Our Yogi in the Community this week is Elika Aird! I am so thrilled to share Elika’s story and mission as it exemplifies my intention behind this blog “cultivating community through yoga”. Currently, Elika is working on finishing the production process for a yoga dvd that intends to “strengthen the images of African-Americans in the health and wellness industry.” Please take a little time to be inspired by reading Elika’s story!
How did you begin practicing yoga?
My first experience with yoga was watching Lilias Folan ‘s show Lilias and Youon television when I was about 9 years old. Ironically it was television that brought me back to the practice when I discovered Steve Ross’ show Exhale in 1999.
I was recovering from a back injury and chiropractic was no longer serving me. I started practicing daily with the Exhale group and I started finding an inner transformation in addition to the strength of my back and entire body. After exploring different forms of yoga, I decided to do a yoga teacher training based on the Vinyasa system at Peachtree Yoga Center in Atlanta.
How has yoga transformed who you are? Yoga has given me the tools to fulfill my dharma and to be a positive force in the lives of others, especially my friends & family. Being able to promote healing and wellness for mindbodysoul is just something I’m supposed to do. I used to be a fitness instructor and personal trainer, but now I feel that teaching yoga more closely fits my life. It has also given me a beautiful blueprint for daily living which helps me get closer to the blissful bodies we were given upon arrival to this earth. Through applying the ancient wisdom of yoga and Ayurveda, I have learned to live in a way that honors my body temple and is in accordance with nature. As a new practitioner I came to yoga for the physical, and was amazed when I discovered that the practice was far more profound. I still love to see new people come to yoga and begin to uncover the depths of the practice for themselves…they start to see the journey on the mat as well as off as a never ending flow of divine instructions lead them closer to moksha, liberation…
Can you talk a little about the project you have completed? What was your intention behind it? Myself and Director, da’shon.is had a vision to create a yoga dvd unlike any other which featured all Black yoga practitioners/teachers in an effort to address the interests and the people of our community. Its called BlissTemple Yoga Flow – which is a collaboration of Blissfulbodies Yoga+9th Temple Productions. We wanted it to incorporate the traditions of a vinyasa flow practice, with a more soulful expression that included creative movement. My inspiration came from my studies with Shiva Rea over the last 7 years. The video includes modifications for pregnant women and beginners, so all blissful bodies can enjoy. It was critical to us to us to strengthen the images of African-Americans in the health and wellness industry and also decrease rates of disease and disability through increased exposure to alternative healing and therapeutic yoga practices.
Check Out the Video here!
Tell us about your experience working with pregnant women…. I have been teaching Whole Birth Prenatal Yoga for 5 years and have been a birth doula for 3 years. I love working with pregnant women mostly because I believe in supporting the image of women and mothers as strong, beautiful goddess-like beings that are highly revered.
This being said, I believe all women have every right to labor support. The presence of a doula prevents many labor complications. It’s also such a gift to see women transformed by their practice – ie when back pain creeps in or morning sickness lasts all day, its amazing to see the therapeutic aspects of yoga bring healing. Even in the first birth I attended I knew that part of my dharma was to attend women during the birthing process…I can’t say exactly why or how I arrived here, but it’s a journey I love and continue to marvel at and feel so blessed to share it with others.
You can visit Elika at http://www.blissfulbodiesyoga.com/
And follow her on facebook!
Be sure to “like” Chelsea Loves Yoga on facebok to learn about new Yogis in the Community, or perhaps share your story!!!