When I won the Afrobloggers Award for 2020, two things struck me – the first was that so many African blogs exist that I’d never heard of, leaving me with a strong desire to actively explore and connect with these blogs. The second thing was the absence of blog nominations from Botswana – and it was this that inspired the idea to use the small platform I have to showcase other blogs from Botswana. The first blogger I’m featuring is yoga teacher and blogger Nana who has been practicing yoga for three years and in May 2019 qualified as a yoga teacher. She has created a beautiful and calm space in her garage where others can enjoy a peaceful and tranquil yoga experience. Outside of yoga and meditation, she loves reading as well as creating new vegan recipes and eating plans. Recently, she discovered a love for writing and the healing power it has, and in August 2020 she started her own blog, Rebirth Tribe. This is Nana’s story.
“Yoga has given me the greatest opportunities for growth and development in my life” – Nana
When and how did you start practicing yoga? I started my yoga journey in 2018, mainly from watching YouTube videos, and then eventually started my own home practice. I mostly practiced what I remembered from YouTube, and slowly added more poses I saw shared from Instagram. I have been practicing consistently since then. A year later, I decided to get official accreditation, and I got my yoga teacher training in Thailand. This training was in aerial yoga.
What has yoga taught you about yourself? How have you changed, evolved and transformed with yoga? Yoga has firstly taught me to get out of my head, where I thought the source of the problems and solutions always were, and to get and settle more into my body, which is where I focus my attention now when negative emotions arise. When I feel anxious or stressed, for example, my instinct now is not to sit in a corner analysing these emotions, but rather, I am inclined to taking a walk, meditating, deep breathing, doing some yoga asanas, or whatever I need to do to change the flow of chemicals through the body. Once I change the way I process the emotions, and the frame, the rest invariably follows.
Yoga has also given me the greatest opportunities for growth and development in my life. Just like our relationships, the intimacy of a yoga practice offered me a great insight into my own beliefs, fears, anxieties, and relationships with love. The practice of yoga is ultimately about the relationship we have with ourselves which is why at times we can feel tested and stretched. Yoga has given me the ability to truly be in my body, making me more available for myself and others, which consequently affects the quality and dynamics of my personal relationships, and human relations in general.
What role does yoga play in your daily life? It helps me to release all my fears and allows me to just be. I can show up more authentically towards myself, as well as in external intrapersonal relationships. I am able to be more present, exercise patience, composure and deal with negative emotions much more effectively. It also helps with the stretching, breathing, meditating and keeping me in shape, physical wise!
You took your yoga practice even further by going on a 30-day Yoga Retreat to Bali. Could you share some of the highlights of this trip? My experiences in Bali on and off the mat are quite hard to put into words. For one, the idea of participating in a Yoga Teacher Training can be scary, even daunting. It is a new experience of long hours, new faces, remembering the sequences, and the thought of teaching a class is a bit intimidating. Off the mat, Bali was a foreign destination and therefore a new home/environment for me. Bali generally has a stronger energy, which somewhat creates a massive shift in everyday life. Why are all these concepts so scary? Because individually and collectively they all bring about change.
Before embarking on my new spiritual, yoga journey, I had a few days to settle into the Balinese way of life. Ubud (town in Bali) itself is generally a magical place. There is an array of restaurants specializing in delicious and healthy cuisine, a plethora of yoga studios, and different wellness spas on every corner. The small city itself radiates with high vibes and spirituality. The Balinese culture is rich, and the locals greatly value their traditional heritage. I immediately felt a strong sense of peace, calm and acceptance upon arrival in this magical city.
When did you decide to start teaching yoga? And what has your experience been like teaching others? Actually, it was not my plan to teach yoga. When I attended yoga retreats, it was initially just for my own benefit. One day when I taught a class, I immediately felt like I was home; seeing smiles on all my students was priceless. It was that moment that made me realise I enjoy teaching, and I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do, and I am going to do.
Which strengths do you believe you have that make you a good yoga teacher? Being humble and not talking down to anybody. I’m also a student, I just have more experience and am just sharing information with students. I’m not operating from a judgmental space, telling you what’s right or wrong; that’s for one to decide. I am also kind, compassionate and patient. This makes the teaching experience fun, fulfilling and enjoyable.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey? Start by deciding, and explicitly saying you want to start! You then need to make it happen, simply do it. Also constantly remember your WHY? Show up fully and enjoy the experience.
Let’s talk about your blog, “Rebirth Tribe”. What’s the significance of your blog’s name? And what are some of the reasons you started blogging? The blog is basically based on my life after yoga, which was my REBIRTH, because it is a period of my new life and growth. I started blogging because I wanted to share the experience of my journey, and I hoped it would help others who are not ready to listen to their higher self. I wanted to share experiences to show that we are all going through something. I also heal through blogging.
Finally, what are some of the goals you’d like to accomplish in the next few months to a couple of years? I wish to reach more people through my teaching, particularly those with limited access to yoga and meditation practices. I want Yoga to be seen as a psychological and physical beneficial practice, and dispel the myth around it – for one, that you need to be flexible to do yoga! In reality you do yoga to be flexible. Also that yoga is not a religion and it is for everyone with all kinds of body shapes, for both men and women. I wish to write more, share more of my experiences, and collaborate with other people in making yoga accessible for all.
“The practice of yoga is ultimately about the relationship we have with ourselves” – Nana
Thank you Nana for sharing your yoga journey and your blog! I love how you have used both yoga and blogging as a way to heal, develop and grow as well as a way to reach out to others who may also find it similarly uplifting. Here are some important links if you’d like to connect with Nana – her blog Rebirth Tribe, her Instagram Page and to book a class.
Do you practice yoga? Have you ever been on a yoga retreat? Do you know any bloggers from Botswana who may want to feature on my blog? Drop me a note in the Comments!
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.