Photo by Bryanna Bradley Photography. http://www.bryannabradley.ca/
Happy International Women's Day! Everyday, we are surrounded by such powerful, strong and inspiring women that radiate light into this world — it simply cannot be ignored. Here is a conversation with four ladies that not only live a passionate yogic lifestyle, but push their limits everyday in pursuing their dreams.
Katherine has been teaching yoga for 18 years and competing in distance running for 13 years. Her love for health, movement, stillness, breath, and alignment shines through when she is teaching. Katherine is passionate about the benefits of yoga for everyone. She loves organizing retreats and workshops, both locally and internationally to encourage everyone to dive deeper into their practice. She is inspired to share her passions with everyone and see how they can be a positive light to everyone’s life, and always with the brightest smile on her face. Find her at Runningintoyoga.ca or @runningintoyoga.
Dora Kamau is a mental health visionary, self-care advocate and the founder of Bliss Your Heart, an online and in-person women’s platform rooted in self-care, self-love and mental health. After a near death experience at birth and overcoming a serious of unfortunate events in her teenage years, Dora transmuted her shortcomings as a catalyst for growth into the multifaceted woman she is today. She has made it her life’s purpose and soul mission to guide other women on their journey to wholeness & wellness. Whether it’s through her online presence or in-person events and workshops, she creates and holds space for women to step into their power & offers a new perspective on life. Aside from being a student of life, Dora also holds a BA in Psychology, with a specialization in adolescent psychology and is in her final year of completing her BSc. in Psychiatric Nursing. Find her @dora_kamau or @blissyourheart.
Taraneh Erfan King, is a writer, educator and registered counsellor whose purpose is to hold space for conscious awakening. Her work is informed by her deep passion to create opportunities for inward development, and purpose-led transformation. She is currently focused on supporting parents in building conscious relationships with their children, allowing for the connection in their family unit to be a path to awakening, creating powerful ripples of healing and joy in all areas of their lives. Taraneh is also mom to two magic humans, and is writing a book on the topic of spiritual health and awakening. Learn more about Taraneh here: www.mindonspirit.com. Photo by Scott Little Photography.
Melody was raised on a small farm on Hornby Island, off the coast of Vancouver Island where her exploration of alternative living began. Her yoga training includes both Vinyasa and Yoga Therapy. She has an Integrative Massage and Yoga Therapy practice in Tofino, B.C, where she currently resides. She also holds a Diploma of Acupuncture from Pacific Rim College and awaiting her final exam results to become a Registered Acupuncturist (R. Ac). She wholeheartedly believes in the power of holistic medicine. She encourages people to use their hearts, bodies, breath, creativity and vulnerability in order to transform. Her approach in both yoga teaching and massage is to guide others using non-intrusive, gentle, and intuitive methods. Find Melody @melodynicolewalford. Images by Bryanna Bradley photography.
1. How does the practice of yoga inform your other projects/passions? What aspects of yoga have you incorporated into your process?
The practice of yoga helps me be more patient with myself. When I’m organizing and planning my retreats and my training, things do not always go the way I plan. Yoga helps me to slow down, take a step back, breathe and reassess where things may have gone wrong or if I need to take a break. I meditate and I ask questions as it really works for me. Within a few days, the answers will usually show up. When I get into the flow, running becomes my meditation and my yoga. It’s that present moment experience where it is just me and the trail. It’s beautiful how yoga and running are very similar that way.
Being in the flow and being slow and intentional are two aspects of yoga that I’ve incorporated in my life. I wouldn’t say I practice yoga to the point where it has informed my projects and passions, but the teachings within the practice are what I use and implement daily. Returning back to my breath and being mindful while my breath feeds my mind and my emotions, have been the most useful tools in my journey thus far.
Yoga allows me to come home to my Self again and again. Every time I step onto my mat, I move through more than just an asana practice. I allow the teachings of yoga (such as the yamas and the niyamas) to inform my practice in body, mind and spirit. This practice leaves me nourished, calm and at peace with the present moment, which is all there ever is. It is this presence that supports all aspects of my life, including projects and passions.
Yoga stabilises me in what is true and real. It clears the way for energy to flow and reminds me of life’s beauty and ease. It simply helps me not freak out about the small stuff and gain some grounded perspective. It is my best friend in regulating my nervous system, so I can attend to the details of life without getting consumed by them. Every once and a while I feel my expansiveness and Divinity--this is so important so I don’t get lost in my thoughts and fears.
2. Aside from yoga, what else ignites your soul?
Waking up everyday I take a moment to be thankful for what I have - my health, family, friends, my dog- Sheba, and the work that I do. It ignites my soul to get up and be my best self, love myself and live a healthy lifestyle, in which I feel that I can inspire others to do the same.
My deep appreciation for life and my curiosity of its intricacy is what ignites my soul. Also, a cold ataulfo mango on a hot summer day is equally igniting.
I come alive when I am engaged in the topic of consciousness, whether it be through my one-on-one work with clients, teaching, writing, reading, or in dialogue with others. I find a deep sense of joy and excitement, as well as curiosity and openness when considering the bigger questions in life, like “Who am I?” and “How can I best contribute?”
I am drawn to the wild with all of my being. Surfing is a passion that has been with me for over 13 years now and continues to wake me up to present. I have learned that I need a lot of laughter and play in my life to help me balance my intensity and tendency to strive. This helps me to soften and let go of the stress that accumulates in my body. I love to sing (badly) but I do it anyway. Deep nourishment for my soul comes from my friends and boyfriend who inspire me and help me relax. I love to travel and wandering without a goal--this is really healing for me. Culture awakens me to the incredible diversity and capacity this earth has. Looking at the stars at night reminds me of my smallness and yet significance in this big Universe-I need this regularly. Finally, dancing helps me to move stuck energy and trapped emotions in a way that feels very therapeutic and soul awakening!
3. What drives you to push the limits in your field? What keeps you motivated?
I love to push the limits in my field by always learning. I make an effort to take a class that is taught by someone with more experience at least once a week. It recharges my batteries. I am at my best when I practice consistently, and I find it very important to keep a regular routine. I stay motivated in running as I want to see what I can achieve. With hard work and dedication, I surprised myself many times by seeing how the impossible became possible.
Other than being a devout Capricorn, what motivates me is the potential impact that lies within me to change the world or be a part of that change. What drives me to push the limits in my field is the existing limitations that have been set by outdated paradigms, programs and beliefs.
I am committed to being an active participant in creating a healthier, happier, more connected global community, and a better tomorrow for all beings. I know that in order to create positive change and healing in our world, we must begin healing from within and understand that we have a powerful ripple effect. Ultimately, it is my deep love for the world that motivates me in my work: to invite others along on the journey of Self-awareness, and taking responsibility for shifting our individual and then our collective experience towards more peace and harmony.
My student’s gratitude is a big force in keeping my in line with my aim. I keep coming back to the look in a person’s eyes when something lands within them. I remember having those moments and they have shaped me. I also remind myself that life is precious and we have limited time here in this body, it is not to be wasted in worry and fear. Honestly, following love just feels so much better!
4. What advice do you have for women to establish a new passion or find their calling?
My advice is to follow your dreams. Don’t wait. After my first yoga class, I knew that I was going to teach yoga one day. When I completed my yoga teacher training, I was so scared. I wanted to wait till I was “ready”, but the studio owner had put me on the schedule at 6am the next day. I was terrified, I did not want to do it. I don’t remember much about the first class except how much I was shaking and how scared I was, but my sister was there to support me. After that, I made myself go back and keep teaching. Stalk your fears, and do what scares you! If you are comfortable, you are not in the right place- learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, that’s where you grow.
Your authenticity can never be replicated. Something that I had to overcome was the feeling of being an imposter. I’m sure that is a feeling that a lot of people experience when they are pursuing their passion. You might feel inadequate, unworthy, lacking experience or feel like you have nothing to offer because it’s already been done but, YOU can never be replicated. You can be imitated, however it will never be as good as the blueprint. Every other individual on this earth has something unique to offer. Our gifts are shaped by our past, our experiences and our perspectives. Those aspects are reflected in the work we bring forth. When you’re establishing a new passion or finding your calling, it is possible that it has already been done, but someone, somewhere is in search of what you have to offer.
Gift yourself with time and space to sit in silence, cultivating presence each day. Out of our stillness and quiet, a deep inner wisdom arises to support us in finding the way to (and through) our passions, callings, and life experience in general.
Follow ease and give yourself permission to let go of inner judgement. We all could slow down and find kindness and genuine care for ourselves in this intense world. I would say take time to be quiet and listen, allowing the senses to guide so you can tune into the whispers beneath the surface of distraction, conditioning, and outside influence. It is here you can get really clear on what is true for you. We all know what lights us up but we get confused. Meet yourself with the most loving softness and see what changes.
5. How would you like to make an impact in this world? What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to make an impact by being a part of a community of like-minded people and sharing my passions and encouraging others to do the same. Yoga brings awareness, mindfulness, love and kindness to ourselves and to others which creates a peaceful world. I created ‘Runningintoyoga’ retreats to bring together like-minded people and encourage a healthy lifestyle through meditation, movement and nutrition. I want to be remembered as a positive influence, someone that lived life to their fullest, and showed the world that anything is possible with a great sense of humour.
My greatest impact would just be to be remembered for who I was. Authentically, truly and in alignment with my purpose. I hope that when people remember me, they remember me for who I was and I think that will be impactful on it’s own.
If there is one thing I hope people experience in my presence in this lifetime, it is kindness.
The energy that I radiate. For me it really is the simple things, like a moment of true connection, like a genuine smile from deep inside. I would love to hear that my presence was calmly uplifting and that sharing space helped others to see and feel a depth of their own brilliance and beauty. If by my presence on this earth there was a little more love and acceptance I would be really stoked!
We hope you have a wonderful day of celebrating the amazing women in your lives. Keep standing in your power and continue living your passionate lives.