Women In Wellness: Alyeria Faith of Maya Apothecary on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
Take a cold shower or ice bath for at least 3 minutes each day. This is one of my best life-hacks for regulating your nervous system. It takes almost no time to actually do and is an absolute game-changer. My 4-year-old loves to time me in the ice bath and has become my biggest cheerleader. In winter when it’s raining and I’m standing outside in a swimsuit and I do not want to get in she just stands there yelling “you can do it mommy, go on, do it mommy!!! GET IN!” over and over until I get in.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alyeria Faith.
Alyeria Faith is the founder and CEO of Maya Apothecary.
Born in South Africa and raised in Kenya, Alyeria moved permanently to London at the age of 17, and has been following her heart around the world ever since — all the way to California where she met her now husband and business partner.
She’s on a soul-lead path building her own vision, and inspiring women to take empowered action in her wake. Through her relentless obsession with personal growth and an unwavering commitment to living life on her own terms, Alyeria found her way into the beauty industry with a vision to awaken the collective feminine through elevated skincare.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Absolutely! I guess I should start at the beginning then…
I was born in South Africa, and grew up in Kenya, which is my home and favorite place on Earth. I moved to London when I was 17 and lived a bit of a wild party life for a few years before I got into personal training school and then transitioned into many other passions over the years through the wellness and personal development space. Everything from nutritional therapy, to coaching, to being a sponsored athlete, to being a wellness journalist.
Eventually I found other passions in sustainable development and entrepreneurship which took me in new directions, and then my life changed drastically when I met my husband on a trip to San Diego in 2016. We met on a Thursday night, a few hours after I landed in the USA on a quick work trip, and we were married 11 days later on the beach.
Shortly after that I moved to the USA, and 5 months later I was pregnant with our daughter — which happened just as we had hit the road to travel the country. The plan was to be on the road for 2+ years. I made it 6 months into the pregnancy and then realized I needed to nest and our trailer wasn’t going to cut it. It was a massive roller coaster of a year, including huge business failures, plant medicine journeys in the jungle, and moving to a new country.
I made a lot of changes and just as many mistakes that year. I think it forced me to grow up in a way I had never really expected. I think marriage and especially kids will do that to you. I spent the next few years diving deep into my own healing and taking a lot of time off to really get clear on who I was. Up until that point I’d coasted through life and hadn’t taken other people into consideration; I was selfish and immature.
We struggled financially for a while but we made things work and eventually ended up in a really good place overall — and then I separated from my husband. I realized I had become enmeshed in my relationship and had lost myself along the way. I needed to do something to find out who I was and what life wanted from me. I struggled a lot for most of the next year, I slept on friend’s couches for months and got to the very bottom of rock bottom in 2019, more than once. There were moments I had no idea how I was going to feed my daughter or where we were going to sleep — those were terrifying moments, and yet somehow everything always worked out better than I could ever have imagined, hoped or planned for. Things kept getting better and better, and have ever since.
“There but for the grace of God go I”.
I’ll never forget those moments — it was the year that shaped who I am now and gave me the courage and strength to do whatever it takes. I let go of needing to know the answers and let God take the reins of my life when I couldn’t see a way out. I truly believe that it was a year that was designed to test my limits and to show me once and for all that no matter how dark or hopeless things seemed to be, I would always be safe, and that life was really good.
It’s been a strange ride since then but life is more enjoyable, simple and easy than it’s ever been. I’ve stopped questioning things, or needing to know. Certainty is how you feel, not the details of what’s happening. It’s the knowing that lives deep within us, not the circumstances we face or the mountains we have to climb.
I moved back in with my husband in late 2019 to co-parent, and then when the pandemic hit, we moved from LA out to a friend’s ranch in Arizona where we lived for 6 months. During the time we healed our marriage, I started my current business, and we grew stronger than ever.
Life has taken some interesting turns since then, but one thing I know for sure is that no matter what it looks like, it’s always perfect.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
My husband and I got back together after 18 months of being separated, right at the start of the pandemic, at the very same time that I was starting this company. For most of 2020 he just watched me play with my skincare formulas and do all the things I was doing,
until suddenly, about 8 months into it, he declared that my idea was genius and that he wanted to join my crusade and build a skincare company with me.
It was really hard for me to share this with him at first. I was fiercely protective of what I had built up to that point but I could also see how invaluable his support would be. I was also wary of being in business with him because there are so many ways that it could go wrong, both for our marriage and for the business. Ultimately, I knew in my heart it was the right move and so we did it, we partnered in this company.
Not only has it been an absolute godsend and I truly could not have built this without him by my side in the same way, but I believe that the masculine actually holds such deep wisdom in designing structures and systems for a company, which allows me to relax into my feminine genius and do what I do best.
It’s also been so good for our relationship. It’s hard at times, and we don’t always agree, but it’s given our marriage a higher purpose and has brought us even closer together and I am so deeply grateful for that.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest mistake was underestimating the time and money it would take to get us to where we are now. Although I’ve listened to countless successful mentors who all say it always takes twice as much as you think it will, I don’t think I really got it until I was truly in it.
I learned that no matter what shows up, there are always creative solutions and that I am far more resourceful than I give myself credit for. I’m prouder of how I’ve handled this launch than anything else I’ve done in my career so far.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mum has always been my biggest supporter and has pushed me more than anyone to keep doing the things I love. She invested in my business when it was just a fleeting idea and she has never lost faith in me. I wouldn’t be where I am without her and I owe everything to her relentless commitment to me, my well-being and all my hair brained crazy ideas and antics. We’ve not always seen eye to eye but in the last few years we have grown closer as I’ve matured and she has continued to support me no matter what. I am eternally grateful for that.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Self-care isn’t just a “nice to have,” we live in a society where we have been conditioned to work harder and longer, just to keep up, let alone actually achieve anything resembling a successful or balanced life. Most entrepreneurs and women business owners are burnt out, overwhelmed and undervalued — which comes at an enormous cost to their health and wellbeing.
Our products and mission go way beyond self-care — our community and the content we put out are designed to support women in getting back to their natural state of flow, to heal their nervous system and to develop a lifestyle, rituals and routines that are centered around creating more space, more ease and more confidence. Which ultimately always leads to having more time, energy, money and pleasure in our lives.
Women CAN do it all, but it doesn’t have to come at the price of our physical, emotional or mental wellbeing, or at a cost to any of the areas of life that are important to us. We get to work when it feels good, and make more money doing less. We get to support ourselves and our family by creating lives that are deeply fulfilling to us, not to try and meet some external pressure from society.
A woman’s potential doesn’t lie in how hard she can work, but in her ability to know what to do, and when to do it; to take exquisite care of herself, to feel fully safe in her body, and to take aligned action from that place.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Take a cold shower or ice bath for at least 3 minutes each day. This is one of my best life-hacks for regulating your nervous system. It takes almost no time to actually do and is an absolute game-changer. My 4-year-old loves to time me in the ice bath and has become my biggest cheerleader. In winter when it’s raining and I’m standing outside in a swimsuit and I do not want to get in she just stands there yelling “you can do it mommy, go on, do it mommy!!! GET IN!” over and over until I get in.
- Stretch. Spend time just moving into all the spaces of your body that feel tight and uncomfortable. If you’re not sure how to stretch do an online restorative or yin yoga class, or google therapeutic stretching. Take time to move your body in ways that feel nourishing. Stretching not only helps loosen up the tight areas, it also increases blood flow to those areas and heals any inflammation. Stretching is my go-to. I spend an hour a day, usually 30 minutes in the morning and the same before bed, just rolling around on my yoga mat, doing things that feel good but probably look really weird. I love it, and it’s a total reset for my nervous system and is so grounding.
- Spend time in nature — even if you’re just going out into your backyard for 5 minutes a day. Go barefoot, stand on the Earth, and breathe deeply. If you want to, try this visualization — it’s so good. Stand with bare feet on the Earth, and imagine roots growing from the underneath of your feet and stretching miles down into the earth. Now close your eyes and imagine a golden white light pouring into the top of your head, then take a long, deep inhale. As you inhale, imagine the light moving from the top of your head, down through your body — and pushing out any stall energy. As you exhale long and slow, visualize the stale, stuck energy and emotions leaving your body as a black liquid — draining from very part of you, down your legs and into the Earth. Continue breathing in light and exhaling the molasses like energy until you can no longer feel any dense or old energy, and your body feels light and vibrant. It’s a 5-minute hack to improve your energy and reduce pain and inflammation.
- Sleep more than you think you need to, and eat less than you think you need to. The more I nourish my body with good sleep and foods that are super nutrient dense like fruit, vegetables and clean proteins, the better I feel all round. I healed my body from chronic fatigue and other auto-immune issues by following a Paleo diet when I was in my early twenties, and I’ve tried all kinds of raw vegan, fruitarian and carnivore diets which have all had various different positive effects. The biggest positive impact they had was that I learned about how 90% of what I was eating was based on my emotional state. Now I just eat what intuitively feels the most nourishing, and I eat 1–2 meals a day. I sleep as much as I can because I know that if I am sleep deprived, I eat more, and less healthily.
- Do less. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. I only do what I feel intuitively inspired to do on any given day. I have lists, and I love them for helping keep my brain organized but I don’t put pressure on myself to complete anything in any specific time period. I learned that if I spend time caring for myself, whatever I need to do gets done in the perfect timing. I ask for more help, I delegate more, I hire people who are better than me and I do what only I can do. Which is a lot less than I thought. It’s been a hard lesson to learn because I was so hellbent on being “independent” but that really just means me being a control freak. I have an incredible team and I am learning to ask for their help more and more and hand over everything that drains my energy. It’s been the greatest key to my success — and the hardest lesson to learn because as women we are taught to self-sacrifice and do it all ourselves, which is bullshit.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I feel like that’s exactly what we are doing. We are building a movement to empower women to thrive, inside and out. To know their own power and potential, to tap into it and fully liberate it. Wellness starts within, it begins with how we perceive ourselves and who we believe we are.
When we learn to take the time and space to care for ourselves, to regulate our nervous systems through ritualized self-care and non-negotiable daily routines, we start to rewire old beliefs, and as a result we make new, better and healthier choices in every area of our lives.
Why? Because when we value ourselves more, and give ourselves more of what we desire, our lives become a reflection of that.
You are the one who decides what life gets to look like. You decide by choosing to create it, and by making aligned choices every day that shift your baseline reality. Healing the nervous system and living from an empowered, responsive place is the key to wellbeing in ALL areas of your life.
And when women thrive, we all thrive. Our children and partners, our employees and peers, everyone around us is elevated when we choose to put ourselves first.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Don’t worry about any of it, it will all come together on its own, in its own damn timing.
2. Do it for fun — don’t do things for an outcome, do them because you enjoy them, while visualizing the best possible outcome and seeing it as already done.
3. It’s always going to cost more money and take more time than you think, and that ok, you will always, always find a way to make it work.
4. Follow your knowing, even when it goes against everything that everyone else says or thinks
5. Let people help, ask for help, learn to delegate, hire people better than you.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is definitely my top one, mostly because I believe that when people are doing well mentally and emotionally, it has a huge ripple effect out into society and our environmental impact. As within, so without.
Thank you for these fantastic insights