This interview with Dr. Azita Nahai will uplift you. Her wisdom is infectious. Her grace is infinite. Read this slowly, and realize that you do not want to miss an opportunity to be with Azita for the Joyful Woman’s Workshop at Sat Nam Fest on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
What is your vision and intention for your Wednesday workshop at Sat Nam Fest West this April 2019?
Azita: As a first-time mama I now – more than ever – understand the value of sisterhood. I am more than certain that when they said, ‘It takes a village’ – they meant ‘it takes a village OF WOMEN’. My intention this year is to provide that village. To remind each other that we need each other. And to give each other permission to show up exactly as we are no matter who, what, when where or how we are…
Have you ever been to Malibu Canyon? How do you feel about the new location for Sat Nam Fest this year?
Azita: You mean, SNF: The Bu Edition?! It’s funny. At first, the thought of leaving the magic of Joshua Tree left me (well, left us all) disheartened. I couldn’t imagine a place that held the same powerful energy. And then came Malibu Canyon, and I thought, huh, there’s something symbolic about ‘leaving the desert’.. Don’t you think? Like an exodus to higher ground…
Malibu canyon holds an equally powerful but different kind of energy out there. Mountain-scape meets seascape. I know it will offer us just the kind of magic we need.
Last year we discussed your Trauma to Dharma book and the process of transforming the pains of life into purposeful living. Can you discuss any new developments in your particular field of using yoga and meditation for trauma recovery?
Azita: I must say the response I’ve received from my Trauma to Dharma book has been overwhelming. There is nothing more validating than to hear my readers’ trauma-to-dharma stories. And nothing more confirming than to follow up on research study after research study proving what we’ve ALL known and experienced all along: Yoga and Meditation heals. Full stop. The number of trauma-informed yoga and meditation offerings across the country has quadrupled since I first published my dissertation back in 2012 (which was the impetus of the trauma work I do now). I do believe that in the next ten years we will be valuing our mental hygiene the same way we value our dental hygiene. Children will not only be taught how to brush and clean their teeth every day but to brush and clean their minds every day. Meditation will be part of our morning and nighttime routines.
You gracefully juggle responsibilities as a new mother, teacher, wife, writer; therapist. What keeps you energized and committed to your practice? Would you like to share your wisdom of ways in which motherhood is a game changer?
Azita: Motherhood is like placing a magnifying glass on all our self-perceived human faults and flaws. The land of Post-Partum is a highly sensitive breeding ground for self-doubt and self-criticism, where the common sport is ‘compare and despair’. We demean ourselves for never measuring up to this perfectly staged and filtered version of ‘I’ve got it all together’ motherhood that doesn’t really exist.
That ‘I’m not enough’ thinking would have debilitated me if it weren’t for my practice. I would best describe my days without my practice (and there have been plenty of those!) like the life of a cut flower- no roots, no grounding. One that is ultimately short lived with limited vitality and life force. That’s why something, anything that gets us to tune in and turn in is essential. And for me, my sadhana these days with a 5-month-old is anything that offers me both movement and connection- moving my body and quieting my mind in order to connect to Spirit. (And, on many a day that looks like taking Rumi out in her stroller, while mama walks and breathes and mentally chants Sa Ta Na Ma with every mindful step through the neighborhood.
Azita: “Whatever you control, you carry.” – Yogi Bhajan
As a recovering control freak and perfectionist (notice I said recovering not recovered!) this quote of Yogi Bhajan’s floors me, and frees me. Every. Single. Time. Come on. Think about it. The more we attempt to control it all, the more we must bear the burden of it all. We spend so much of our energy trying to control (and that includes worrying about!) what isn’t in our control (which happens to be EVERYTHING outside of ourselves). And then we disbelievingly wonder why our lives feel so damn taxing and heavy. Whatever you control, you carry. Let’s be honest, what isn’t yours to carry? Where can you take a load off? Something about that quote cuts straight through me. It allows me to loosen the white knuckled grip I have around my fears and beckons me to lean into a little more faith a lot more often.