"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries." ~Dalai Lama
Hello Onikas community, Jonnyka here. As I prepare for our first mindfulness event at Solid Gold this weekend, I've been struck by several realizations. The first being it is wonderful to have my previous world and area of study (mind/body medicine and clinical psychology) merge with our Onikas brand. The second is that a mindful practice is no longer a luxury or an "add-on" to life activities, it is now a necessity. Here's a little more background on these realizations...
Veronica and I are both certified yoga instructors. Apropos to our yin/yang dynamic, our practices are quite different in form. Veronica has been practicing Ashtanga for many years and also balances her practice with restorative yoga. I am certified in hatha and in kundalini yoga and meditation and have also been practicing for many years, since January 3, 2001 to be exact. I also had the privilege of working as a yoga/meditation instructor for a longitudinal study on the benefits of mindfulness practices at the amazing Benson-Henry Mind-Body Medicine Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The lead scientist, Sat Bir Khalsa, is an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a leading expert on Sleep Disorders.
During our most recent trip to Ecuador Veronica and I were invited to do a pop-up and mindfulness workshop at Modus Vivendi, a beautiful yoga studio in downtown Quito - we will share more about this event soon! The merging of our brand with a mindfulness activity was truly wonderful. It allowed us the opportunity to connect with participants on a completely different level than solely the creation of ethical goods and working our artisan community. It gave us the chance to become the community.
The more we thought about it, the more we loved the idea of bringing these two seemingly separate worlds together. They are not separate at all of course, but rather interconnected spheres of thought and activity, always informing each other. We started to receive requests from various friends, associates and upon just meeting people, asking us to not only have a pop-up shopping experience, but to also add a mindfulness component. Just recently, I received a suggestion to hold a session to a group of real estate agents in their offices. We are open to any audience as we promote a very accessible approach to a mindfulness practice and can tailor to any audience based on their situation/needs. Feel free to contact us if you have event ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So anyway, as I was prepping this morning Krishna Das' Baba Hanuman came on my nano shuffle. This is not the version I have, but check out this live version. Stay with it for a while, it takes a while to warm up. So this comes on and brings about a spontaneous meditation moment. I had to immediately stop what I was doing, put my hands together at my heart center and chant along. Loudly. I've listened to this beautiful mantra so many times I know every note and lilt of his voice. It is beautiful and so grounding and although I've heard it a thousand times today it made me cry from deep within. We are living in challenging times. Our daily lives are filled with to-do's. Our work is stressful. We are on the run. This is enough without even mentioning our political environment, which is the most divisive it has been in my lifetime. As tears were rolling down my cheeks I realized I was holding all of this - my own weight, the weight of those around me, the static and traffic in the collective consciousness. We all need relief from this unbearable weight, a safe space that we can hold within - not escape to - so we can maintain our overall sense of wellness, be present and recognize joy in our lives.
A mindfulness, self-care practice is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity. Just as the Dalai Lama suggests in the quote above, love and compassion are necessities. We need a practice that stays with us, that sustains us in our daily life and allows us to draw on our inner strength that is always within. It is accessing that strength that is difficult sometimes. Through the years I have often heard yogic scholars and sages say Eastern practices like yoga and meditation have caught on in the West because the West called them in, we needed them and our collective consciousness sought them out. Whether you believe that or not, various forms of wellness practices are here for us to help us navigate these intense times. We feel honored and excited to bring our own practices into our business and contribute to a greater community of wellness and support.