Liza Estes: "You Get to a Point Where You Know that Something Has to Change"

Our February issue featured the yoga stylings of healthy hairdresser Liza Estes, who mastered yoga as part of a sort of “search for self.” Her yoga journey has taken her to personal yoga coaching, leading yoga classes for women in prison and, most recently, offering them in-salon within her local salon community. Her growth as a salon pro led her into expert coloring and the world of barbering.

But Estes’s story extends beyond that. The more she conquers her fears and insecurities, the less afraid she is to meet the next challenge. With an eye toward opening her own salon business, last month she finally took the plunge and became a solo stylist with Sola Salon Studios. She says that her new business is “gender-neutral,” bringing together women’s hair and men’s hair. She hopes to incorporate a yoga studio into the break room to further combine all of her passions.

While yoga helps to keep her in shape, Estes also maintains a healthy lifestyle. She used to party and not pay much attention to things like sleep, nutrition, good relationships and a work schedule that wasn’t always on overload. Now at age 32 she’s getting a lot of things right after learning how her body functions best.

“I need quality sleep, usually eight hours,” Estes says. “As hairdressers, we give away our energy all day long. When you have physical contact with another human being, you take on that person’s energy. In my 20s, I wouldn’t eat until I finished a long day of working. I ate too little and all the wrong foods. I burned out. I went part-time and was thinking about not doing hair at all anymore.” Then Estes changed her eating habits and applied some of her yoga training to deal with workday stress.

“I’m a very empathetic person, so things clients tell me can really affect me,” Estes notes. “Sometimes I go out of the salon, sit quietly and take 10 deep belly breaths. In the salon, I try to keep my feet parallel, in proper alignment. I’m tall and European shampoo bowls help, but I also try to keep my spine straight. I hold my shoulders back and keep my posture good as much as I can. It’s hard when my hands are up, but I’m at least aware. Then when I come home in the evening, I do stretches to open up the back and chest. After being in an introverted position all day, I want to do hip stretches to counter all of that. It feels so good to stretch your hips! We hold emotions and tension in our bodies. Stylists do so many repetitive movements. Stretches release the energy allow it to flow.”

Estes looks back and can’t pinpoint a moment when she knew she had to get healthier. “When I began yoga, I had no idea how it would change my life,” she says. “There’s no time frame for when things happen, but you get to a point where you know that something has to change, and it has to start within you."

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