Guest writer Octavia Nasr is a Lebanese-American journalist who covers Middle Eastern affairs. A celebrated member of the press, she served as CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast affairs for over 20 years. A long-time yoga practitioner and certified teacher, Octavia has long supported Maha Mala in our mission to bring you closer to your inner self through means of crystal healing and spiritual jewellery. Octavia is this month’s guest writer for the Bhakti Blog.
Tell us about your journey. Where are you from? What do you do?
I was born in Beirut, Lebanon. I moved to the United States in my early twenties and worked as a journalist for CNN. I married my soulmate, Ameer, and we had two beautiful daughters – Noor and Aya. I discovered yoga in my late thirties and fell in love with Vedic Chanting and Mediation. I have been practising yoga since. I am currently a certified yoga teacher in many disciplines: Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, and Yoga Nidra.
Tell us about your spiritual and meditative practices.
I practice daily meditation based on the Himalayan Masters' lineage. I practice by myself and in an online community from across the globe. I also practice and teach Yoga Nidra and Ashtanga Yoga based on the Eight Limbs of Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
What do you do to ground yourself in your spiritual practices in these uncertain times?
My daily meditation practice is essential to set my day on the right path. After that, anytime I feel ungrounded during the day, I go back to the breath. Focus inward, find the peace, and carry on.
According to you, what is the importance of mindfulness in today’s world?
Mindfulness is a necessity in our day and age. People cannot treat mindfulness as a luxury anymore. Everyone needs to reflect inward and tap into their higher intelligence and intuition. Without mindfulness, one lives in an illusion and mistakes it for reality. We only come face-to-face with the Truth that we are much more than the senses through meditation and other mindfulness practices.
What advice would you give to somebody struggling with mental health in the age of
the Covid-19 pandemic?
Seek professional help. You are not alone, and you should not hesitate to seek help. Do not try to “diagnose” or “treat” yourself by yourself. If your meditation practise does not yield the desired effects, do not hesitate to turn to a professional for assistance.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their spiritual journey?
Learn to sit quietly. Do not fight the thoughts or try to push them aside. Instead, observe them and let them melt away one after the other. Achieving a comfortable meditative seat might take a long time, but you will be grateful when you find your path to meditation.
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