Leah Zaccaria is an influential local yoga teacher and the owner of two popular yoga studios in Seattle: hauteyoga Queen Anne & shefayoga Roosevelt. She has recently authored a new book: Seen a Memoir – which tells her inspirational journey to openness and vulnerability, love and self-worth, seeing and being seen. We got the change to catch up with her for an interview about her new book, here is what she has to say:
Seattle Yoga News:What prompted you to write your memoir?
Leah Zaccaria: I was doing my last goal setting with lululemon as an ambassador. One of my goals was to become a public/inspirational speaking. I wanted to reach audiences that would not necessarily come to my yoga classes. I knew I needed a platform, a tool, to talk to people about, so I decided to write my memoir. Little did I know, that this book ended up being for me. The writing process is like medicine. I went deep into my own self study to heal, to be fully seen, and the deepest truths of my life were revealed. To me this book has already served its purpose. But, I wanted to be accountable to my goal, to see it through, and hopefully in the end, help or inspire some people along the way. I am not attached to any end goal anymore, which feels freeing. I am so grateful for all that it has already done.
Seattle Yoga News: Talk us through your experiences as a self-published author. Why did you go down this route?
Leah Zaccaria : I decided to self-publish because I am not a professional writer. It was not my goal to make money from it. I wanted to get it done as soon as possible. Having a publisher would have taken approximately 1-2 years longer. It takes time to find a publisher and their guidelines can be laborious. I had a wonderful editing team at Girl Friday Productions. They had a self publishing package that essentially took me through the entire process. Everything from developmental editing, clean copy editing, proofreading, cover design, marketing, and publishing on Amazon, Ingramspark, or anywhere books are sold online. I treated this book like a business and invested a significant amount of time and money because I wanted to do it really well. I really enjoyed the process.
Seattle Yoga News: How did you go about writing this book? Did you let your subconscious control your pen or was there an actual structure and strategy?
Leah Zaccaria: I would take solo week long writing retreats. I rented an Airbnb in White Rock BC just over the Canadian border and would write 16 hours a day! I started by creating an outline with a timeline. I had kept journals over the years that I used to jog my memory. But this is my story, so when the pen hit the page, I could not stop. I had a lot to say. It took me a year to write the book and another year to edit and publish. I originally gave myself 5 year to do it but I did it in 2 years almost exactly. After I began writing, I set a target date of October 1, 2018 because honestly so many people would ask when it was going to be done. So I chose that date and I did it. I manifested that date to reality. My book is being published October 1, 2018.
Seattle Yoga News: What was the hardest thing for you about writing it?
Leah Zaccaria: My inner critic. It was on loud speaker, especially in the beginning. The nasty little voice in my head would say, “who are you to do this?”, “you are not a writer, you are not qualified to do this”, “is your story compelling enough?”, “do people really care about this?”, “what are people going to think of me?” I think that is why so many people don’t write or share their stories. Their inner critic gets the better of them, fear takes control. We all have a story to tell, it is just the really brave ones, the ones willing to be vulnerable, that are willing to tell. To quiet my inner critic, I would come back to the why. Why am I doing this? This truth always kept me going.
Seattle Yoga News: What is your primary audience for the book?
Leah Zaccaria : My story is the story of many. I truly believe anyone can get something out of my book. I created what I call Seen Cycles. There are 5. The first 3 cycles: Primal, Struggle, and Conform are cycles we ALL go through. This is where many people will relate to what I went through. The 4th and 5th cycles, Transform and Purpose not everyone gets to, so this is where I offer some inspiration to take the hero’s journey to make it to these cycles. I do think many people will see themselves in my story. That is my hope. If we know we are not alone, we will allow ourselves to be SEEN.
Seattle Yoga News: In your opinion, why do so many people cling to their corporate careers instead of pursuing their dream careers or other potential aspirations? What advice do you have for them?
Leah Zaccaria: I hit this hard in my book. But in a nutshell, people cling to their corporate careers because they get caught in conformity. We are taught a certain way, a way in which we are told we need to abide by. Get a good education and a good job and then you will be happy. Spoiler alert! It does not work that way. What makes us happy and of purpose, is if we are living our truth from within, not seeking the external validation from our societal and familial norms. It takes great courage to break free from conformity and live from your heart. There will be times in your life where you will be faced with a moment you can cross the threshold from conformity to transformation. You will need to let go of time and money invested, release old patterns and habits, and let a lot of things die. Take the journey. Trust me, it is worth it.
Seattle Yoga News: You continue to re-invent yourself as a successful business owner, as a book author,… What is next for Leah Zaccaria?
Leah Zaccaria: What I have done in the last 10 years blows my mind, and I am so excited about what the next 10 years will bring. I don’t entirely know but I feel like I caught a wave and I am riding it. Next year I will be in a business development phase again. I am looking at locations outside of Seattle for a possible 3rd studio. I am developing an international training program and creating my own YouTube channel as well. Honestly, I am open to receive. I am listening to the universe and am ready to serve in any way I can. There is so much there if you are willing to SEE it.
Anything else you would like to add?
Leah Zaccaria: I just want to say thank you. Thank you to you, to my yoga communities, and to the Seattle yoga community at large for all the love and support. I have seen the industry morph and evolve over the last decade and I am so grateful everyday to have been a part of it. I look forward to many more years serving the Seattle yoga community.
We invite you to check out Leah’s upcoming events on the Seattle Yoga News event calendar for upcoming book signing sessions she is hosting.
Leah Zaccaria is a former certified public accountant with a master’s in taxation turned yogi entrepreneur. She took her first yoga class in 2006 and later decided to marry her business expertise with her passion for yoga and opened her first studio, hauteyoga Queen Anne, in 2009, followed by shefayoga Roosevelt in 2013. She created Sendatsu Evolution in 2015, a teacher-training and leadership program that hosts several trainings, retreats, and workshops annually. She lives in Seattle with her daughter.