing it right or wrong. The beauty is there is absolutely no right or wrong here. We’re going to be finishing with a beautiful honouring circle of the courageous souls that were ready to step up, we will finish this last session on a Friday night with sacred flame gazing.

The last day is really about stepping into your new reclaimed radiance.

Tahra’s Fast Five Favourites:

Essence of Living teacher: Michelle.
Snack: Greek yoghurt with banana, passionfruit and red dragon fruit from my mum’s garden.
Instagram account: I don’t religiously follow anyone on Instagram.
Book: The Queen’s Code by Alison Armstrong and Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown.
Place on the Gold Coast: My mum’s property in the Highlands hidden away in the Eco Village, Currumbin Valley.

‘Journey to the Self’

July 1st-31st and October 1st-31st


  • One month unlimited classes at the studio
  • One yin yoga aroma workshop with Michelle
  • Four deep diving self-explorative workshops using art therapy as a medium with Tahra Golightly
    • The Power of Now Saturday July 7th 12-2.30pm
    • Self Awareness Saturday July 14th 12-2:30pm
    • Internal Exploration Saturday July 21st 12-2.30pm
    • Stepping into your Truth Friday July 27th 6-8:30pm

Your commitment: $250 for members & $395 non-members

Find out more here.