0 comments on “#BlackHistoryMonth Treat: How Playwright Lorraine Hansberry Inspired My Novel, Love’s Troubadours”

#BlackHistoryMonth Treat: How Playwright Lorraine Hansberry Inspired My Novel, Love’s Troubadours

LT-ALandLorraineHansberry

My debut novel, Love’s Troubadours was inspired by a speech given by activist and playwright Lorraine Hansberry in February 1964. She spoke to a Harlem-based group of aspiring young, gifted, and African American writers about the power to love in America. In her remarks, Hansberry stated,

“O, the things that we have learned in this unkind house that we have to tell the world about! Despair? Did someone say despair was a question in the world? Well then, listen to the sons of those who have known little else. If you wish to know the resiliency of this thing you would so quickly resign to mythhood, this thing called the human spirit … Life? Ask those who have tasted of it in pieces rationed out by enemies. Love? Ah, ask the troubadours who have come from those who have loved when all reason pointed to the uselessness and foolhardiness of love. Perhaps we shall be the teachers when it is done. Out of the depths of pain we have thought to be our sole heritage in this world-O, we know about love!”

She referred to African Americans as troubadours, the descendents of people who used the power of love to live through and overcome despair and insurmountable odds. She went on to urge the audience to seek wisdom from African Americans because of their capacity to love.

I first read about Hansberry’s speech in Salvation by bell hooks in 2001. Salvation discusses how African Americans have used the power of love to transform their lives and communities. hooks’ writings caused me to question how I could use my gifts as an artist and writer to promote love as a healing tool in the lives of individuals and communities in America. I answered that question by writing Love’s Troubadours, a novel that tells the story of Karma Francois, a 30-something museum curator and yoga teacher who loses her job, discovers family secrets after a loved one dies, and begins a healing journey as she relocates from New York City to Washington, DC. Learn more about her in the video below.

Karma learns many life lessons as she comes face-to-face with the choices she has made in her life and relationships. Watch the video below and learn about some of them.

Throughout her journey, she uses journaling, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, spirituality, therapy, and yoga to heal and love herself. Hansberry’s wisdom on mindful living inspired the way I wrote about Karma’s healing journey:

 “I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and–I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations and generations.”

Watch the video below and learn how Karma’s healing journey transformed her idea of love in her life.

After reading Hansberry’s book, To Be Young, Gifted and Black, I made a conscious decision to use my novel’s characters to celebrate the beauty and diversity of people of African descent. Watch the video below and learn about the diverse characters.

 

Listen to a chapter excerpt from Love’s Troubadours that illustrates the diversity of African Americans when Karma walks into Mocha Hut, a coffee and tea café in her U Street neighborhood, and eavesdrops on a conversation.

 

0 comments on “Happy #YogaMonday: Yoga Life Philosophy and Lifestyle”

Happy #YogaMonday: Yoga Life Philosophy and Lifestyle

Happy #YogaMonday!

Last week I started Oprah & Deepak’s Finding Your Flow 21-Day Meditation Experience. I am using the 21-Day Meditation Experience to deepen my home yoga and meditation practice. So far, it has helped me connect with my seven chakra energy centers and the flow of my Shakti energy (also known as prana, chi or life force) in my body, mind, spirit, heart, and breath. Click here to join the Meditation Experience (it’s free)!

The first seven days of the Finding Your Flow Meditation Experience introduced the foundation of each chakra with powerful affirmations. I used them to as guides for my daily yoga practice. See them below.

Day 1 – Root Chakra

Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com
Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com

Day 2 – Sacral Chakra

Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com
Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com

Day 3 – Solar Plexus Chakra

Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com
Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com

Day 4 – Heart Chakra

Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com

Day 5 – Throat Chakra

Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com
Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com

Day 6 – Third Eye Chakra

Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com
Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com

 

Day 7 – Crown Chakra

Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com
Photo Credit: http://choprameditationcenter.com

 

Today I had an opportunity to share what I discovered about myself through the meditation experience during my Spring coaching session with my life coach and yoga teacher, Yael Flusberg.

 

Photo Credit: http://yaelflusberg.com
Photo Credit: http://yaelflusberg.com

One of the things I appreciate and enjoy about Yael’s coaching approach and practice is that she supports her clients in cultivating a holistic, healthy, and balanced lifestyle. It is based on yoga as a life philosophy and lifestyle. Yoga is a Sanskirt word that means union of your spirit, heart, mind, body, and life. I call Yael’s coaching approach and practice the “Yael Flusberg Method” which invites you to define, explore, and integrate healthy attitudes, habits, and self-care practices into your life (business, career, creativity, digital experiences, finances, health, home, leisure, relationships, and volunteer service).

What is your yoga life philosophy?

Do you maintain a yoga lifestyle? How so?

0 comments on “Happy Yoga Monday: Honoring Female Yoga Teachers During National Women’s History Month”

Happy Yoga Monday: Honoring Female Yoga Teachers During National Women’s History Month

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Happy Yoga Monday! Happy March! Happy National Women’s History Month!

The power of Shakti, the feminine creative life force that keeps me going (known as chi or prana), continues to inspire my yoga practice and studies. While chanting the Shakti mantra MA (means mother) during my morning yoga practice, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for my female yoga teachers. So I decided to dedicate my yoga practice and Yoga Monday blog series to honoring my “yogini sheroes.” Click on the link to hear today’s podcast about my first yoga teacher, Gloria – http://voicebo.com/iTpreo.

Who are your yogini sheroes?

0 comments on “Happy Yoga Monday! – 5/13”

Happy Yoga Monday! – 5/13

Photo Credit: http://womenshealth.gov
Photo Credit: http://womenshealth.gov

Happy Yoga Monday!

In honor of National Women’s Health Week (May 12-18), I am celebrating the many contributions women yoga teachers make to women’s health and wellness. Sariane Leigh, a Washington, D.C.-based yoga teacher, health activist, blogger, writer, and wellness instructor uses her Anacostia Yogi web site, blog, podcasts, classes, and workshops to promote health awareness and yoga for women and individuals recovering from trauma-related experiences such as HIV/AIDS diagnosis, conflicts, natural disasters, poverty, and institutional racism. Leigh’s healing approach marries Hatha and Kemetic yoga principles to the psycho-social healing tradition from African-American women’s spirituality.

Photo Credit: AnacostiaYogi.com
Photo Credit: AnacostiaYogi.com

In October 2012, she wrote a guest blog, “Sisters of the ‘Yogic’ Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery” for TheFeministWire.com that discusses her healing approach.  To learn more about her work, visit http://anacostiayogi.com.

Who is your favorite yoga blogger?

OM #YogaMonday OM!

0 comments on “Happy February & Happy #YogaMonday!”

Happy February & Happy #YogaMonday!

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley, leighmosley.com
Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley, leighmosley.com

Happy February! Happy Black History Month! Happy Heart Health Month! Happy Love Day/Month! Happy #YogaMonday!

It’s a lot of happy going on today! Why? I am very excited about sharing reflections and resources that celebrate my yoga passion, practice, and services as a yoga teacher on Mondays. This month, I’m sharing yoga reflections and resources that promote an open and healthy heart on my blog and social media platforms (search #YogaMonday on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter for my yoga goodies).

Do you practice yoga?

What are your favorite poses?

How does yoga make you feel?

What kind of music do you like to listen to while practicing yoga?

Love Is Space by Deva Premal
Love Is Space by Deva Premal

One of the things I love to doin my personal yoga practice and in my sessions with clients is chant mantras. Mantras are words or phrases that create energy-based sounds when they are repeated over and over again during meditation and yoga. Devi Premal has a beautiful collection of mantras I use to open my heart. Her Love Is Space DVD is one of my favorites.

ommanipadmehum

I fell in love with her rendition of Om Mani Padme Hum  which means “Hail, the jewel in the lotus.” Click here to listen to it. I use the mantra to open my heart to the practice of compassion. I love to chant it before I do several rounds of cat and cow yoga poses (great heart openers). Yoga Journal has some great instructions on how to do the poses: cat pose and cow pose. Many of my clients enjoy using the online resources too.

Photo Credit: Martin LaBar http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/3271089468/in/photostream/
Photo Credit: Martin LaBar http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/3271089468/in/photostream/

Here are some of heart-related quotes I am using this month as reminders to keep an open heart and practice compassion as I move through my life.

  • “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” Oprah Winfrey
  • “A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” Mother Teresa
  • “Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it.” Braveheart
  •  “Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.” Author Unknown

Click here to read Renita Weems’ post with 21 quotes to open your heart on BeliefNet.

Mudras is one of my favorite yoga books
Mudras is one of my favorite yoga books

Did you know you could practice yoga with your hands? This kind of yoga is called mudras. They are hand gestures and seals that can help improve flexibility and coordination in your fingers and hands. When you use them with breathing exercises, they can stimulate an opening to your lungs and heart and open your joints and relieve tension in your head, neck, and shoulders. They can also help cultivate a specific state of mind during your yoga and meditation practice. I use them in my yoga practice and sessions with clients. The lotus mudra is one I use to open my heart.

Ananda practicing the lotus mudra
Ananda practicing the lotus mudra

Click here to watch my video on the lotus mudra. For more information, check out Yoga Journal’s article on mudras. Enjoy!

OM #YogaMonday OM!

PS: If you would like to read about my yoga journey, check out my memoir That Which Awakens Me on Amazon.com. It is available on Kindle

My debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One features a main character who works as a yoga teacher in Washington, D.C. Click here to visit the Love’s Troubadours’ Pinterest board which contains some great information about the novel. You can purchase it on Amazon.com.