Mindful Living

Are you stressed, overwhelmed, and/or in need of more calm in your life, career, and business? Do you want to be more aware, focused, and productive? Guess what? You’re  in the right place.

I help practice self-care with mindfulness, meditation, yoga (gentle and office), reiki, sound healing, journaling, art-making, crystal therapy, chakra healing, and rituals from various traditions. Drawing on the self-care lessons I have learned over the past 28 years, my yoga and reiki expertise, and mindfulness training, I teach you how to:

  • slow down and become aware of thoughts with compassion and without judgment
  • become aware of your emotions and behavior
  • practice non-judgment and self-compassion
  • focus your concentration
  • create flexibility in your body
  • use self-care practices to experience balance and ease

My services are offered virtually (via Zoom, Facebook Live, Google Meet, Skype, and FreeConferenceCall.com) and in-person. I offer group and private classes, coaching, trainings, and workshops. I am available to speak at your next conference and event, and for digital, print, radio, and television interviews. Contact me {ananda@anandaleeke.com} to discuss how we can work together.

Breathing

Did you know that you can outsmart stress through the power of your breath?

Each time you breathe deeply, you enter the present moment. In the present moment, you become aware of what’s happening in your spirit, heart, mind, body, relationships, and interactions with others. Your awareness can help create balance and calm in your life. And when that happens you are living mindfully.

Meditation, Yoga, and Reiki are three self-care practices you can use to support your mindful living journey.

Meditation: Meditation is the practice of making friends with your mind by choosing to focus your awareness on what’s happening inside of yourself – what’s happening in your spirit, heart, mind, and body.

In meditation, you can use your breath to help focus your attention and cultivate stillness by observing it and coming back to it when your mind is distracted by thoughts.

Meditation can help you increase your self-awareness, relax, improve concentration, reduce stress, strengthen your emotional and physical well-being, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Yoga: In Sanskrit, yoga means the union of spirit, mind, body, and breath. This union occurs when you open your heart and surrender to the present moment. I believe when you live in the present moment, yoga blesses you with the benefits of:

  • Awareness of your concentration and effort
  • Articulation of truth in your intention and understanding
  • Authenticity in your speech, actions, and livelihood

It becomes Your Opportunity to Graciously Accept yourself and life.™

Reiki (pronounced ray-key): Reiki is a Japanese word that means universal life energy in the human body. It is a form of healing touch that involves the transfer of energy from practitioner to client to enhance the body’s natural ability to calm, de-stress, and heal itself through the balancing of energy.

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Discovering Meditation

As a young lawyer and investment banker, I experienced an enormous amount of stress that included panic attacks. Meditation was the first mindful living practice I discovered while attending a free Buddhist meditation class offered at American University with my Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority sister Kamaria Richmond in the summer of 1992. At the end of the class, the two women teachers gave everyone meditation tapes. Kamaria urged me to join her in using the tapes to manage stress. We supported each other in our meditation practice and began attending meditation events in the Washington, DC area. That experience opened the door to my lifelong commitment to mindful living.

Over the past two decades, my personal practice has been strengthened by my work as an artist-in-residence at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (2001-2018), certified yoga teacher training at Flow Yoga Center (2006), reiki master practitioner training at the Reiki Lotus Temple (2006-2008), certified mindfulness teacher training at the Engaged Mindfulness Institute (2018), and certified sound healing training (level 1, 2020)) with Dante Baker, a wellness professional, sound healer, and yoga teacher.

My Yoga + Reiki Love Affair

wpid-20150307_141843.jpg1995 is the year it all happened. I fell in love with yoga first. It happened while I attended my first yoga class during an African-American studies trip to Egypt. The class ended with a round of OMs and a deep bow to my heart as I chanted the Sanskrit mantra Namaste. It means, “The light within me salutes the light within you.”

When I returned from my trip, I hired a private yoga teacher to guide me through the asanas (poses). Her name was Gloria. She was a kind, firm, loving, and knowledgeable woman I met in a monthly meditation group. She showed me how to embrace yoga as my own healing balm for anxiety, stress relief, and tight hips, hamstrings, and legs that needed stretching after my long runs.

My Reiki love affair began during one of the monthly meditation group meetings. A group member who was also trained as a Reiki practitioner gave me a mini Reiki session. The academic inside of me decided to search for a book on the topic. My search led me to Diane Stein’s book, Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to An Ancient Healing Art. Essential Reiki became one of my self-care go-to resources.

Yoga Teacher Calling

MindfulLiving-yogamudrame2004 was a big year for me. I celebrated my 40th birthday and reflected on what I was passionate about. Yoga was one of my top five passions. It took me several months to get clear on what my yoga passion was all about. Journaling and meditation helped me realize I wanted to teach yoga. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to do a search on yoga teacher training courses located near my home. I found one at a brand new yoga studio called Flow Yoga Center. It was located next to my favorite Whole Foods and several blocks from my employer and home.

Before writing my check for the six-month training, I took a class taught by Faith Hunter, one of my yoga teachers and mentors, at Flow. Hunter’s class was OM Amazing OM! After class, she encouraged me to pursue my passion. That class sealed the deal and allowed me to become a member of Flow’s first class of teacher trainees. My yoga sisters and I were led by Debra Mishalove, the co-founder of Flow, and a team of phenomenal instructors during the fall of 2005 and winter of 2006.

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When I completed my teacher training, I launched kg yoga life practices to teach kind and gentle yoga that honors the heart of each individual’s needs. Publishing a yoga blog on a weekly basis became a part of my service offerings. My blog gave me a chance to talk about my personal yoga journey and build community and share resources with my clients.

Also, I began offering a free monthly yoga class in Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park (which later turned into a MeetUp.com group that existed from 2007 to 2014). Through my classes and blog, I encouraged my clients to use their life experiences as opportunities to surrender their egos, open their hearts, and practice mindfulness (sati), loving kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), honesty (satya), empathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekka) on and off their yoga mats.

MindfulLiving-YogainJamaicaIn addition to my yoga teaching, I practice some form of yoga every day. Most times, it is yin yoga, gentle yoga in my bed, office yoga at my desk or forward fold and twisting poses while I am waiting for a subway train or bus. My home practice is enhanced through regular participation in a yin yoga class offered by my teacher Danielle Polen at Tranquil Space. Bringing my yoga mat with me when I travel has created many wonderful memories including some of my favorites in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 2011 and London, England in 2014.

Today, I incorporate yogic philosophy, breathing exercises, and asana (postures) into my mindful living services.

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Adding Reiki To Yoga Teacher Mix

Two years after I became an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, I began working with cancer patients at Howard University Hospital in 2003. During one of the Smith Center retreats, a fellow artist gave me Reiki. A few months later, I started receiving it on a regular basis. It helped me manage stress and take care of myself after my sessions with cancer patients and before, during, and after my fibroid surgery.

During my yoga teacher training course, I took a class with a yoga instructor who incorporated Reiki healing touch in her classes. Experiencing yoga and Reiki in her class was TRANSFORMATIVE. The combination helped me center myself, focus, breathe deeply, and treat myself more kindly when I was on and off of my yoga mat. As a result, I started studying Reiki in 2006 and was certified as a Reiki Master Practitioner by Reiki Lotus Healing in 2008.

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Who I Work With

  • Caregivers
  • Companies and organizations that have professional development and wellness programs and events
  • Conference and event planners
  • Health care organizations and healing arts centers
  • Individuals experiencing transition in their careers and relationships
  • Parents with small children, tweens, and teenagers
  • People living with arthritis, brain injuries, cancer, depression, grief, HIV/AIDS, strokes, mental health challenges, and panic attacks
  • Professionals who work in finance, healthcare, law, public relations, public service, social media, and technology
  • Retirees
  • Stressed out artists, authors, entrepreneurs, executives, government employees, managers, and nonprofit staff
  • Type A personalities
  • Women who have overlooked their own self-care
  • Yoga studios

I have led meditation, mindfulness. and yoga trainings at conferences and events sponsored by Allied Media Projects/ZEAL Press, Big Bear Retreat Center, BlissDom, Blogalicious, Blogging While Brown, BlogHer, Body Connect Health Wellness, DC Digital Capital Week, Community Associations Institute, Eaton DC, Howard University AT&T Hackathon, Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC’s People of Color Sangha, Institute for Medical Innovation, Keela, Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media, lululemon, Marisla Foundation, Meetup/WeWork, National Association of Corporate Directors, Nonprofit Technology Network, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Sisterhued, She’s Geeky, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, The Conference Board, and Wonder Women Tech Summit.  In addition, I have facilitated office yoga and yoga and writing workshops at the Washington National Cathedral and Breast Cancer Support Groups at Holy Cross Hospital.

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How I Work With Clients

Thriving Mindfully Approach

AL-SoundHealingMy mindful living services incorporate a heart-centered approach called Thriving Mindfully that helps you be the REAL YOU in your life, career, and business. It is rooted in the wisdom of Dr. Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is to not merely to survive, but to thrive.” Mindful self-care practices including meditation, yoga, reiki, sound healing, mantra chanting, art-making, journaling, crystal therapy, chakra healing, and rituals from the world’s sacred traditions are used to support you in being the REAL YOU.

The Thriving Mindfully approach is based on the lessons I learned in my life, career, and business journey from lawyer and investment banker to wellness professional, author, and artist. It is rooted in the following five core commitments:

  • Slow Your Living
  • Sustain Your Living
  • Share Your Living
  • Serve Through Your Living
  • Savor Your Living

Visit the Thriving Mindfully Academy here to learn more.

Meditation Approach

TMMeetup-May2018My approach is rooted in the core belief that mindfulness and self-care are our birthrights. In my classes, trainings, and coaching, I help people reclaim their birthrights to mindfulness and self-care through the power of their breath. I use my signature exercise, “Make Your Breath Your BFF” along with the “Big 5” mindful self-care vitamins (loving kindness, compassion, nonjudgment, patience, and forgiveness) to introduce mindful moments and meditations. My meditations focus on mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of the breath, and loving kindness. I also offer listening, journaling, walking, and sound healing meditations.

Yoga Approach

Photo Credit: Lucia Effros
Photo Credit: Lucia Effros

My approach is based on Hatha yoga principles that concentrate on the practice of postures and breath control. Hatha is a Sanskrit word that is derived from two roots: 1) ha is the sun which represents action and 2) tha is the moon which represents reflection. Together, they create a union between the ability to act and reflect.

In my classes, I offer clients an opportunity to experience intention setting, breathing exercises, meditation, mantra chanting with mala beads, chakra tuning, Reiki healing touch, aromatherapy, and kind and gentle yoga postures (aspects of eye, laughter, office, and yin yoga are included) that address their individual bodies and health concerns. Clients also learn about the Yoga Sutras including the yamas and niyamas as guidelines for conscious living.

wpid-fb_img_1428944123935.jpgWisdom teachings from world religions, sacred traditions, healers, artists, poets, leaders, and philosophers are included. Rates are available for one-on-one classes, group classes, conferences, and organizations.

Reiki Approach

In 2015, I began studying and incorporating Brett Bevell’s Mikao Usui’s Reiki Crystal of Awakening book in my home practice and client sessions. I also use crystals and sound healing to support clients.

What People Are Saying About Me

Working with Ananda is a breath of fresh air. This talented leader ran morning mindfulness sessions at Keela’s Plugged In: Nonprofit Tech and Transformation digital conference in March 2020, bringing us back to the basics and imparting us with the alignment we needed to face the rest of the busy days. Ananda is very calming, and her step-by-step session left us with practical, actionable information that I still use to this day. Thank you Ananda, I’ve made my breath my BFF. Samantha Lego, Head of Content at Keela

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I hired Ananda to lead a nonprofit mindfulness session for the Allied Media Projects’ Wellness Cohort in March 2020. I enjoyed her virtual training session very much. Everything she taught was thoroughly presented, informative and very useful. Especially the ways to recognize the culture of your workplace. The session was interactive. She gave exercises for the participants to complete in real time. I loved the opening grounding exercise. The books and resources she shared for further information and incorporating practices. If we have the chance, I will certainly work with her again! Tia Osu, ZEAL Press

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I must admit truthfully and wholeheartedly that Ananda Leeke has encouraged, empowered, guided, and assisted me on my journey through both spirituality and meditation. Over the past months I have evolved in mindfulness, meditation, and self care. Initially, Ananda’s words stuck to the four chambers of my heart: “Be gentle and kind to yourself.” Ananda has a loving, insightful, and motherly aura. She has earned the title meditation mom. Ananda, thank you for guiding me, responding to me in a diligent time frame, and providing me with the essential tools for meditation. Shameeka Dash, Social Worker

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Ananda has a unique, warm, informed, and relatable way of sharing the practice of mindfulness in every day life. Her ability to create a sense of welcome and inclusion for a large group of people in an online setting is rare and much needed during these unsettling times. She skillfully facilitates with thought-provoking questions that inspire participants to share openly, deeply, and authentically. Ananda is a true teacher in every sense of the word. La Sarmiento, Teacher, Insight Meditation Community of Washington

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The meditation community that Ananda brings together each week has become an integral part of my life since I moved to DC. She always shows up with her most authentic energy each week, and I so appreciate her ability to be raw and connect with others. Every week, I come away from the meditation with a clearer mind and with new things to think about, often thanks to the messages and insights that Ananda ties in so seamlessly. I have tons of gratitude for Ananda and my time with her and the group! Carra Johnson, M.A., M.S., PhD Student: Sport, Exercise, & Performance Psychology

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I am so happy I found Ananda’s Thriving Mindfully Meetup sessions in DC! The weekly group meditations were such a safe haven amidst the chaos of DC city life, and Ananda’s self-care and mindfulness resources truly took my meditation practice to the next level. Ananda is such an inspiration, and being a part of a thriving and diverse community who is passionate about mindfulness and collaboration is the empowering force that our society needs now more than ever. Thanks Ananda! Cynthia Warnick, Human Resources Director, AGNC Mortgage Management

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Ananda’s workshop was so helpful by reminding me how important it is to check in with oneself and to breathe. I came into the workshop feeling a bit frazzled and disconnected but left with a refreshed sense of purpose and a list of goals to pursue in the coming weeks. I am already looking forward to the next workshop! Kristine Yang, Nonprofit Professional

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Ananda encourages an open, free flowing community space. I was able to practice and experience the benefits of meditation within a group setting. H.Osborne-Bash, School  Nurse

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I want to thank Ananda Leeke for her Thriving Mindfully workshop. My day job is migrating to a new Web Content Management System and the stress level is at an all-time high. I started incorporating the Thriving Mindfully Process tips and immediately noticed a big shift in my mood. The tips helped me to make a huge shift and served as a personal reminder I cannot control the outside forces and I can only control my reaction to what is going on around me. Juneous Pettijohn, digital communications professional/wellness professional

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I have loved all of Ananda’s meditation / journaling evenings and always leave feeling revived and alive! Coupled with your compassionate one-on-one coaching, I feel I am ‘coming into my own’. I am getting to know myself better and am finally prioritizing self-care that is so critical to being the best we can be. Jo Smail, Association Manager

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Attending the “Open Your Heart to Mindful Creativity” workshop gave me the opportunity to give voice to the fear(s) that had prevented me from excelling, both as an artist and entrepreneur. The space was safe, so much so that I was the first to answer the question as to what was the roadblock to achieving that which we called our purpose. Embracing meditation and mindfulness in the creativity workshop has given me the will and determination to manifest and to promote that which I truly believe in my art and market. Sharaledon Brave, Writer/Poet

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Ananda created ta container that both held individual practice and group cohesion during the Insight Community of Washington, DC’s People of Color Sangha. Her mindfulness guidance was skillful and allowed me to connect with myself without judgment. She did a mindful journaling practice that encouraged the individuals in the group to explore ways to be kind to themselves in this perilous time. Thank you Ananda! Ayesha Ali, co-founder, Heart Refuge Mindfulness Circle for People of Color

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I have done both Yoga and Reiki with Ananda. I always leave feeling energized and knowing that I am where I am supposed to be. She has a calm, inviting, and accepting spirit. Sharon Malachi, the founder of DC Dog Grooming

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I REALLY appreciate Ananda’s time and energy at the WeWork/Meetup meditation class. I was in the last group where there was barely time, but she made time for us. I needed that moment so much so that I waited for the next and last circle session.

With the daily distractions and multi tasking it’s hard to find a moment to just breath, relax, and be mindful. Even though I crave it, it’s hard to find that moment. I was very appreciative to be able to steal that moment with Ananda. That’s when I realized I need to work harder to steal more of those valuable mindful meditation moments. I left there feeling like I dumped a load off my shoulders. Feeling more refreshing, relaxed, light, and calm. I am looking forward to more. Freeya, DC Professional

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Ananda’s group meditations helped me anchor my practice. The community, openness, and combination of mediation and reflection in her sessions led me to greater acceptance and connection. She continues to pour out grace and encouragement in weekly emails, even amidst the pandemic. I am so grateful for the continued clarity and growth Ananda has helped me find! Audrey Voorhees

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Ananda is quite simply, amazing! As a newbie to yoga, her tailored-for-me kind and gentle style of yoga put me at ease and helped me discover which forms work best for my body and fitness level. She even offered (and strongly encouraged me) to select a class we could attend together so that I could experience other styles of yoga and find what works well. Meico Whitlock, Founder/CEO, A Mindful Techie

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In June 2017, Ananda Leeke delivered calm to the BlogHer conference stage. She asked us to close our eyes and breathe deeply. To be mindful of the current moment. To be aware of the here and now. To place our hands over our hearts and connect with ourselves. Ananda’s soothing voice urged us to continue breathing. As I took in each breath, I felt more and more peaceful. I realized that although I was surrounded by thousands of women from across the country and almost every walk of life, we were all gathered at #BlogHer17 recognizing the same purpose. All experiencing the same present. All listening to our inner wisdom. Breathing deeply places you in the present moment. It resets your inner compass and sets you back on your rightful path. It awakens your awareness of your blessings. Ananda described it as a reset button to center our authentic selves. I put my phone back in my purse. I knew the next two days would be filled with Facebook posts, insta stories, and witty tweets–but for just a little while, I lived in the moment. Tiffani Greenaway, Entrepreneur, Founder of MyMommyVents.com, and Co-Founder of Sisterhued.

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Ananda is one of the most powerful Reiki practitioners I’ve worked with. Especially when I’ve been going through periods of transition, she’s been exceptionally skillful at creating a very loving space in which I’ve been able to reflect, to explore, and to release — all of which has helped me to welcome in the new.  Yael Flusberg, a yoga therapist, coach, and writer

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I had the great privilege of receiving Reiki from Ananda.  I was experiencing a great deal of angst during that time in my life and it manifested in my body as stress and tension.  My Reiki sessions helped to reduce the tension in my body, gave me clarity of mind and much needed peace. Tracy M. H., an education professional

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Ananda is a warm, gentle, calming and positive energy and she radiates wherever she goes. I received a Reiki treatment from Ananda in 2014 and though brief, it was moving. I felt the warmth of her hands and the transfer of energy was undeniable. I would recommend that anyone looking for some natural healing consider a Reiki session with Ananda. Lexi Severini, a social media marketing professional

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I had a blissful Reiki session with Ananda the day before my wedding. It was just what I needed before the big day. Garnet Jackson, a spoken artist, writer, and hip hop producer

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Upon my visit to the DC area, Ananda provided my husband and I with a wonderful yoga couple session. She gently guided us through a grounding, peaceful experience. I can’t wait to do it again! Briane M., a health care professional

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I have had the blessings of experiencing Ananda’s yoga, Reiki, and creativity work. Throughout it all, her presence is deeply grounded, loving, and supportive.  She taught me yoga from her soul to my soul. She gifted the gentle touch of Reiki with a deep love and support that allowed my body/mind/spirit the freedom to unwind and heal. She lives and breaths her creativity work and has inspired me in my own creative endeavors. Ananda has truly been an inspiration in my own healing, spiritual journey. I am so grateful and feel immensely blessed to have journeyed and to continue to journey with her. Marisa Alonso, co-founder of Body Connect Health and Wellness

Hire Me

Contact me {ananda@anandaleeke.com} to discuss how we can work together.

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley and Lucia Effros

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