Tag Archives: yoga

Malcolm X Park x Bali Daisha

Washington DC … my friend Daisha made note that I’m in Dc quite often these days. It’s a nice in between place before getting to New York! In about a week Daisha will be flying off to Bali for a 6 month yoga teacher training. Im excited for her to start a brand new adventure. Traveling let’s us see life from a different space. We had to link up once more before she goes and it happened to be a drum circle popping off at Malcolm X park. The energy was high and the circle instantly brought back memories of Central Park drum circles I would go to years ago.

It was great to seeing those I rock with the most as usual! It took us 5 minutes to setup the camera for these lil shots so appreciate it! The people walking up the steps watched us fumbling around with iPhone cameras and negro rigged tripods had a laugh. We made plans to link up on that side of the world once our planets align!

Giant Golden Buddha

I’ve been thinking and getting more encouragement to begin sharing some of the good stories I have in the book of life. Many of them experiences everyone can relate to and some not so relatable one of a kind. I think I will be doing a podcast “Introducing the Cube” and I want to start the first episode talking about that one time my friend Jenny surprised me by bringing me inside a temple in China town that I’ve walked past every day after eating a handful of mushrooms. I like the way the audio sounds on iPhone so I may wing it from the good ol X for now but either way be on the look out for the cubes.

Gaze of Deliberation

It had been an hour since the plane landed in DC and a hot photoshoot would soon absorb the little energy that I had left. The flight was booked around 3 am it left at 6 am meaning I didn’t sleep all night. Somewhere in between picking up açaí bowls from South Block and finding supplies for an art project we drove pass this wall of greenery. The temperature for the north east is currently set to “hell”. The heat felt like it was giving you a hug and jumping on your back at the same time. We managed to snap a few shots then rush back to the car where the air conditioning was our ticket to heaven!

Yogi Selects – Catherine Dawn Yoga

When I put up the call for Yogi Selects I had a feeling I would get some good feedback! The summer time always opens people up to share a little more about themselves. @Catherine_Dawn_Yoga reached out and after much delay on my end I delivered a questionnaire she sent it back with everything we could ask for!  
If you could form thoughts solely on anything other than words what would it be and why?
If I could form thought solely on anything other than words it would be sensation. It is actually my current meditation practice. All thought stems from emotion; emotion stems from sensation; sensation a result of chemical reaction. If we could witness the thought that is attached to the sensation we can undo past patterns and create new ones.
We are overstimulated and have too much external input. People have lost the ability to use a lot of our senses because we are so disconnected from the natural world and stillness. It’s time to reclaim the lost knowledge.
What is your first memory?
When I was about 3 or 4 I used to sit in my mother’s room in Brooklyn. I could hear the church bells ringing because we lived across the street from the church. I would sit in her mirror with my face pressed close and examine how my pupils and iris’ opened and closed. I used to think about how I got here and who made me and if someone made me who made them.
How can one distinguish the difference between intelligence and intuition?
I suppose this question is similar to the question of  knowledge and wisdom.
Intelligence: We can learn something from books or from a teacher and rationalize things based on information and perhaps similar experience which would allow for inference.
Intuition: For some it comes more naturally than others. Intuition is a result of being fully present and paying attention to sensation. The sensation you receive contains the wisdom which one might describe as intuition. It may be the case that some can really harness/sharpen intuition that might come naturally with intentional focus allowing it to be less of a phenomena and more of a tool.
I’ve never been on a silent retreat? Can you share an experience that you may never forget from the 12 day Vipassana course
Vipassana is like a science experiment with your own psyche. 12 days. 9.5 days you cannot talk , gesture or look at another person except your teacher during set times to ask questions about the method and emergencies to the program manager. 2 vegetarian meals a day (last one at 11:30am) and 10 hours of meditation per day. There are breaks in between.
After the 9.5 days of silence with no external input all the participants were very excited to talk and connect. It was really beautiful but people became a bit overwhelmed. Schedules were forgotten and food went uneaten. Some could not sleep that night, others had headaches and I myself experienced spasms in my stomach muscles that evening. It was interested to observe how external input manifests in our bodies and our behaviors.
At one point during the Vipassana we saw a bear within 3 feet of us. We were all quite calm after days of 10 hours of meditation.I managed to communicate with the other attendees to move back into their cabins by signing and the bear passed without getting agitated. He was really just curious but if we had screamed the situation might have manifested quite differently.
Have you had any lucid yoga related dreams while sleeping?

I have had lucid dreams related to my path and intertwined with people who I have met along my yogic path. I have found lucid dreaming a powerful tool in gaining messages from the subconscious. Yogic meditation is not that far off from lucid dreaming when you tap into different practices.

Does life have a way of putting you in the right place at the right time? If so how can you realize that in the moment versus retrospectively?

 

I think it does. There are little details we can begin to notice as time goes on, some people call them synchronicities or messages from higher self. If you begin to follow them and trust it is like cracking the code but it is harder than it sounds. We often have self limiting beliefs that interfere. But that is why practices like yoga are key.
If there was one question you can have answered about the mysteries of life what would the question be?
How can we create harmony without disrupting the beauty of natural chaos and unpredictability?
I am always dancing with this question.
Has yoga help improve your running routine? If so how?
I don’t run as often as I used to but it certainly helped to improve my running. I started practicing yoga during a time where I was running in races and doing bootcamp like workouts. It helped me to better control my breath and also my focus during longer runs. On long runs the monkey mind starts to kick in and you sometime will hear yourself telling you to give up but you have to override it and keep going. Yoga give you specific ways to do that. Mantra, picking a focal point, imagining an object etc.
In which ways can poetry help translate the feelings yoga can provide?
Yoga and poetry are not different to me. Whether I am practicing yoga or writing I am connecting with a higher source. The ego gets lost in both practices. I sometimes use poetry to translate the revelations I receive in the yogic practices; It’s connecting to spirit and creating word.
So many blessing and good things ! Keep creating godly things!
Best,
Catherine

You can follow Catherine on her journey via Instagram 

Yoga, Rosa Parks and Mental Health Awareness

Rosa Parks practicing yoga at an event.” 1973 March. Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Visual Materials from the Rosa Parks Papers, [LC-DIG-ppmsca-58369]. Photo used with permission of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.
In the 2015 Library of Congress exhibit, “Beyond the Bus: Rosa Parks’ Lifelong Struggle for Justice,” photographs include documentation of Parks supporting Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 presidential campaign. This exhibit also reveals that “the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” was an advocate for mental and public health. When I recently discovered the previously unpublished 1973 picture of “Rosa Parks practicing yoga at an event” in the LOC digital archive, I recognized it is a poignant illustration of how Black women’s healing traditions are historical, spiritual, creative, and political. Revealing the Rosa Parks yoga picture publicly for the first time  underscores the ability of Black women’s historians to inform national efforts like Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July) while also bolstering vital community health work of organizations such as the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance.

At a similar time as the LOC exhibit, twenty of Rosa Parks’ nieces and nephews released a book honoring her life and commemorating what would have been her 100th birthday. In the collection, Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers her Life and Lessons, both a niece (Sheila McCauley Keys) and nephew (Asheber Macharia) recount Parks accompanying them to yoga class as well as cultivating her own private practice. They wrote,

I came to realize Auntie Rosa had interests that not too many people knew about. Her receptiveness always left me pleasantly surprised. This was especially true when she decided to join us at yoga classes. She really enjoyed it. … (Macharia)

Well into her senior years she has only recently begun practicing yoga. Splendid silver hair gives her away as the oldest student in most of the classes she occasionally attends with family, but she doesn’t care. She’s reached a point when she considers herself a student of life. … Eventually, she learns the movements and yogic principles well enough to practice alone in her home. She’ll answer the door wearing yoga pants…. (McCauley Keys)

Yoga’s popularity in the United States increased exponentially in the 1970s and ample research links yoga practice to decreased anxiety and depression. African American women, disproportionality impacted by social stressors, also have a long history of yoga awareness and practice.

In her appeal to Congress for mental health support, Henson noted that religious communities often suggest we “pray away” problems. Rosa Parks, a Deaconess at the AME Church in Detroit, personifies the possibility of incorporating a holistic health approach to personal and community health in Black spaces. Yoga was incorporated into programming at the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, founded in 1987, and is still taught there in several forums. Fittingly, yoga is also a routine activity at the Rosa Parks Elementary School in San Francisco, California. As health professionals begin to prioritize restorative and preventative public policy that includes practices like yoga, they can turn to historical examples for support and proof of efficacy.

Mental health-centered practices include and extend beyond self-care routines. Angela Davis, who wrote about her yoga and meditation practice while imprisoned for her political activism the 1970s, is one of many voices that rightly cautions against “individual” conceptions of self-care. Long-time advocates like Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) founder Byllye Avery clearly state the need for community building around self-care discussions as a form of consciousness raising. For over forty years, public health educators like BWHI in Washington, D. C. and Center for Black Women’s Wellness in Atlanta, GA have trumpeted education about self-care practices as crucial tools for mental health and advocacy groups like No More Martyrs and Black Ladies in Public Health continue to push in that direction forward.

Source – Truth.AbwH

Why We Do Yoga 2

In this chapter of Why we do Yoga, I travel to a few new places to find out the reasons and ways people do yoga. Familiar faces and new encounters lead me through a slew of changes plans but graceful adjustments. Watch as one connection leads to another from Martinique all the way back to Atlanta and a few places in between. Luck and coincidence carried me through this one. Look forward to the next soon enough. Peace 

The list of Yogis keeps growing but you can find most of the people seen in this one on Instagram

@EyeFocus
@SlyviaDESROSES Yogi / Translator 
@TheMartinicianWayOfLife
@PintsizeNurse Yogi
@NakeeshaSmith Yogi 
@MaatPetrova Fitness Wellness Coach 
@Allthingscoyia Yogi Mommy
@ReignGlobal Artist 
@HadiiyaBarbel Lifestyle Empowerment
@Theiridescentgoddess Yogi 
@LittleMsDaisha Yogi 
@Yirser Yogi 
@Quoom Drummer
@Doomzday_1 Drummer 
@Raine.Supreme Yogi 
@BluetreasurePhotography Yogi / Photo
@Yoga_Bay Yogi 
@KindredSpiritCR Equine Therapist / Yogi
Corrine Aulakh Equine Therapist / Yogi
@MovingArtExperience
@TheOmBrunch
@LifeisArt_Films Yogi 

@Aminabina
@By_Elr Yogi
@IamReneeWatkins Yogi  
@YogaPlayground Yogi 
@Dade2Shelby Yogi 
@Bri.Simpson Artist 
Cristian Taxi Costa Rica 

Let me know what you think

Yogi Selects w. Tierra Denae

In an attempt to find some random yogis I put out a IG story  requesting anyone that views it to tag a yogi …. one & only one person came through @alana_not_graceful and tagged a super dope yogi that goes by @Tierra.Denae  I briefly scrolled through her page and caught a few ideas! I’m definitely looking forward to attending a disconnect retreat! check out what she shared about yoga and life!

What has yoga helped you open yourself up to receiving that you may have been having trouble with before?

Vibrations of the earth around me. I believe I was stuck with the falsities of “reality.” Especially in the United States, our idea of what is right or wrong, what being rich means, and how we treat one another. I wasn’t receiving the truth of the world, and my internal light.

How do you incorporate your photography practice in with your yoga regime and vice versa?

Yoga to me is life. Bringing everything together and making it delicious, and fluid. I try to discover something new everyday. With my photography, and modeling for others, I hope to bring to do that as well. Also capturing the moments that don’t always look “pretty.”

Why Is the disconnect-retreat necessary in a technology dominant time and can you tell us more about it?

We are addicted to “likes” and opinion sharing. Even myself. The Disconnect came about after going to a yoga retreat and seeing so many people still very connected to everything outside of their current experience with one another.  I thought to myself if I ever had a retreat, no one would be able to use electronic devices (outside of the photographer) so that we could truly get back to human connection. Every retreat since that time has been increasingly better and deeper.

 

 

Can you recall your first memory if so describe the experience.

Yes, I was 2 or 3 maybe, my mother was driving us back to our small apartment and it was dark. A storm had just ended but the lightening still glowing within the clouds. I remember seeing faces and people in the clouds, colors of black, red, and purple.

While meditating have you had any experiences/sensations that are hard to explain? 

Yes, I attempt to, but sometimes I just keep the sensations to myself and honor that it was had.

 

Are there lessons you have learned from the ocean?Absolutely. What we need more than anything is support. We can’t do everything alone. Pollution is hard to get rid of, in the oceans, the mind, the body, one another, but it can be done with time and patience.

I noticed you practice with a community, is it more fun or benefit to do yoga with others or alone? I’ve always practiced by myself so I find the group gatherings fascinating…I like it both ways, my community allows me to find connection through a lot of the sensations I feel when I practice. They keep me accountable and in check when I am in doubt. My personal practice is something a bit more sacred. I speak with my ancestors and tap into my goddess energy.

 

 

Sometimes what’s hard is your head, Not your heart….. How does yoga help you ease the mind and open your heart?

Compassion. I’ve learned compassion through yoga. If nothing else, it creates a space for me to love better, be kinder in thought and action with others. And that space allows for an open mind.

What is meditating/practicing in a pyramid like? and Are you familiar the book Shape power?

I could try to explain it, but you’ll have to come see for yourself. Some people cry immediately upon entry and even before practice. The space sits on a vortex of energy so each experience is different. I have personally felt an array of emotions and vibrations. I have not heard of it, but I’m putting it on my list now!

 

How can fear be beneficial?

Fear is beneficial in that its a guide to what you are capable of. Your dreams are often right on the other side waiting for you to work through it all.

Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of infocus247.com?

Allow time for your mind to be still and your heart to be open. The possibilities become endless and your legend to be built.

Where does compassion live?

I believe it is in us to be compassionate. We have an innate ability for compassion. I think it is linked to the same sense that tells us right from wrong. It is a felt sense of awareness about what is needed in a particular situation, such as when a family member or pet dies. We have the instinctive response to feel sad for the person who lost a loved one (empathy) and the desire to perform some action that will help the other person feel better.

Compassion is part of our nature. It might be buried deep under some other emotion such as anger or fear, making it difficult to fully express your compassion. If compassion is built into our human nature, what does it take to nurture this quality? Can our innate compassion be further developed at all stages of our life? I think this is possible. I have read that the practices of yoga and meditation help many people open their hearts and allow their nature of compassion to grow. Once your heart opens, you may begin to feel somewhat vulnerable to the ebb and flow of life. But it is our ability to connect with our own internal struggle for self-compassion that is the gateway towards directing our compassion towards others.

Instead of giving ourselves over to the struggles (obstacles) of life and feelings of defeat or hopelessness, our practice of yoga and meditation guides us gradually to see the struggles of life with clearer vision and bring forth from within the strength and wisdom to overcome our obstacles. In learning the art of yoga and meditation, we find the intuitive wisdom that reveals compassion as one of the many qualities built into our human nature. During those moments of quiet contemplation, we can find the needed nurturing of compassion for ourselves that inspires and enables us to extend our compassion to others.

Written by Dee Williams of SeattleYogaNews.com

Founder, Kanjin Yoga

FOCUS: MS DAISHA

 

The last time I was graced with presence of Ms Daisha was about a month or two ago. I hopped on a bus to Baltimore to run around and grab some photos/videos with her for an hour or two. The bus schedules are weird. Either way it was fun to be able to have more time to explore together in New York and it seemed like we found our way over to the bridge!