Posts In: meditation

THE FESTIVAL

Set in the heart of the ancient and mystical Appalachian Mountains, the vision of Asheville Yoga Festival is to create a space for connection, adventure, play, relaxation and healing.

Downtown Asheville will be the retro-urban backdrop for the 2018 festival that will feature over 35 world-class presenters & musicians, and 80+ offerings including yoga, music and outdoor activities. In between classes you will have time to stroll through our beautiful outdoor Mountain Air Market, home to variety of unique health & wellness vendors and tasty treats.

While enjoying the pedestrian-friendly festival, you will have the opportunity to experience the eclectic, funky downtown scene complete with a variety of locally owned shops, art galleries, and close to 100 restaurants, coffeeshops & cafes.

Join me Octavia Raheem Saturday July 27th at 8am for Sacred+ Chill- Resting Within and Sunday July 28 at 2:00pm for Power of Slow

Use link here to receive 15% off: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-asheville-yoga-festival-tickets-48613375916?discount=octavia2019

Starshine and Clay: A mini-retreat to honor Black motherhood.
Not simply a yoga practice, this mindfully curated experience is an opportunity to for us to gather and rest. It is an opportunity for us to laugh, cry, share stories, and connect. It is a space to celebrate the joy, triumphs, and truths of being + becoming mothers.

Join Sacred Chill {West} co-owner Octavia Raheem for an afternoon focused on restorative yoga, mothering the mother, grown folks decadence {wine, dessert+ more), and community for Black women who are mothers, expecting, or in the process of planning to become one.This grounding and nourishing restorative class will only include poses that allow us to relax, release, and rest. Here we don’t have to tend to anyone but ourselves.Self-identified Black women are welcome to join. All levels are welcome to practice. No prior yoga experience is necessary.

This is a great experience for mother and daughter pairs 21+, and though we love our little ones- this practice is just for you, not them.

Price: All inclusive price $ 65 before April 30, 2018, $75 after.

Price includes:
• Extended CHILLshop®Restorative+ Yoga nidra practice
• An assortment of desserts and pastries (some gluten free and vegan options)
• Wine (red, white, and sparkling)
• Light bites of cheese and charcuterie from Star Provisions Café & Market
• Special gift just for you
… And so much more!

-Please bring your own mat or complimentary mats available on site
-All other props for practice provided
-Pre-registration is required for this workshop
– Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to settle in
– No refunds or transfers

Nothing is something

March 20, 2016

I have a space on my retreat registration form where those registering can write additional comments, thoughts, or things they want me to know.

One of the registrants wrote this:
“I’m so glad you listened to your calling and bless others every day with what you do! You have no idea how much your classes have helped me through one of the most difficult and transitional times in my life! I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. But most of all, I’ve changed in your classes. For that, I am truly grateful.”

I deeply appreciate this student’s message and her acknowledgement of my work as “listening to the call.”

Listening is challenging. The longer I listen, the more subtle nuisances I discern in the call. Listening to “the call” continually asks me to go against the grain, to measure the grain, to soften the grain, to refine. Refinement is not big. It’s attuning. It’s inner alignment.

It’s not something I can whip out and show you on here. It’s not “insta”, though it is happening now. Sometimes, it even looks like nothing.

Like in restorative yoga… I look like I am doing nothing, but I am tuning in. I am listening. Is that something?

I don’t practice asana every day any more.
Lately meditation has been me staring at the dark brown lines that have traced their way across my belly to my heart over the last 9.5 months.
I lost my mala beads a long time ago.
I chant and I cuss. (Sometimes at the same time) I am not vegan. I haven’t attempted headstand in two years, though I practice tadasana, standing firmly on my own two feet everyday.

Right now, my personal practice is holding space for myself to be broken and whole, raw and undone, to feel the constraints and expansiveness of my being human in the most simple shapes and ways- on and off the mat. Sometimes my practice is to do nothing but notice.

Since that is my personal practice, this has shown up powerfully in my teaching over the past year.

I’ve been known to say less than 100 words… almost nothing in a yin or restorative class. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I am listening and hear that my students’ voices, experiences, and truths are rising up in the form of laughter, tears, and prayers. I trust that their listening into those moments communicates beyond anything I might say.

This student’s message affirmed what I’ve been hearing on this side of the call these days:

I do not have to fill up every single space and gap for myself or students with words, philosophy, music, “challenging” poses etc (I love all that for sure, sometimes I know it’s just filler though)

Holding space can be plenty.

AND a quiet seat in the class is an asana that I MUST practice as a teacher, because what seems like nothing can lead to so much of something.

Slow down.

February 20, 2016

Two nights ago I was driving along in silence.
I heard a voice “day clear” say “Deer. Two. Ahead. Slow Down.”

I acknowledged it. Slowed down. Kept driving.

10 minutes later what do I see.
Deer.
Two.

One shoots out into the road and just stops.
She stared. The other stayed out of the street and watched until I stopped. I sat there, shoulders soft, face relaxed and marveled at the beauty of the deer as they passed along.

Since I’d both heard AND heeded the message to “slow down” there was plenty of space to just stop. The pause was easier than it would have been if I’d been speeding along.

My rational mind is all like “well you live in Georgia… there are deer you know that. No big deal. It’s a sensible thought to have to slow down at night in case you encounter deer.”

Yet I know this was something beyond rationality speaking to me that night.

I wonder if my mind would have been all crowded and jumbled up, if I would have been able t hear such a clear message? Even if would have been able to hear through the noise, would I have trusted the simple wisdom to slow down?

If I had been “so busy and rushing” would that deer and I have met a different fate?
Instead of pausing and seeing each other, then merely passing through, would we have collided? Or at the least, would I have tensed up and been shaken at their sight versus taking in their beauty and waiting for them to pass?

That’s the thing.
So much rushing around leads to inner and outer collisions. And missing some awfully simple and beautiful moments.

Ever wonder what we miss because we can’t hear the quiet wise voice saying, “Slow down.”

Or we hear it. Don’t trust or value it. And decide to override it.

Are we too busy to slow down?
But not to busy to crash?

change is constant

February 15, 2016

Could just be me, but in my yoga practices both as a student and teacher, seems like just when I start to settle in, find a groove
Here comes- change.

I remember the first time I stopped feeling resonance with one of my favorite teachers
When I started to feel misplaced at one of my favorite studios.
I’ll call it grace that I didn’t think it was “them”; I realized that something within me was changing.

This shift has happened for me a few times, as I learn, grow, study, practice, teach, reflect, and integrate new understandings, access old wisdom, and gain clarity around my purpose— As I engage in the process of both being and becoming

Each time it’s been quite frightening. The change.
Each time I’ve gripped tightly and initially resisted. The change.

I started out as a power+ hot vinyasa student and teacher (exclusively… like that is all I practiced and taught for years)

As I’ve shifted and changed. As I’ve been shifted and changed, I’ve fretted that I appear inconsistent.

What has stayed consistent is that I believe yoga is a powerful tool for cultivating awareness, mindfulness, and accessing our real.

My current public teaching schedule reflects that and honors where both my teaching and practice are now.

I’ll be teaching this schedule through mid/late March:

Monday- 6:30pm Warm Flow and 8:30pm Yin at Atlanta Hot Yoga
Tuesday- 5:45pm (Nonhot) Flow and 7:15pm Restorative at Evolation Yoga
Wednesday- 6:30pm Warm Flow and 8:30pm Yin at Atlanta Hot Yoga
Friday- 4:45pm (nonhot) Slow Flow and 6:00pm Yin at Evolation
Saturday- 2:00pm Yin at Atlanta Hot and 4:30pm Restorative at Evolation

and from there-
my loves…
(and this is hard for a planner of planners like me)

“I don’t know where I’m going. But I promise it won’t be boring. “-David Bowie

Chillin’ with my mama!

January 11, 2015

I think my southern yogi folk can relate:

My mama is a super church going lady, reads The Bible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I told y’all she keeps “Jesus on the main line.”

My sister and I lovingly call my mama “our holy high roller” when we think she can’t hear us. When I started practicing yoga in 2003 she had lots of questions about whether or not it was a religious thing, was I chanting, if so, to whom, what did the poses mean, etc?
My feisty 20 something self gave flippant responses or just disengaged.
Over the years that transformed into actual dialogue and communication about my experiences with yoga and her spiritual practices. That gave way to more conversations about faith, grace, healing, and the place of practice, ritual, and community in it all.
That transformed into understanding each others paths and deep reverence and appreciation on both of our sides. Not to mention the relational/ancestral/generational healing {I reckon that’s another post}

20150110_203130

Our blurry “we-fie” or whatever you call more than one person in a selfie. Post CHILLin’!

That is just to say that my mama’s attendance at yesterday’s CHILLshop®yoga session was at least a decade in the making.

She said this about her experience yesterday:
“I felt the kind of peace I only feel in the presence of The Holy.
I also realized it’s really really okay, to sit down and rest for a while on the journey. If you are really on YOUR path, then resting ain’t time lost. It’s time to strengthen yo feet, clear yo eyes, and connect with yo heart for the joys and turns in the road ahead.”

Y’all that’s the best endorsement ever and
Yes, God is real, real in my soul.

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