Posts In: atlanta yoga

Going to Harvard?

August 7, 2018

I was accepted into Harvard. I didn’t go. That was ten years ago.

I’d taught public school. I’d completed a fellowship as Dean of Faculty with a national educational organization. I’d transformed High School programing as college prep director for an Atlanta nonprofit.

Graduate studies at an Ivy League in educational leadership was clearly the next step in my pursuit of excellence and “making it”…. right?

When I received that “acceptance” I was both exhilarated and terrified.

When I looked at the page, all I saw was “Congratulations “what do you really want Octavia? Who’s life do you want to live?

I’d finally come to the fork in the road that Robert Frost had told me I’d find.

I stood there. I looked back wards. I saw our trailer home, long rides on yellow buses, my mama’s continuing education program that she’d facilitate for me and my sister every summer, and so much else. I saw the challenges and struggles I’d silently endured as a first generation college student during my undergraduate experience. I thought about the education denied to my Ancestors and felt profoundly guilty that this wasn’t an obvious yes to me.

Yet, what is freedom, if not the right to choose, honestly.

I looked ahead and saw my life if I accepted.

It looked Empty. Fragmented. Distorted. I was shocked. What did that mean?

Was it fear? Was it self-sabotage? Was I so devoted to my story that I couldn’t accept this narrative change? I mean, wasn’t this “acceptance” what I wanted when I applied? I sat with so much for the weeks leading up to decision deadline.

The truth came for me. I didn’t ever actually want to apply, be in the program, and get that degree or the job(s) that would come after.

I wanted the approval I thought it would get me. The perception. The status. The “in” it would grant me- even if I couldn’t define that “in” because I had always been “out.” The entire application process had been to appease a faceless crowd that I’d gotten caught up and lost in.

I shared my inner battle with a few people. Some said “ummmm… who says no to chance like that? “ One person told me I was “throwing away my best option to come up.”

My first teacher, my mama came through with the wisdom, “Ask for the courage to listen to your heart, not the expectations. Not even mine. Ask God to show you the yes after the no.  No matter what you choose.”

At my core, I’ve always been an unassuming, nonconforming, creative, questioning, quietly rebellious. Risk- taker.

I deeply appreciate that for some, saying yes would have been the honest and courageous thing to do.


For me, saying yes would have further committed me to living a life that looked incredible, got me the part, and checked so many boxes; except, it wasn’t my own.

A decade has gone by and I’ve looked back at that fork in the road a few times.

My “No” in that moment revealed:

Saying yes to our own life will ask us to defy many expectations. It may not always make sense.

There are many paths to freedom. Sometimes the thing that promises to make us free is nothing more than shiny chains. Only when we walk some distance, can we see that what’s glittering could never be the gold that we already are.

My Ancestors are proud of my courage and actually were the elements of the fork in the road.

The greatest opportunity for each of us is the one that aligns us to our soul’s work.

Sound Sleep:
An experience of Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Sound BathJoin Sacred Chill {West} Co-owner Octavia Raheem and renowned sound therapist, April Taylor for deep relaxation and restoration.


This experience includes gentle movement, long held restorative poses, and a journey into the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra.


The sounds of Tibetan Singing bowls, healing crystal bowls, and gongs add the deepest layer of relaxation through sound therapy. The quiet potency of the chill yoga styles offered in this practice are amplified by the sound. In this practice we will awaken to the power of deep rest… and yes, we might even sleep. Sound sleep, that is.


All are welcome.


Price: $35


No Refunds



About our sound therapist:April J. Taylor, MPH, CTBP
Sound & Energy Practitioner
April Taylor is passionate about the power of sound and she is guided by a mission committed to creating healthy, balanced, meditating people who embrace justice and promote healthy communities. In her sound therapy sessions, April creates peaceful conditions to reduce stress, foster deep levels of relaxation and to advance the mind-body toward inner harmony for self-Soul-alignment. A life-long learner, April initially sought sound to reduce stress and lessen physical discomfort. Consequently, having a desire to further understand the indigenous approaches of sound harmonics, she delved into rigorous practicum focusing on the science of neuro-acoustics. As a result, her sound repertoire is anchored in the Gong as a focal point of her practice. April has been invited to lead sound meditations at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Phoenix & Dragon Bookstore, the Natural Mystic Fair, Sevananda Natural Foods Market, the International Montessori Academy, the Ahimki Wellness Center, the Dekalb County Jail, Nature’s Garden Tuskegee Healing Arts Festival and she speaks regularly on WRFG 89.3 radio about the power of sound. She has a growing clientbase who benefit from her unique sessions. You can often find her at Sevananda Natural Foods Market where she regularly hosts well attended sound meditations.

Join founders and co-owners of Sacred Chill {West} Octavia and Meryl at Atlanta’s ONLY homegrown yoga festival for a specially curated experience.

The Sound of Soul combines yoga, meditation, and soul-filled tunes to create a transforming experience anchored in the movement of a vinyasa based flow as well as the stillness of yin. This class is a journey through rhythmic and strumming sound, the kind that rocks the body. We will also travel into deep silence, the kind that allows us to tune into the humming of our own essence. We will drop beneath the surface to a deep resonant place of soul. From there you will be guided to listen and journal what we hear.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”- Rumi

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

love yo’self

February 15, 2016

remembering the moment I owned that I ain’t got to beg for love. or lie for love. or pretend for love. or lighten my eyes or skin for love. smooth out my hair for love. flatten my belly for love. get a Phat-er booty for love. stop choppin’ the ends off words for love.
Remembering the last night I ever waited for Love to call or come through, cause then I realized Love didn’t need me to hold my tongue, hide my Womanist/ Crunk Feminist ways, say yes all the time, act docile, or even to get dressed and go “out” looking for…it.

remembering that moment, where I felt split from the inside and torn.
yet the raw openness there is where “i found god in myself & i loved her/ i loved her fiercely”- (N. Shange)

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