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i returned from ethiopia early last monday morning. for the first time in my life of traveling, i slept through the first leg of the flight from addis ababa to dublin. one could even say, i had a smile on my face for the 6 remaining hours that i stayed awake until arriving in washington's dulles airport.
my homecoming has been jubilant, peaceful, and quiet, all at once. while adjusting to the time change, i have been up very early in the morning baking, awaiting the birds to rise, and enjoying the stillness. it has made me very heart happy.
i feel no sense of urgency. no sense of obligation. just a peaceful cloak around me as my eyes and ears re-adjust to the life i once lived. as i become one with my freedom, i am open to whatever is next. in my meditations, i have repeated the mantra, “clarity — direction — guidance” opening myself to re-alignment. as i watch the world around me travel at a pace that i am yet not ready to join, i embrace the stillness i found back in ethiopia and rest in its comfort. as the holiday rush begins, i hope you, too, find quiet moments to breathe, to make your coffee slowly, and to wait for the birds to rise.
in an effort to get your body moving this fall, i have teamed up with core72 at cathedral commons to offer free community yoga on sunday november 5, 12, and 19 from 10:30-11:30am. registration is not required, all that we ask is that you bring your own mat.
the end of the year is fast approaching! the 4th annual New Year’s Eve intention setting practice is scheduled for sunday, december 31st from 6-8:30pm. i absolutely love leading this practice which is compromised of asana, chakra balancing, and intention setting. by reflecting on the year that has passed and inviting the new, we consciously create space to manifest what we desire in our lives. the evening has always been filled with the most exquisite energy that reverberates for the days, weeks, and months to follow. reserve your spot here, it is always sold out!
i am always delighted to support you through private instruction, and to share with you the gift of this yoga practice. send me a note to get together.
be still and watch the universe open up for you.
i have come to the realization that as i age, i want my experience on earth school to soften me, not harden me. i want to be fearless in giving myself the kindness, love, and respect i did not receive. and i want to use all that i learn to live my best life.
in january 2016, my intention for the year was returning. a conscious past life regression in order to cleanse, heal, and unearth the roots of my patterns. it has been a deeply painful yet rewarding self-exploration journey, one that has left me in awe. and one that will put me on a plane to my birth country, addis ababa, ethiopia, after nearly 10 years tomorrow morning.
a lot has changed for me over the course of these last 24 months. in an attempt to align with my highest self, i changed neighborhoods, made tremendous breakthroughs through counseling and yoga, and resigned from my post at Ann Mashburn. as i continue to get closer to my why and shed the layers that no longer serve, i am humbled by the universe asking, are you living your best life?
guilt, fear, and shame, were keeping me from daring to live my best life and tuning in to the things that matter most to me. guilt of appearing too selfish. fearful that i am leaving others behind. and shame for not being content with what i have and where i am, and instead wanting more. i realize that what i want is to cultivate relationships (emotional, financial, mental, physical, spiritual) that are rooted in love, reciprocity, and respect. and that actually, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
what does living your best life mean to you?
i will return from ethiopia on october 23. join me for satsang on sunday, october 29 from 10:30am-12pm focusing on inversions. if you are terrified of getting into headstand, don't let fear stop you. come and be guided intelligently and safely into the world of inversions. coffee, discourse, and pastries to follow.
to keep up with my active and busy lifestyle, i teamed up with splendid spoon for meals throughout the week. all of the meals are plant based and free of gluten. the best part is that there is no cooking involved! you can customize your delivery to reflect all three meals of the day or choose what suits you. as a gesture of my gratitude, use this code: NYASPOON20 to receive $20 off your order!
i hope that you, too, return and reclaim what is rightfully yours. a life filled with an abundance of creative space, relationships rooted in reciprocity and respect, and a healthy lifestyle that will carry you for years and generations to come.
live your best life!
fall is my favorite season. i love when the air turns and i can wear my scarves, sweaters, and boots again. i love the colors changing. i love a hot chocolate in the morning warming me from the inside out. and mostly, i love falling back in love.
it has been an intense summer for all of us, each of us changing and transforming in our own way. and with the recent eclipse, i know so much continues to change and shift. it is an amazing time to stay observant and receptive to all the unexpected.
fall is a great time to fall back in love with our friends. our self care rituals with meditation and yoga. our trail runs and long walks. falling back in love with baking blueberry muffins when everyone is still asleep inviting them to awaken to the sweet smell of love. throwing in all of the veggies in the fridge into a pan and making a huge frittata, and whatever else fell off our plate for the summer.
i know for certain that i am looking forward to hot chocolate dates with friends, trail running in rock creek park, and falling back in love.
join me for satsang on september 24 from 10:30-12 focusing on cooling seated postures. coffee, discourse, and pastries to follow.
fall back in love with your yoga practice with 20% off a private instruction 5 pack and invite a friend to share the time with you! from the drop down menu, choose 'class pack' and 'fall back in love.' private practice is a great time to customize what you want out of your practice, ask questions, and work on the more challenging postures you have been curious to try all in the comfort and safety of your own home.
i am all about falling in love, every day!
i have just returned back from a 4 week sabbatical. there were days of contemplation, days where the whole day was spent in pajamas, days where i had nothing planned, days where i cared for others, and a day when i knew it was time to return to my tree house in washington, d.c.
i feel very much at peace. a sort of full acceptance that everything is temporary anyway, so what's the big deal? where before i would get so upset with myself for not knowing what i want to do with my one-wonderful-life, now i just take it one day at a time. and let my one-wonderful-life reveal to me what it would like to do today.
this life is a gift. time is a gift. the privilege to use time as currency every day is a gift. if we were more open in the way life leads us, imagine all the surprises we would find!
i am still taking a teaching sabbatical, but join me for private instruction on monday's, you can reserve your spot here.
satsang this month will be held on august 27, coffee, discourse, and pastries to follow.
i hope you are enjoying the warm sun loving on your skin. sunday morning pancakes. and all the surprises. and while time may not heal all wounds, it certainly does make things more clear.
"now is the season to know that everything we do is sacred." -hafiz
healing is a topic of life that i am deeply interested in and devoted to. i became conscious of my own healing journey about 18 months ago when i hired a therapist to help me understand my individual traumatic blueprint. it has been an awakening and awe inspiring journey, and while sometimes painful, it has been worth every hour we have spent together. i had always interpreted healing to mean that it was an inside job, but what i have learned is that healing is actually an outside job. the depth of ones healing isn't fully realized until there is an interaction with the universe where one is shown that they are actually learning acceptance, intimacy, safety, and trust. when these states of being are mirrored back to you from the universe, healing is accomplished.
i thought it would be a joyous exercise to jot down some of what healing means to me and perhaps this will inspire you to create a fun list for yourself.
healing to me means...
lots of sleep
long days of living without doing
listening to the birds sing
a long hot shower
lighting a candle
hot lemon water
living my best life
a beautiful glass of wine
kneeling for prayer
long aimless walks
taking care of mom
what does healing mean for you?
i am on sabbatical and focusing on each part of what healing means for me. satsang is on july 25 from 10:30a-12pm focusing on balance and standing postures. reserve your space here. coffee, discourse, and pastries to follow!
keep a pulse on me this summer through my social media outlets, or shoot me a note.
sending you healing in abundance!
i fell into a very fascinating conversation regarding time this past weekend. i am one of those folks who is perpetually busy. with the exception of the hours i use for sleep, my days are usually fully scheduled. it had never occurred to me that this was a “problem” because in my mind, i was choosing this way of life.
as far back as i can recall, my schedule has always been full. while in conversation, effortlessly, the words “you know why i do this, right? when i was a girl, in order to avoid being abused by my step-father, i scheduled myself for activities after school” flew out of my mouth. it was as if something was speaking through me — a new portal of insight. and here i was, still scheduling myself for activities even though there was no longer anything to hide from.
it is amazing what happens when we accept the responsibility of being an aware, conscious, and softened human being. habits long formed are willing to reveal their source and permit the path for reformation. what a gift in this life to work through the anatomy of our being and recreate a harmonious world within ourselves. i have been over scheduling myself for nearly two decades and it is just now that i can clearly see why.
what is the source of some of your habits?
in honor of slowing down and assessing how i use my temporal currency, i will be taking a teaching sabbatical beginning july 1. you can still practice with me through the monthly satsang in my home and through private instruction.
enjoy final days of practice with me at georgetown yoga this month on tuesday june, 13, 20, 27 and thursday june 15, 22, and 29 at 7:45pm. satsang this month is on sunday, june 25 from 10:30am to 12:00pm. reserve your spot here. coffee, discourse, and pastries to follow.
so with that, use your temporal currency well. i wish you the best of everything.
this past sunday, as i was leaving a coffee shop walking past the bishops garden, i felt a certain resignation in my soul. a resignation to faith. to believing and trusting that no matter where my life is going, it is going exactly where it is supposed to. and all the fears that come up like weeds in the garden of my life, are just little indicators that need patience and reassurance that all is going to be well.
i spent the whole month of april moving from an apartment i occupied for four years on U street to a small, light filled, tree house across from the washington national cathedral. leading up to the move, i had so much anxiety about the act of letting go of one space for another. i was not sure if i would like it, if i was making a mistake, if it ended up not being right for whatever reason… i tried many ways to talk myself out of leaving U street despite that i had felt creatively stifled for months. something inside of me must have known what was right because on april 1, i camped out on the floor of my new place just so i could start the month off right. i used the remaining 29 days to move my things in slowly and to give myself ample time to transition. it was as if i was holding my own hand through the process. it was the most mindful, low stress move i have ever experienced.
i think we are all in a way resigning to faith. to a belief that the world is actually a good, safe, and whole place. and despite all the fractures of society, we are all moving toward healing. we heal one, we heal all.
on the yoga front: i have taken over thursday night slow flow at georgetown yoga. if you enjoy the tuesday night class and want a double dose, or if thursday just works better for your schedule, you can practice with me at 7:45pm.
satsang this month is on may 21 from 10:30-12. we will focus on spinal mobility and work to liberate the spine through twists. reserve your spot here. coffee, discourse, and pastries to follow.
sometimes all we need to do is move out of the way and allow everything else to shift around us.
i have been exploring the blueprint of my trauma consciously for the past eighteen months. maybe it has been longer, but i feel like i only began to actually see myself quite recently. more specifically, i have been enamored with the ability of trauma to stay alive in the body long after the traumatic event has come to pass. it is the reason why practicing and teaching movement has become so important to me as a vehicle for healing.
i experience the resurgence of trauma through gut feelings, through temporary paralysis in circumstances i feel i cannot control, and sometimes, through my dreams. what i have come to learn is that in moments like these, when present experiences mirror the past, my brain and body are unable to discern what is really happening in the moment.
part of seeing oneself fully is being brave enough to hold compassionate space for the person we find. the one who is afraid. the one who does not feel safe. the one we judge. the one we know needs us more than anyone else. it is through studying our individual blueprint that we begin to actually see. it's our map for understanding our behaviors, reactions, and triggers.
if you considered the scope of your trauma, moment to moment, would you change how you show up in the world?
when i began to cultivate a yoga practice twelve years ago, i had not realized that it would serve as my medium for healing. i was not aware that i needed to heal. through my practice i have been able to slowly regain ownership of myself and change the harmony of my inner world. even still, i am just beginning to feel the warmth of my own heart.
practice with me tuesday april 11, 18, and 25 at georgetown yoga. wednesday, april 12 at 7:45pm, i am filling in for Tali Herskowitz and leading one of my favorite practices; restorative yoga. come release and fill up on a midweek self-care session! satsang this month is on april 30, focusing on forward folds: surrendering to what is, 10:30-12pm. sign up for your spot here!
be the subject you want to know better.
i have long believed that visceral responses are guidance from the divine. it took me a very long time to tune in, but ever since, i have not looked back. in fact, if i do not receive a visceral response from my everyday life experiences, i have been programmed to believe that whatever it is, it needs further exploration.
when i reflect on the months before i moved to DC six years ago, it was a visceral decision to leave Boston in search of something bigger --- deeper. and to trace back even to the move from Addis Ababa to Maine, while it wasn't a solo choice, it was a shift that was motivated by something deeper. thus, i have come to rely heavily on my biofeedback and what it has in store for me.
there has been a lot of rumbling in my soul, and i imagine it is so for the collective conscious. the world is so traumatized by an orchestra of events ranging from rights to our bodies, to terminal illnesses that claims lives seemingly over night. every day, headlines are taking our attention away from the virtues we want to cultivate such as compassion, gratitude, and loving-kindness. now is the time to tune in. to sharpen the vision. to listen more. and to walk fully into our light. if you have yet to feel a ***shift*** within wait, it is coming for you.
what are you being called to do?
practice tuning in and listening to your biofeedback through asana practice. i am teaching at georgetown yoga on tuesday's march 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 7:45-8:45pm. and hosting satsang in my home on sunday, march 19 from 10:30am-12pm.
if you have yet to attend satsang, i invite you to join in. you can liken it to a relaxing sunday morning with good coffee, sagacious discourse, friends, food, music, and some yoga. we'll be covering backbends from cobra to wheel. reserve your spot here, space is limited.
also for the month of march, i am offering 20% off a 5 class pack for private instruction. if you are new to yoga or want to deepen an existing practice, private instruction is the best compliment to your every day activities. the great thing is that you do not have to do this alone, you can share the 60 minutes with up to three other friends. if you would like to take advantage of this offer, send me a note.
i wish you love and light from the depth of my heart and hope that at least today, you find the courage to walk fully into your divine light.
i spent all morning taking delight in the time i had at home. usually, i have an hour in the morning to practice my self-care rituals which consist of hot lemon water, 100 squats, an omelette if i can squeeze it in, and finally dashing out wishing my cat Kali a wonderful day. today however, i had 2 hours. not only could i extend the time i cared for myself, i even had extra time to enjoy the process.
i have just returned from a sojourn in charleston, south carolina where i celebrated my turn around the sun. with an abundance of time, filled with nothing but activities that evoke states of gratitude, fulfillment, and joy, i fell into the hands of bliss. i realized that this was the first time, in the whole of my life where i felt absolutely no guilt about giving to myself first. this caused me to wonder, aside from the week of my birth, do i spend the other 358 days feeling guilt about giving to myself first? even more important, i wondered, how can i take this experience home with me? how can i find time each day to rejoice in the miracle of being alive? i think the answer is practice. practice giving to yourself first!
while it may be true that there are many things that consume us, ranging from our children to our work, it is possible to cultivate a daily self-care ritual that allows space and time to feel grateful, to feel full, and to feel at peace. i invite you to practice giving to yourself first in some small way, every day, consistently. how much time isn't as important as the consistency of the ritual that you create. the truth is, the more you can practice giving to yourself first, the better you will be at giving to others. i will be rooting for you all the way!
***7 chances to practice with me in the month of february:
monday’s february 6, 13, 20, and 27, join me for small group yoga limited to 6 students in the lounge upstairs at chaia. chaia, a female-owned business run by the dynamic duo Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon, offers seasonal, plant-based, tacos with an emphasis of sourcing locally. if you haven’t been, you are in for a treat! reserve your spot here!
tuesday’s february 21 and 28, i will be guiding a slow flow at georgetown yoga. my class on tuesday’s february 7 and 14 will be guided by the lovely Molly Dunn.
finally, on sunday, february 26, join in on satsang #2 focusing on neck and shoulder opening in my home from 10:30a-12p. following practice will be a reading as well as coffee, tea, and breakfast pastries. reserve your spot here, space is limited.
thank you for joining me on this journey, it is my absolute pleasure to serve you!
happy new year! i hope the first eleven days still have you gripped in the palms of inspiration. i have a feeling this year is going to be expansive. for all who have been doing the deep work toward living a more conscious, connected, and whole life… this year is yours! stretch out your wings, take up as much space as you need to, and expand!
at the 3rd annual new year’s eve intention setting + 2 hour practice, i met some of the most wonderful people and mindfully, we sealed one year in order to begin another. i used this template for provoking the minds of all who were present and a few days later, sat down with my journal to set some intentions for my year. the idea is to list a thing(s) that you would like to stop, to start, and to continue. the things you want to continue are those that are already working well for you. the ones you begin new are things you may have been thinking about for a while, but haven't put into action. and the things to stop are those that enable you to get in your own way. my list is below, i hope it is helpful for you in generating your own!
this year, i will…
stop: wasting energy
this year, i will…
start: facing my fears
start: making myself breakfast as many mornings as possible
start: monthly satsang in my home, sign up for the first one here!
this year, i will…
continue: peeling off the layers
continue: practicing mindfulness and yoga
continue: the process of becoming whole.
conscious, connected, whole living, happens one simple step at a time. every day, begin again. find me on tuesday nights at georgetown yoga for a slow vinyasa at 7:45pm.
date: saturday december 31st, 2016
level: all levels
location: S3 Active, 1274 5th street NE
note: no refunds or credits for workshops, space is limited to 30 students.
join Nya Alemayhu for this special two-hour practice on New Years Eve. Nya will guide an empowering vinyasa flow that will prepare the body for a focused meditation on the energetic and emotional qualities of the chakra— the seven major energy centers of the body. these powerful centers can be accessed in a yoga practice using physical postures and by tapping into breath practices, visualization, mudra, mantra, sound and meditation.
the chakras and their corresponding natural elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) will guide us from the toes to the crown of the head. when we learn how to use our yoga as medicine to organize our energy and observe our emotions, a greater level of health, peace and balance is possible. there will be time to journal what arises for you and what you hope to manifest in the coming year. practice will conclude with restorative postures focused on renewal and a return to a state of peace. all levels are welcomed. please bring a journal and a pen along with any small objects that are sacred to you.
sign up here!
when i reflect on who i was before i began my practice, it is not an exaggeration to say, i hardly recognize myself today. entering the yoga portal has not only regenerated my heart, but it has restructured my thoughts, my beliefs and my attitude to and relationship with the earth.
the very first yoga lesson i learned is compassion for oneself. compassion for others, as a concept and as a practice, had always made sense to me. graciousness, kindness and empathy toward the human condition is not something i had a challenge giving to others, it was just something i did not believe in giving myself. i grew up the eldest of six children—two brothers and three sisters. my parents were working-class African immigrants who were more focused on providing for the family than actually being with the family. naturally, i adopted the maternal role for my siblings and provided all that they needed, ranging from meals to help with homework, and even so far as interpreting the valleys of adolescence. as a result, i had deeply identified with the caretaker and caregiver archetype. somehow, i had internalized that to mean that caregivers nourish others but not themselves. you can only imagine how much this mind-frame dictated my relationships.
i found that the reason why i did not believe in compassion for myself is because i did not think i deserved it. the alchemy of my personal trauma includes guilt, shame and worthlessness. the narrative of my trauma includes abuse, abandonment and lots of fear. all of these emotional knots were hiding in my body, particularly in my heart and throat.
i had come to a point in my life where the undercurrent of my childhood trauma was beginning to swallow me. one day, i accepted that while my yoga has lifted the veil of my inner world, it was not enough. i needed a verbal sounding board. it was not until i began psycho-therapy in addition to my asana practice that i saw exactly how much was beneath my surface.
yoga asana practice is incredible for creating space in the physical body. all the lengthening, stretching and twisting actually has a purpose. i believe that it allows for emotional cobwebs to be given air and space, so that we may see what we have been hiding inside tight hips, shoulders and particularly, in the space behind the heart. all of these asana, or seat, require that you be still and see what arises. that information is the reason why one shows up for practice. to see themselves in their natural, vulnerable state—and to be empowered enough to soften it.
the second yoga lesson i learned, or rather reclaimed, is my voice. part of growing up in an abusive home is not speaking one’s truth—or any truth really—that would disturb any concept of peace. for fear that my thoughts and words would create more harm for me, i said nothing. i had not realized how much of this was also woven into the fabric of my beliefs until i began to hear and see myself.
yoga can be seen from an intellectual perspective as a template—as a pillar to lead one’s life. it takes a certain amount of bravery to face yourself, compassionately and begin to untangle the layers. if i did not have the haven of my mat, i don’t know that i would have trusted enough to actually unearth all of my being.
sometimes, i still cannot recognize myself and i realize it is because my heart has been regenerated and just as a foreign object, my body is not yet used to it.
i roll out my mat every day because it’s a reaffirmation that i am worth it, that i am sacred and that i am divine. this is also the same reason i teach. i want to hold space for people to see the light in who they are and to be in awe of how beautiful and brightly it shines.
i have been going through pretty extensive psychotherapy for quite some time. for a long while, i was using my practice as therapy, meditation as therapy, running as therapy, until i realized i would benefit most from an actual person listening to me and working with me in understanding the alchemy of my trauma.
last November, i found a very special woman at the viva center and have been seeing her weekly. we have gotten to the part of my trauma that is painful to even look at, let alone talk about. the part of my narrative that i have been hiding and hiding from my whole life. as i untangle my "true self" from webs of guilt, shame, and other unpleasantries, i have surprisingly found space for acceptance. a lot of untangling trauma is remembering that where you are presently is safe, good, and whole.
on wednesday, after my visit that i could barely sit through, i left her office and walked outside to unlock my bicycle and get on home. right near my bike there were two stones engraved with a message. one read, "believe" in orange stone and the other read, "courage" in blue stone. funnily, i picked up both and tossed "courage" back on the earth. convincing myself that i didn't need it. i didn't need courage. and then i picked it back up with a sweet smile in my heart because i knew these were messages i needed today. and always.
self-study, also known as swadhyaya in sanskrit is the fourth limb of yoga. through the study of oneself, it is believed that we become nearer to not only God, but our divine nature. as i go into these darker parts, the universe, my guides and those who love me are reminding me to have faith and to not be afraid.
and have courage.
its been a long time since
i have heard you
i almost forgot what you sound like.
countless years you were silent
a burning coal at the base of my neck.
i hear you at work
with my friends
with my love
i hear you in the silent gaps of my solitude.
i never believed you could sweetly
speak your truth.
and listen to you now,
saturating the earth with the sound of your love.
on sunday, february 14th from 2:30-4:30pm, i will be hosting the 2nd annual valentine's day partner yoga practice.
i believe that when we are living and acting from our heart center, we are nourishing not only ourself, but also those around us. valentine's day is commercialized as the day of giving love. so, while you are in the mode of giving, why not give something that will empower your partner and possibly introduce them to something new.
this yoga practice will begin by opening the heart chakra followed by a light-hearted and playful afternoon exploring various acro-inspired asanas that will deepen your connection. this practice is suitable for beginners and open to all partners. invite a friend, family member, your barista, or significant other and share the love.
sign up here!
it has become increasingly important to me to give in to faith. when i say that, i am not talking about the church or holy bible, but rather the transcendental force that is the universe.
i have realized that it is so important to return to the wholeness that we were born with. we live in such an unpredictable world that sustains itself on change. drastic change, none of which is reliable. what is reliable is the internal peace we are able to create as individuals and sustain.
i have been going through a process of excavation for quite some time now and each chord i stumble on, however painful, has delivered me closer to my true self. and more important, to the parts of me that need healing. so, when i speak of returning, i don't expect that we return in the same form we arrived, but in a different way. in a way we can relate to our emotional self, our childhood self, our adolescent self, our young adult self. all of these periods of identity that maybe did not get the attention nor the ability to fully express who they are.
i listen to people all the time talking about this fleeting notion of happiness. but what i hear beneath the surface of everyday language is people expressing their desire to feel WHOLE. happiness changes every passing minute, but wholeness, the feeling that one has everything they could possibly need, that is sustainable. and that is something no one in the world can take away.
so, as i traverse through this yogic valley, this healing valley, i am sometimes defensive, but most times receptive. i know beyond my human abilities to reason that there is something for me here. for all of us here. we just have to sit quietly enough for the truth to arise from the cave of our soul.
"your heart is the softest place on earth. take care of it."
last year, i led a 2 hour asana practice that included chakra meditation, journaling and intention setting for the coming year. this year, i am doing it again, but adding on 30 minutes for deep meditation and journaling.
i find intention setting very powerful particularly as we close out one chapter and create space for another. chakra meditation, when approached gracefully can open up space for tremendous clarity and healing.
new years eve practice will begin with a heating asana practice, evolve into deep meditation and journaling and conclude with restorative postures focused on renewal and a return to a state of peace. all levels are welcomed. please bring a journal, a pen, and any small objects that are sacred to you.
practice will being at 7pm and end at 9:30pm. sign up here!
first, as a human being.
second, as a human in the body of a woman.
third, as an artist.
fourth, as Nya Alemayhu.
fifth, as an Ethiopian--African.
sixth, as a "black" human in America.
I rise. I rise. I RISE.