Shanila Sattar is the founder of Flow Breathwork Facilitator Training, author of Breathe, a fourth generation sound healer, women’s researcher, national speaker, and host of a Top 6 podcast, The Playground. She is the creator of AlwaysPlay Studios and The Integrative Healing Academy, where she trains sound healers, breathwork facilitators, and mentors aspiring healers in the healing arts.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Shanila Sattar: Entrepreneurship to me means having fun creating opportunities to be of service.
Tell us about your first experience with entrepreneurship.
SS: Where do I start! Do I tell you about the time I used to sell print outs of lyrics in elementary school? Ha ha. My first official start with entrepreneurship was during college when I co-founded an award-winning digital agency from the basement of a library. It came from an excitement of being able to creates websites, databases, and design for amazing companies and campaigns.
What is your company’s origin story? What is the biggest reason you started your business? What did those early days look like and teach you?
SS: AlwaysPlay Studios & Flow Breathwork Facilitator Training started from a desire to elevate facilitators in underrepresented, marginalized, and underserved communities with tools for holistic wellness, like breathwork and sound baths. The wellness space can be confusing at times, riddled with bypassing of lived experiences, lack of accessibility, and erasure of diversity. I wanted to create spaces of healing which then led me to support other folks who wanted to do the same. Creating a breathwork facilitator training from a decolonized lens has supported hundreds of practitioners in bringing holistic tools to therapy offices, youth groups, summer camps, schools, retreats, masterminds, rehabilitation spaces, and more.
What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
SS: I’m proud of how much I allowed and allow myself to play in my entrepreneurship journey and accepting that everything is always in evolution. What I would’ve done differently is built a team earlier on and made the leap to get support for myself on a day-to-day basis.
What does “success” look like for you? We’d love to hear your biggest, boldest dream? What do you think will help you achieve it?
SS: Success to my looks like being in evolution of my crafts and expression of my crafts. I don’t want to get caught in doing something because that’s just what I’m used to. A big dream for me is to train 100,000 flow breathwork facilitators who are embodying their healing journey! I would love create curriculum for colleges so students can have an introduction to holistic wellness classes! I would love to see integrative healing arts as part of what everyone learns growing up. What would help me achieve it? Well, feel free to invite me to create curriculum for colleges and we’ll be well on our way!
What is your superpower as an entrepreneur? What is your proudest and darkest moment so far? Share a key high and a key low from your journey if you can.
SS: My superpower as an entrepreneur is that I am able to dance and blend between different worlds. In healer archetypes, I call this the Alchemist. With my background in research science and deep experiences in holistic wellness, I do a fine dance in consolidating information, connecting the dots from different layers of studies, and tapping into a wide range of knowledge that ultimately support the way that I train breathwork facilitators. My proudest moments are when I see brand new practitioners who were super scared to start training in breathwork, begin to find their voice and embrace their expression as a practitioner. It’s never a short-term gratification for me. Sometimes I have to wait months if not years to see this manifestation come to fruition. But when it does! It’s one of the best feelings watching someone grow into their own voice.
What are your personal driving principals, your top values?
SS: One of my top values in integration. It’s fun to learn and grow, but as I mentioned before, I really believe that we evolve and grow as people, and that reflects onto our businesses too. I’m into meeting myself where I am and leaving room for things to change as well. Integration means permission to take time and really looks at what going to be fulfilling and rewarding in this next season.
How have your personal principles and values shaped your company’s values and principles?
SS: Oh, I’m always preaching integration! My facilitators who come to be certified in breathwork or generally train in the healing arts, have a tendency to think they have to “be one thing”. That is the fallacy of traditional business that looks very different for intuitive, creatives, and healers. There is much more of an energetic awareness that we create in our trainings that really promote the idea of integration. Okay you learned all this. So what? How is this relevant to your life or the way you are called into service? My company’s values reflect that as we support our breathwork facilitators teaching inside The Breathwork Club on Sundays (free for the community) and watch them really come into their own expressions. Cookie cutter healing is based in bypassing lived experiences and the way our breathwork practitioners are standouts is because they take time for integration.
What’s it like to work alone or with your partners?
SS: High level stuff is solo for me. I love visioning and daydreaming of crazy things my 12 month healing arts practitioner immersion where folks come to study the healing arts for 12 months! This really is my working style of high level and big picture.
Do you have a mentor? Tell us about what makes them valuable to you and your business?
SS: I’ve had different mentors for different things and what makes them valuable to me is them living what they are teaching. Some of my favorite mentors have been with me for 10+ years and it’s awesome to be witnessed in my own growth, not just in creating successful businesses, but in my personal evolution as well.
What role does mentorship play in your world (as a mentor or mentee)?
SS: I am both! In my official work, I’m a mentor to hundreds of healers at any given time. Mentorship is the backbone of what we do at AlwaysPlay Studios and Flow Breathwork Facilitator Training.
Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
SS: That question is triggering in so many ways haha. I truly believe in seasonal energies and being intuitive with your body’s specific needs. In modern culture, we have a lack of understanding around how circadian, ultradian, and infradian rhythms shift, seasonally. We also have menstruation that impacts what a routine could and would look like depending on the cycle.
What are you reading or have read?
SS: Yesterday I was the moon by Noor Unnahar
Where do you go for inspiration?
SS: Nature. Face in the sun. Feet in the water.
Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or words of wisdom to get through the tough days?
SS: This is a neutral event.
What is a problem that keeps you up at night?
SS: As someone who teaches people how to sleep better with breathwork, I can’t honestly say I have this problem.
How do you think about helping others through your work?
SS: The whole foundation of my work is based in service.
What advice do you have for fellow (and aspiring) entrepreneurs building and leading teams?
SS: Start from where you are. Keep your eyes on your own paper. Receive support. Keep creating. Keep playing.
What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as – as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
SS: I less want to be known as a type of entrepreneur but more for the impact my work lives on in others.
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