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Nai way to transform your body and mind

REACH FOR THE STARS: As well as being a certified yoga teacher, Nai Davina is an astrological consultant

THE LINK between health, wellbeing, culture and African spirituality have always been topics I’ve gravitated towards growing up.

The use of different natural tools and practices, in obtaining optimum wellbeing mentally, physically and spiritually seemed so broad, simple, artistic yet meaningful. Something which has been so strongly emphasised throughout our history, but also something we seem to be losing scope of more and more with each generation.

Coming from a dance background, physical movement was always an important part of my life. But now as a certified yoga teacher, astrology consultant and co-founder of Back to Roots, a project educating young people of the positive aspects of black history, I’m now grasping and learning more every day about the true meaning of holistic living in its totality.

The pivotal point of my journey was changing to a plant-based diet almost 10 years ago. However, I realised quite early on that living a healthy lifestyle was more than just adopting a healthy diet. So what is holistic living in the eyes of a young black female from Moss Side, south Manchester, searching for peace and stability in a chaotic and unstable environment?

HEALTHY LIFESTYLE: Nai Davina says it is important to stay physically as well as mentally well

Well, defining it in words seemed more complicated than the adoption process. What worked for me? Approaches that go beyond the physical confinements of the body, more so a fusion of diet, yoga mediation, neuroscience, cosmology and - wait for it - gratitude. My superfoods.

Now, these approaches maybe regarded as unvalidated or weightless in the western world, but they have completely transformed my outlook on the meaning of mind, body and soul wellness.

Like most, my journey has come with many lessons. Growing up, I watched my mother battle with a neurodegenerative brain disease – a genetic illness which would later alter my views on life. All the simple things we had taken for granted became her struggle. I felt a sense of loss. Loss of the woman I knew, loss of self, loss of understanding the world from a child’s perspective. The answers to questions and stories only she could have told became sudden mysteries. Not being able to translate what this meant for my future, I went into a shell and my mind began a series of constant worries, creating anxiety and fear. But this became my fuel.

Dancing became a tool of expression, a release of movement without words filled with passion and emotion. Observing the planets equipped me with the knowledge of understanding our connection to the universe. My mother’s battle off-set something inside me, and taking lead of my life became my priority. I questioned the ideology of spirituality, education, good health and holistic wellbeing, especially in the black community.

REFLECTION: Astrological consultant Nai Davina gets ready to do some star gazing

Popular Westernised approaches to illnesses were plagued with pharmaceutical medication and its side-effects. Traditional education seemed to be missing the very fundamentals of the positive attributes of our history and only initiated teachings, which triggered a mindset of inferiority and anger.

Social pressures of fitting into the confinements of society only multiplied issues with identity. I had to re-educate myself on who I was. Intense? Yes. But I had to change the way I was experiencing this thing called life. Starting with my mind.

“To be the greatest at what you do, it starts with the mind. What we manifest in our lives is a reflection of that same mind.”

So, how much of a role does our mind play in regards to our health and wellbeing? It’s surprising.
Let’s see it as a garden. It needs constant maintenance from weeds and other nuisances in order for it to flourish, right?

But we live in a society which demands so much of our mental energy, only to be left with little resources for self-recuperation. The mind is so complex, and has been a dominant tool in many eastern approaches to health. Mindfulness and meditation are becoming more common within the West, but still not at the forefront of education in many institutions, as an alternative for general health. Yet it is so important.

What we continue to focus on solidifies first in the brain and manifests in our reality. The brain works almost like a projector of our thoughts. So the question is: 'What is it that we are really focusing our attention on – our misfortunes or our successes?'

Every remedy for any type of imbalance we may experience exists in the body first. Yes, we have these amazing medicines within our body. Then we find them in nature and the more we move from self, the more diluted the remedies become. The brain constantly releases chemicals that promote health and healing in the form of oxytocin, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. The ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters that allow us to shift from a place of disease to health. Hundreds of studies have shown the benefits of yoga and meditation alone in achieving this balance. But it takes practice and dedication. Only then do we begin to plug into a stream of unlimited potential and begin to tap into our natural capabilities. We become the editors and creators of our reality equipped with the tools necessary to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

The journey starts with self. But how do we take the steps to knowing self, cosmically, spiritually, physically? And how do we combine these tools to transform our reality?

Find out more next week!

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