What has been the most lesson you have learned from following your heart?The most valuable lesson I learned from following my heart is that it may be scary at first but it is absolutely for fulfilling. I can’t take concessions where my passion is concerned. When I lead with an open heart I am certainly aligned with my authentic self.
What can be the hardest aspect to control about your emotions that yoga can help with?
Control. Yoga helps me to let go of trying to control and shape everything. To be in flow and align with my highest self. Pranayam helps me to breathe through any emotions that arise or get stuck.
In which ways can your body communicate with you?
Your body always tells you the truth! Body awareness, embodiment and somatic work is integral to my work. Once we understand the link between emotional events and physical symptoms we will have a better understanding of how to heal. My body tells me everything and I listen.
How are some of the ways you manifest soulful joy?
I manifest soulful joy by not taking myself so seriously! I dance often, go for walks in nature, and do my best to connect with my inner child. She likes swimming naked, laughing and doing cartwheels in the grass. 🙂
Have you had any meditation experiences that have been hard to explain?
Movement meditation is where I communicate with my ancestors. The way I move, breath, speak transforms. It’s so magical. In the early hours just as I slip from sleep state into consciousness, I discovered that this is a great time to meditate. It’s when I listen to Divine consciousness. That’s all I can say about that because it is easier experienced.
Can creativity be used as a way to push pass old memories and trauma?
How have you utilized it? DEFINITELY. Creativity is essential to work through old memories and trauma. I write until my hearts content about any and everything. Movement especially somatic movement is a great way to connect with your individual creative side. I believe it gives you an opportunity to face yourself. In order to heal from trauma, you can’t bury them you have to face them. I was able to begin that journey through creative writing and movement.
What is your favorite myth and what is the lesson you received from it?
Well, I don’t know if I have a favorite. I believe there is some truth and lessons in all myths. Mythology is important for every culture especially Black Americans. Our language, customs, culture and spirituality was suppressed but still lives in our DNA and the stories told by our elders.
How has yoga helped you open space for others especially the divine feminine energy?
When women come to my yoga sessions they most likely come to fulfill some superficial purpose. I help them to dig depose. My intention is to guide them to be more expansive with their energy. To reconnect with their body beyond some physical goal. Yoga has been a gateway for me to reveal how essential it is that women be more loving and accepting of themselves just as they are.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of infocus247?
You are worthy. Just as you are. It is important for me to center my work around creating greater ease in the mind and body. So much of our struggle is because we don’t feel worthy and so we just do more and more to feel valued by others. Do you know who you are? Take time and be present with yourself. Be willing to soften, flow and let go so the you can rediscover your authentic self. You don’t need to become anything or anyone else. You are worthy. Just as you are.
Thanks again for reaching out. These were great questions and it was a pleasure to sit with them and answer them truly.
Today we have a chance to be blessed as always! The yogi select that was nice enough to share a little more about their practice this week is Leah or known as on instagram @Blessed2Empress. I noticed there were plenty of beautiful photos with intriguing captions but I was curious to know more! Have a read below and see yoga from a different perspective!
What was your perception of yoga before you began and what led you to the practice?
While I attained my undergraduate degree in Anthropology at New York University I worked the front desk at the Jivamukti Yoga School. To be honest I found many of the people there to be kinda weird and over the top (with vegan-ism etc) so that turned me off some. Also, as a woman of color it was hard for me to sit through the spiritual talks at the start of the classes. When I was younger and angrier (this is ceca 2004-2007) I wasn’t really feelin a white person telling me how to liberate myself through my yoga practice! But after a while I realized that the teachings themselves regardless of the delivery, or of the cultural appropriation were truly a gift.
I realized that I was there for a reason and that I should be open to receiving the knowledge for liberation. Rather than focusing on the others around me that were I needed to focus inward. Jivamukti in Sanskrit literally means freedom of the soul. I did my first teacher training there and am grateful for it.
Does living in a big city like New York effect the type of yoga you do? If so how
Yes Absolutely! NYC is a faced paced city, it is full of fast paced people. It is very Vata energetically . Yet despite this, most New York Yogi prefer a fast paced Vinyasa type practice which Ayurvedically creates Vata imbalance. Especially if you also do a lot of cardio based workouts in your fitness routine like running and cycling. Since I am also a personal trainer who is into board sports I try and use my yoga practice to provide balance. Physically I use my yoga practice to help correct muscular imbalances and over exertion. Energetically I use my yoga Practice for doshic balance. My dosha is already very Vata and I live in a Vata city, thus my yoga practice has to be more Kapha if I want to achieve harmony. My life is fast, my city is fast and my workouts are usually strength endurance based, so my yoga practice has now become slow. Not easy, not boring, but slower for sure.
Do you feel yoga has helped your workout routine?
I often do yoga prior to or after my workout as a warm up or cool down. I consider yoga to be a part of my fitness regimen so I often tailor my yoga practice to help me prepare for sports and strength training or, as a recovery technique. These sessions are shorter than a traditional vinyasa practice but very effective.
How did you come across sup yoga and what are some of the differences in your experience on the water vs land.
I tried paddle-boarding in Miami for the first time in 2013. I had already been surfing on and off a few years and thought SUP Yoga would be right up my ally. I found SUP school and signed up for a class, but when the teacher arrived he wasn’t the Yoga teacher, just a person teaching paddle technique. Paddle-boarding was challenging yet relaxing and I found myself naturally trying poses on my own while the instructor worked with other students. Then when I came back to NY I found a SUP yoga teacher training in the Hampton’s and signed up! Yoga on the paddle board is awesome because it challenges you in a whole new way. Poses that are “easy” on the mat are not so easy on the water. You really have to engage mula bandha and uddiyana bandha in order to stay on the board. Plus even if you fall off that’s fun too! The most interesting thing about teaching on the board though is that most traditional yoga sequencing just doesn’t work so you have to re-learn how to sequence a yoga class. It is also very peaceful to practice outside and to be on the water in general. One of the main reasons I got into board sports in the first place is for that city escape. You need water to surf and paddle-board. You need snow for snowboarding, you need nature.
What was one thing you learned about yourself during your practice that may have been hard to see previously?
As I continue to practice I’ve realized that the strength portion of yoga for me, is way more important than flexibility. I’ve always been very flexible and training in dance and gymnastics as a child increased that ability. As I have gotten older my practice has changed. I’ve learned that hyper mobility promotes injury so my personal practice has become very different than the type of practice I teach to those who sit at a desk all day and aren’t as flexible.
What was your first memory ever?
My first clear memory is being on my fathers shoulders walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. I remember we walked for a really long time and there were people everywhere crowding around us. I didn’t know them and I didn’t know why we had to keep walking. I was scared and crying by the end. Finally my mom came and picked us up in the car and drove us home. When I was older I asked my dad about it and he told me we were marching in protest to the Howard Beach race attacks. This was in 1986 so I was 4 years old. 23 year old Michael Griffith, an immigrant from Trinidad had been killed when white teens chased him onto the highway. His his car had broken down in “the wrong neighborhood” and he and three other young black males were severely beaten. The teens chased Michael onto the highway where he was hit by a car and left in the road to die. The driver was another white, local teen who was incidentally the son of a police officer.
What do you find most beneficial about meditating?
For the past six months I’ve been working with a meditation teacher trained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Its all about loving kindness. Giving that to yourself and giving it to others. I think selflessness can be overrated sometimes. How can one care for others if not for for oneself? Giving loving kindness to yourself is really powerful. Empowerment of self enables you to be stronger for others, open to others, compassionate to others.
Do you think you learn more as a teacher teaching yoga or as a student?
I am certainly most grateful to all of my yoga teachers and have learned so much from them! You cannot be a teacher without first being a student. Likewise, you also learn allot being a teacher. You learn about different bodies, different injuries, different moods. You develop different types of flows and sequencing. However interestingly my participation in other forms of sports and training has inadvertently taught me the most about how to be a good yoga instructor. When you work with different kinds of athletes and study the body mechanics of what they do and how they do it, it enables you to be able to teach to a wider student body. Also since yoga has such a large spiritual component, I find the anatomy portion in the study of yoga to be lacking. Most of what I have learned about body mechanics and its applicability in yoga was through personal training and Pilate’s coursework.
I’ve never been surfing so how can a yoga session prepare you physically and mentally before you paddle out?
Surfing uses very specific joint actions when paddling out. It requires shoulder mobility as you paddle, spinal extension to keep the head and chest lifted off the board, and lateral flexion of the trunk as your torso moves from side to side while paddling. Once you have gotten past the break and are trying to catch a wave you also need a good amount of cervical rotation to look back at the wave you are trying to catch. All of these joint actions are a part of any standard yoga practice. Sun salutations, reverse prayer, cow pose and other binds promote shoulder mobility, while upward facing dog, bow pose, wheel and other back bends utilize spinal extension. Lateral flexion of the trunk is performed in triangle pose, extended angle, and other standing poses, while cervical rotation occurs each time you look up towards your lifted hand or down towards your mat in those poses. Once you have caught and are riding a wave, surfing necessitates a lot of internal rotation of the femur. This is one of the major ways that enables you to turn the board in reaction to the wave. In yoga, internal rotation of the femur occurs when you turn your feet inward from a turned out (90 degree) position. For example, coming into a straddle from warrior two, or rotating both feet from one side to the other so that the front of you mat becomes the back and vice versa. This is why I recommend an Ashtanga based standing practice in preparation for surfing. In the Ashtanga primary series you rotate the feet from one side to the other in-order to switch to the other side, rather than stepping the opposite foot forward from downward facing dog. Another major factor in turning the board once you are actually surfing is trunk rotation. So a presurf yoga series should also incorporate a LOT of twisting poses. But surfing isn’t just about joint actions. It is about a neuromuscular connection as well. This is because you are exercising in the ocean which is a reactive setting. The practice of yoga prior to surfing allows your body to reinforce those neurological connections while you’re in a stable environment.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of infocus247
I am just happy to be included in a social media project featuring yogi’s of color. We are so marginally represented and our views, practice, knowledge and history is so important! I thank you for your interest and look forward to reading future featured yogi’s.
On our daily scroll through yogis we came across Cloudspin! With the latest theme being clouds and sky yoga activities I found her name fascinating and that led me to asking a few questions pertaining her practice! check out what she shared below!
What sparked your desires to become a contortionist?
I think it’s the fact that contortion requires more flexibility and strength than yoga does… I like to challenge myself and keep my practice constant as a yogi.
Being a knowledge sponge what have you absorbed from yoga…. and over time what have you squeezed out that no longer serves you?
the primary thing yoga has taught me is being patient, being calm, and keeping a gentle hold on things to come, and I’ve learned to stop being close minded about people, to accept diversity and love people however weird they may seem
How has astrology helped you gain a better introspection of yourself?
it has helped me understand my actions, my response to certain situations and create a better connection with the universe… it has also help me accept that it’s okay to be a little different
How did you come across yoga and what do you think you would do without it?
honestly I think if I’m not doing yoga then I’d probably be doing yoga, maybe I could be a ballerina, I’ve always loved graceful things… and I came across yoga while suffering from back strain, someone recommended a few yoga poses and I’ve been hooked ever since
Have you had any hard to explain meditation sessions? if so feel free to share
A few times, sometimes I’m just too angry or anxious about something to get in a good meditation session, I go to yoga for calm, sometimes are just better than others… and when that happens, I listen to my soul and gives it what it wants
Where do you see yourself doing yoga in the world 10 years from now?
Ten years from now, I want a more pronounced practice, sharing my journey with a lot more people, and creating more awareness about yoga from this part of the world…
What type of mental stress has your practice help you relieve and how do you go about conducting a release ?
That would be anxiousness and worry, I worry about the future constantly I plan and plan, yoga has helped me deal with that by teaching me to focus on what is, the moment, enjoying the journey as it unfolds, and I aid that by going to my mat as often as I can and finding a time to practice my prayanama breathing
Move your mind and the body follows? Where is your mind at the moment and how does your body feel following the leader?
At the moment I think my mind and energy is focused on making the most out of my life, been happy and living a fulfilled life, and my body is following real well, all I’ve ever needed was a flexible mind
What was your first memory?
Well that’d be of me, sitting outside my house, reading alphabet books while holding a fish shaped toy that my mom made by herself from fabrics around the house
Have you had any yoga related dreams?
Yeah, I’d like to become a certified yoga teacher, teach around the world and help bring a better perception about yoga and other healthy lifestyle changes
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of infocus247?
Yes, you better chase your dreams with your cute self…. power isn’t given, it’s taken.
Seeing the future isn’t too hard as long as you don’t look to far ahead. With that being written I knew this connection would happen sooner than never. I observe, study and admire Yemoja Oshun’s social media and have always found everything she shares provoking. From powerful words to luring imagery that pulls you into her sensual world of yoga and possibility. Curious to learn more I putting on my thinking collar and sent over the question below. Enjoy Yogi Selector!!
What is your first memory?
When I reflect back on my childhood the two earliest memories that came to mind was of my brother and I being in our parents room knocking over our dad’s empty beer cans with a sling shot and of me pooping out a barrette that I had ate. I am not sure in which instance I was younger. There was something about seeing that barrette in the toilet that provides a vivid memory.
How can yoga surprise you?
What surprised me about yoga is the transformation that has taken place through connecting with my body in a pleasurable way. I came to realize it is not just a physical movement practice but it moves things within on a spiritual level and connects with my sexual being. My yoga practice is very yin and sensual. I slowly move through the asanas staying in a pose for awhile to ensure that I get to a place of peace in it. The flow is a meditative practice where I breathe and focus on my inner being. It is sensual because I am focused on what I feel which is another way to explore who I am at my core and it has pushed me to evolve as person. Since practicing nude I have gained body confidence and I find it erotic.
I have noticed how the postures are arousing for others to see even if not done nude and how they are great positions for sexual activity. I do not believe in order to be spiritual you have to pretend as if you are not a sexual being as well.
When you look at yourself what do you see now and what do you wish to see in the far future?
When I look at myself I see a woman who is constantly transforming. At every moment in the present and future I desire to be elated being me. When I learn new things I often shift removing things that are no longer serving me and/or incorporating things I see as beneficial for where I am on my journey. My goal is to be me so as I strip away conditioning that has taken me away from that goal I see my future as looking even more like who I was in the beginning before I got lost in things that are not of me.
How do you share a feeling that can’t be put into words?
Although I love to use words to write to evoke a certain feeling, I often feel most comfortable communicating through vibes and my favorite sense touch. I love to be felt through the energy I put out and I can channel that energy through using touch so people can literally feel me as well. What is one emotion that you’ve given yourself permission to express?
I have given myself permission to feel sexy and to express it through my style of dress, movement, and activities. It is an emotion that I have been shamed for expressing for a long time but I am feeling so much freedom as I get more and more comfortable with revealing it.
Have you had any yoga related fantasies or dreams that you have brought into manifestation?
I didn’t have the fantasy of becoming known through exhibiting my yoga practice on Instagram but I am thankful that it has been a manifestation. I feel honored for people to be inspired by me.
You appear to be drawn to the unknown and unexpected… What have you noticed in yourself that you don’t quite understand yet?
Within me is a strong desire to be submissive as in a BDSM relationship. I am still figuring out all the ways that I find it beneficial for my growth and wholeness and how I can help others to heal by participating in kink activities as well.
The name you have chosen is powerful, how do you implement the principles of Yemoja Oshun in your life?
I had a name that I felt did not fit me so when I asked for a more fitting one I was given the name Yemoja Oshun. Yemoja and Oshun are both goddess. Yemoja is a mothering figure, a protective nurturer and Oshun is the goddess of love and sensuality. As a nurturer I provide sacred space for people to heal. I also strive to live in a way that is loving towards all beings. Every activity I participate in is an opportunity to enjoy my senses and I encourage others to do the same.
How can practicing yoga and maintaining a healthy plant based diet benefit libido and overall health?
For me I have found that my yoga practice and plant based eating has had a positive effect in my body by increased natural lubrication and desire for sex. Concerning overall health both benefit my holistic wellness mentally, physically, spiritually, and sexually.
How can anticipation be a good element for your yoga practice?
I believe when you prepare for your yoga practice with anticipation that you are acknowledging the importance of taking the time to do something for your well being.
Is there anything you would like to share with the readers of infocus247.com
I would like to thank Infocus247 for the choosing me as a Yogi Select the questions made me go within and it was a bit of a challenge to come out to respond but I am thankful for the journey. I would like to share where I can be found on the internet. My Instagram and Snapchat is @yemojaoshun I am also working on my website yemojashun.com which will be launching on 7/21/17.
Finally got it done! I couldn’t stand to be called out again lol…. –LittleMsDaisha
Yes we will call you out occasionally at Infocus247, persistence is a element we definitely value over here! So if your taking a few months to answer some question we want to know why! Today Littlemsdaisha climbed her way out of the Questionnnaire sucken place lol… she was struggling to get the answers but Im glad she was able to pull through. We always run into each other at the movingartshows, she is one of the people I will look for to feel like ah.. everything is how it should be. … Check out what she had to share about her practice!
If you could of started yoga earlier in life at what age and why?
Hmmm… at first I was thinking I’d love to have started yoga as a toddler. Mainly because I’m thinking of how far along I’d be in my journey if I would have stuck with it from then until now. However, I honestly feel like I started my journey at the right time, when I was 25. I think now, as an adult with life experience (lol) I have a better appreciation of the practice and the journey.
Seriousness is a sin… What do you often take too serious about your yoga practice?
Seriousness is a sin! I agree with that completely. I like to take my practice as lightly as possible. I think that’s why I love to practice at home listening to whatever my playlist delivers. This way if I am stressing over something I can take a dance break or I can just stop. I usually get serious when I’m doing a challenge, then I find myself stressing about getting into the pose and getting a perfect (enough) shot of it. I actually went to school for photography so I’m my biggest critic when it comes to composition, lighting, etc. Yoga is hard when you force yourself to think about doing it “right”.
How has your yoga practice changed your thinking? And what problems has that change solved?
You usually hear yogis saying that yoga has changed their lives, I can say that is so true. Yoga turns you inward. I’m not sure how that happens..yoga magic I guess, but it happens to all the yogi’s I’ve seen. Once you notice that you hold emotions and stuff in certain areas of your body you naturally want to release them. When I learned to release things physically I then wanted to learn how to release them mentally and emotionally. So far from my practice, I’ve learned the importance of letting go and how to flow with the universe. This change has helped me start to view my life as if it were a movie, each scene as a lesson.
Have you had any mysterious or yoga related dreams ? If so feel free to share.
Hmm… I dont think I’ve had any yoga related dreams…. If I did I surely don’t remember them. Haha.
What’s the most important question you could ask yourself? What would you do with the answer ?
I struggled the most with this question. I mean, there are sooo many questions I could ask myself, what makes one more important than the other? In a strange web of connected events, yoga has lead me to learn about the universal Law of Attraction. Basically explained as like attracts like. Whatever we have & get out of life is attracted to us by our subconscious thoughts. This made me more interested in figuring out what was going on deep down. So I think the most important question that I could ask myself on a daily basis is; “Have you checked in with your subconscious today?” What could I do with the answer? Literally, anything, align my vibration to match the frequency of my desires, or just take a mental note and keep on keepin on.
If you pick a planet to travel to with the intention of spreading yoga throughout the universe which planet would you pick and why?
I would pick Mercury. Two reasons first because I’m thinking with it being the closest planet to the sun it would create a ripple effect down the solar system spreading yoga to the other planets. Secondly, because hot yoga classes seem to be popular throughout the US, sure it’s probably much hotter than 105 degrees on a typical day on Mercury BUT I think we’re onto something there.
How was your experience getting a chance to do full of body paint in the past movingart show?
Omg it was surreal. I remember the day I found out I was going to be in the show. I was sooo excited! Literally jumping up & down excited. I’m pretty sure I cried too lol. I went to the very first Moving Art show as a yoga newbie, I think I was 4 months into my practice at the time. It was so amazing to see the yogis that I’d been following on Instagram doing their THANG in person. I remember I took a photo with Dara @pintsizenurse & DJ @Dade_2_shelby. I knew I wanted to be in the show from that day. Fast forward to just under 2 years into my journey and I was standing on a platform next to Dara & DJ being painted as a thunderstorm! It’s so crazy how that turned out. Being body painted was also one of my goals and my artist Fenton was very passionate about his work. I represented Oya the Orisha of storms & wind and I surely looked like a dark & stormy night. A flexible one though. 🙂
If you were to look at yoga as an art form what would you express?
My life theme is freedom, I would want my yoga to express just that. Freedom to transform. Freedom to transcend. Freedom of choice. Freedom to be light, to carry light, to share light. Freedom to just exist. I want my yoga art to have a delicate but strong expression of freedom.
What would you say to anyone thinking of starting yoga but just hasn’t found their way to the mat?
Remember, I started out just looking at other yogis on social media. If you find yourself inspired by myself and/or other yogis then I invite you to just go ahead and start your journey. Yoga has no prerequisites. Just start without worrying about who, what where, when, and why. No excuses, it’s time 🙂
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of infocus247.com?
Yes. First, thanks for reading. Second, I’m working on a website. It’s www.littlemsdaisha.com. Pardon, it’s a little unfinished, but it’s in the works to be a great black-owned yoga/meditation shop & funny blog. I want to connect with all of you. Namaste 🙂
Not many people volunteer for yogi selects believe it or not … when Sabrina’s curiosity led to a comment about participating I instantly went to her Instagram page and let the questions flow as usual. Do you use any meditation routines or methods that incorporate focusing on the yoni as well as chakras ? If so share your process and expected experience
Since the yoni is located in the sacral chakra, any meditation that focuses on the yoni will also focus on the sacral chakra. Sometimes the meditations overlap with the heart chakra as well. I teach a three minute womb cleansing which gets the student to focus on the trauma in their yoni which ultimately on blacks the sacral chakra
Imagine a world where everyone agreed on eating only what can be grown from the soil…. Elaborate on some of the changes we would see if that were the world we lived in?
First of all there would be a severe decrease in health issues. Evidence is increasingly showing that a diet rich in meat is the cause of many ailments that Americans face. There would also be a decrease in the carbon footprint that we leave. It is said that the production of meat for consumption creates 40% more greenhouse gases then all that global transportation does. I think people that eat meat would overall experience higher energy levels because they would no longer be ingesting the flash of animals who were traumatized at their time of death. Those traumatized animals’ flesh contains the trauma in them. Then people ingest that flesh. Thus people will experience a lower vibrational energy. Eating high energy foods like produce will create higher energy in those consuming it. I think people would overall have a greater respect for the land as well as a better connection to it and thus there would be less crimes against nature. I also believe that there would be less hunger in the world because with all these people becoming one with the earth we would naturally do better at taking care of people who don’t have the resources to have what we have. How can learning about yoni steaming be beneficial for women?
Women can benefit greatly from yoni steaming. At the most basic level yoni steaming is good for healing. You can heal physically and emotionally. You can heal things physically like painful periods, fibroids, menopausal symptoms, shed old linings from the womb that have gotten lodged over time, increase fertility, detox the womb, etc. On an emotional level, the steam can help women release stored emotions/trauma stuck in the womb. By healing a woman’s most sacred place, she is allowed to fully step into the goddess she is meant to be.
Energy can be transmitted sexually. If you can, share one first hand example of when you noticed the exchange and some of the signs that led you to know?
After sharing intimate space with someone for a while, I began to notice that I felt a lower energy than I was used to experiencing. I actually began to take on the characteristics of the person. And not in the sense of hanging with someone and picking up on their idiosyncrasies, but more so feeling low, unsatisfied and unfulfilled even when I wasn’t in their presence. And this person very much had an energy that was low and unfulfilled even though I would never say he was depressed. When I began to meditate more in tune in to things going on within myself, I was able to bring my energy back up. I don’t think at the time I realize what was happening, but in hindsight I was able to figure it out.
What is your first memory of this existence?
Ha! I wish I could answer with something really deep and spiritual like I remember being conceived but that is definitely not the case. My first memory was when I was about three or four and I was spinning around in my grandmother’s living room and I hit my head on the corner of the wall. It hurt, I bled a little bit, and it left a huge knot in my hair. I still have the scar today.
Do you think there are some people that don’t require healing or does everyone require some form of healing? Share your thought process
I think that the very nature of being a human involves some level of pain which needs healing from. Different people experience different levels of pain but we all experience pain in some form or another. You will never have growth if you do not have pain. I can’t imagine that there is any human being that has never experienced pain that they needed to heal from. Pain is generally a perception. Pain occurs when you assign an emotion to an event. It’s human nature to attached feelings to events. But when you get to a place where you recognize that you are attaching feelings to an event, it can be very liberating to be able to redirect that emotional energy.
How do you measure intelligence ?
Due to my type A personality, I have unfortunately always measured intelligence by societal standards. I’m becoming more open to the idea that any person who has wisdom is intelligent. Being able to recite facts does not make you intelligent. Wisdom creates intelligence because it comes with experience. I have learned that the eastern way of viewing elders makes so much more sense then the western way. In eastern countries, the elderly are revered for their wisdom, while here in America the elderly are seen as a nuisance unfortunately.
Is yoga good for self acceptance of so how has it helped you in that
Yoga is awesome for self acceptance. If first of all brings you present which is the only space that exist. It allows you to exercise compassion, love, and forgiveness to self. Yoga is a judge-free zone. It accepts you as you are an asks for nothing more. When you slow down your breath and tune in to yourself, you are able to hear the things inside of you that have been vying for your attention. You can then begin to address these needs and thus create a more loving atmosphere within. I kept thinking for many years that I was broken and beyond repair. But yoga has taught me that although I may be broken, I can easily fix myself by injecting self love into all those cracks to make a more fortified version of myself.
Have you had any yoga related dreams or experiences during meditation that are hard to explain? Feel free to share
I had a pretty powerful meditation shortly after Donald Trump was put into office. I was meditating to Frank Ocean’s “Pink Matters” song and I ended up putting it on repeat. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the song before but listen to it and be aware of the words. As I repeatedly listened to the song as I did my breathing techniques, I quickly realize that earth is just a temporary situation. That all of the years of brainwashing that held me to impossible standards were all bullshit. That I no longer had to define myself by the societal norms that I no longer agreed with. I cried for probably 40 minutes. It was the most liberating experience I’ve ever had. I so look forward to another meditation like that! When you can free yourself from the garbage that tries to permeate your being you can really elevate to a whole other level. It’s sort of a transcendence.
Is there anything you would like to share with the readers of infocus247
After years of therapists, self-help books, and even taking Prozac for a short while in order to “fix” me, yoga has healed me in ways I never imagined. The healing that I felt from doing yoga is what made me want to become a yoga teacher. I want my community to feel the freedom and peace that comes from acceptance and understanding of one’s self. All that I have ever needed has been within me and I am reminded of that daily.
Thank you for the questions! I appreciate the opportunity to be introspective. Be well
Ive been following BohemianHeart for what seems like forever. I always remembered the unique style and look to her photographs. Time has passed and I became intrigued that I knew so little after following for atleast 3 years. My curiousity has led us to another inquisitive moment… this time with BohemianHeart
“Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body” What does your mind often leave home for and how do you find your way back?
Everyday responsibilities like work and household tasks occupy my mind for most of the day. I find my way back home when I practice pranayama, yoga and meditate. Just bringing attention to my breathe and keeping still helps me center myself.
Scrolling through your page and for the first time I see you dancing! How can dance compliment yoga and vice versa?
Dancing is the body’s way of expressing itself in a free and creative way – similar to how yoga is. It involves discipline, attention to detail, focus and heart. It brings out the emotions from a person. How we are able to move, bend, flex, and dance are all expressions of the body!
What does a bohemian lifestyle consist of and how can that be applied to the way you project love?
I don’t live by conventional rules or practices. I stay authentic to myself every step of the way from the way I dress to the way I lead my life. Music, arts and literature are a big part of my lifestyle. I spend lots of time being creative & artistic! I do a lot of little arts and crafts projects around my home. My latest project has been the courtyard in our house. This has been a fun project designing our little bohemian hangout area with plants, succulents, acquiring crystals, and creating handcrafted décor. For the artwork I used reclaimed wood for all the fixtures and started to dabble in painting mandalas & making macramé hangings. I love music and whenever I can, I help out in making music with my hubby. I read a lot of books, any kind of books! I connect with nature on the daily, I love to stop and admire the clouds, watch the sunrise/sunset, look at the trees or flowers that I see when I walk. As a bohemian, I propagate love and not hate.
What would you do to deflect negative energy without letting it effect how you feel?
Surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded and positive is the first step towards peace of mind. If there are times when negative energy is inevitable, going with the flow and diffusing whatever the situation might be can encourage more positive thinking, and ultimately feeling. Acknowledge whatever the feeling might be, then let it go.
How does it feel being able to share the passion you have for yoga with your daughter?
I look forward to and cherish the times I have with my daughter when we do yoga together. We spend hours doing yoga together whether it be at a “yoga spot” with beautiful art on the walls or just down the street from our house, we get to spend quality time with each other — and 99% of the time we’re giggling about who knows what while the other 1% actually concentrating on yoga.
In one of your post you detail advice from a tree…. If you can I would you to list advice from a waterfall…
You can’t always see what’s to come, just go with the flow, force nothing. Let it happen, trusting that wherever it leads, it’s for the best.
Have you had any mystical or hard to explain experiences during meditation or reiki sessions?
When I’m doing reiki energy healing, I feel the energy flow between me and the recipient. This warm and dynamic energy that fills you up from the inside and the experience is simply incredible and calming at the same time.
Do you have dreams you are uncertain will be manifested if so what is one and where does the doubt stem from?
I’m a very patient individual. If I have any unrealized dreams that has not manifested, I am optimistic that it will when the time is right.
Do you use mantras or mandalas to help you in meditation? How do they enhance or assist you?
I use the Tingcha to clear the energy around me before I meditate, chant or practice yoga. Then I use a quartz crystal singing bowl at the end of my meditation and practice to soothe the energy that I’ve built around and within me.
Did you ever see your practice evolving into what it has become?
No I did not. Everything that happened to me, happened organically. Life is full of unexpected surprises and I just go with what the universe has in store for me.
To follow BohemianHeart and stay updated with insightful post and beautiful photography go to her Instagram page and Enjoy! Thank you
Out of the 100’s of Q&A’s we send out these were the (8) select few that took the time out to give us a peek inside their life and yoga practice. We will be sending out 1,000’s for February so I think the response will be much greater! with that being said THANK YOU!!! @NandibTheDoula, Renee Watkins, Frank Mitchell, FlexyInkyjaja, KrystalTantricYogi, PintsizeNurse, TheEbonyYogini, AleeinWonderland and last but never least TheDarkYogi! Im sure someone has taken a little bit of inspiration from you somewhere in the world! Get ready for what is to come this month! I really appreciate having the opportunity to take you guys visually into where my mind is and share the vision! This month were going Biiiig!
Im really looking forward to what HippieHeathen has to share!
If you would like a Q&A Feel free to reach out and we can think of one just for you! Peace
We reached out to the one and only … Renee Watkins! My first encounter with Renee was half naked being dressed in paint. Knowing she is the life of the party I was interested in hearing what she had to share!
What makes the most noise when trying to silence your mind?
Oh man that is an extremely interesting question… i think most about creating and being better than my parents. In a sense I think everyone might but the fear of being like my parents (don’t get me wrong I love them but I see where they fail(ed)) forces me always have thoughts of new work, art, LIFE.
How can meditating help build your intuition?
I believe meditation helps you clear the clutter in your mind so you can hear your intuition/higher self clearly. No lie i feel like have ADHD (lol) so I AM ALWAYS THINKING and when I am able to sit back and sort through my thoughts I learn so much.
Do you feel children can benefit from practicing yoga? In turn how can parents benefit from having children that practice?
Oh coooourse they can… have you seen my kids? (Check out @aniyachavon on ig she’s a product of my madness) children who practice are easier to deal with, the have a different understanding of how the mind and the body work, and they’re dope af.
What have you unexpectedly achieved or accomplished with your yoga practice?
Peace and calm… that’s all I’ve ever wanted in life. I have my moments but for the most part I’ve succeeded where I needed it.
Have you had any yoga related dreams or metaphysical experiences during meditations that may be hard to explain? Feel free to share
I’m still battling with meditation so no i haven’t been that lucky yet.
How can expectations effect you off and on the mat?
you should not have expectations because if you do you lose sight of the bigger picture and to often you get discouraged.
I see you have a Yoga retreat in Jamaica coming up what can people expect if they join in? (I’ll film it if y’all cover travel expenses 😂)
Lmbooo man listen I have another one I’m trying to do in Cuba I’ll def pull you in on it. But as fair as Jamaica they should expect to see Renee uncut, the goofiness, the randomness, outspoken, ALL OF IT FOR 5 DAYS AND 4 NIGHTS. I practice hard, I love hard, I dream hard, I live hard and I offer myself in that same capacity so they will have full unfiltered access to it/me and hopefully they receive some type of positive inspiration.
What do you require to create your sacred space?
Sage to cleanse the air/surroundings/energy and free will to be Renee.
Have you ever tried yoga on magic mushrooms? How was that
lmbooooo no but that sounds amazing. I think I’ll try it in Jamaica.
How can yoga help women embrace themselves with more love and confidence?
Try it nude surrounded by mirrors so you are are forced to face all your fears and meet them where they haunt you. Once you strip yourself of all the distractions it’s easiest to truly get to you.
Is it important to have guidance in developing your yoga practice or can one learn just as much studying their body and relying on what feels best for them?
Doctors can’t perform brain surgery by watching YouTube videos… you have to get with someone who can tell you what you are doing right and wrong when it comes to alignment. I’m not saying go to yoga class everyday I am saying get with someone who knows what they are doing a seasoned yoga who has been properly trained (not even a certified yoga instructor because some of them are clueless too) at least twice a week. Once you have your alignment then go from there.
Can having a yoga “tribe” or community be beneficial in elevating your practice ?
Yesssss!!! @dade2shelby @yogineo @hippie_heathen @wonder_woman_o @pintsizenurse @superdopemin and @black3dahlia motivate the hell out of me. They make me want to work harder not only on my mat but in my daily life.
In the story of your life what does the first and last sentence say?
let’s just say I keep erasing it sooooo it’s forever changing so idk.
Do you have anything else to share with the readers of infocus247?
Always remember to live life without malicious intent ✌🏾&💜! Oh and if you are in or around Nashville get to #PoetryInMotionLive on March 4th rwyoga.com/poetryinmotionlive
S. Renee Watkins, CYT
RW Yoga Owner
Social Media: Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: iAmReneeWatkins
With a new surge of energy I put the word out I was reigniting Yogi Selects! TheEbonyYogini didn’t waste any time to reach out and let me know she was up for a few questions. A few days later and walaaaa! Check out what she had to share about her practice below.
How can yoga make you uncomfortable and can that be a good thing? If so why?
I came to the physical aspect of yoga as a means of healing an injury. When I started I was incapable of doing many things that I had previously been able to do and it brought me discomfort being physically limited. Yet the spiritual aspect allowed me to find contentment in my current state. There was also a time where as I was learning about the internal aspects of yoga where I was unsure about if I was able to become unattached or always live in the current moment. I had held onto the concepts of “success”, progress, and planning so much that letting those things go scared me. In a way it still does. I feel as though discomfort is always grounds for growth which is good. It shows me how I can extend yourself a bit further and maybe even surprise myself with what I may have never envisioned.
What was your perspective on yoga before you began practicing?
Yoga to me was stretching and breathing. My first time practicing was when I was 16 so I didn’t have much of an opinion on the practice at the time. It was something from my first class that made me feel powerful and centered. I liked that feeling and I wanted to maintain it.
Singing bowls often help you tune into specific tones would you like to share your experiences and are they helpful to your yoga practice?
The first time I experienced a singing bowl was after a community class where someone had volunteered to share it with us. When he begun I felt like I had left my body on the ground and I was carried away into this vortex. I literally almost tipped over because I felt so ethereal. It was so magical to me. From that point I wanted my students and others that I practice with to have that experience. It’s so uplifting and unifying.
If you were to select one aspect of your practice that helps your mind and another that helps your heart… What would those two aspects be and why?
Vinyasa (movement) is really what helps my mind. It forces me to hone in on my body and it’s movements…it’s honestly what lends to my clarity the most.
Pranayama (breath) is what contributes to my emotional wellness. If I am feeling like my emotions are all over I will walk away and breath whether it be ujjayi breath or alternate nostril breathing it helps me center. After I finish I am more than likely smiling with one hand on my chest and one hand on my belly. 🤗
Can yoga help you create physical and mental space for you self? Elaborate on how it has for you…
Yoga has taught me it’s okay to step back from things that are of no service to me. It has taught me that I do not have to tolerate being squelched or confined, that I am allowed to breath and be silent and be powerful in my space. By guiding me to the understanding that self-love is one of the greatest forms of love it has helped me in creating those spaces where I can love myself the most.
I came across your post commenting on your handwriting.. I’m into handwriting analysis and there is much to learn from how one writes… What could we learn from watching how you practice yoga?
One could learn that vinyasa is nuanced in practice…sometimes it’s fast and sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it’s static and sometimes it’s dynamic. One would also learn that breath is of the utmost importance in all situations. One could also learn that yoga is beyond a studio and a mat, it is in the way you move through this world and how you interact with all other living things.
Sessions with music or without music… Any specific reason to why?
That depends on the vibe and the day. My whole yoga training was done with no music so I value spaces where breath and noise are the soundtrack. It’s very organic but I know it makes some people uncomfortable. Yet I also teach classes such as Trap Yoga or Soulga where the primary focus is the music. I feel like it can certainly contribute to lifting vibes and spirits when used effectively.
Have you had any yoga related dreams or mystical experiences? If so feel free to share
I would say being carried away by singing bowls and the first time I delved into breathwork would be my mystical moments. It’s the ethereal feel they evoke from within that makes me treasure them so much. No dreams though… that I can recall!
How have you grown/progressed mentally and physically from when you first began yoga to now?
My body became a temple to me after I began practicing, not because I read it somewhere. Yoga allowed me to love myself in so many ways and want to share that love with others.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of infocus247.com?