Here at Peak and Valley, we've been interested in topics surrounding self-care/wellness. The term ‘self-care’ specifically is becoming an overused buzzword in marketing and news outlets. Deciding what self-care means for you personally means ignoring a lot of marketing jargon and messaging. We all have to remember that self-care doesn't have to be expensive or exclusive. Given that, we are introducing an interview series where we ask different people about their personal definitions of self-care, and what the word 'wellness' means to them.
Provide a short introduction explaining who you are.
My name is Satya, and I am the founder of Women Of Color Healing Retreats: the first retreat for black women. I am a published author and a spiritual yoga teacher. Many call me a revolutionary. I’m also a world traveler. I've dedicated my life to living in a variety of countries because I think the world, on a global spectrum, is beautiful.
How do you define self-care?
The term 'self-care' was coined by Audre Lorde during her own journey towards personal healing, but it hadn't been expanded upon until now. Self-care is prioritizing yourself over any other person or circumstance. It means being sure to love yourself by living a healthy life, both inside and out.
How do you start your day? If it differs from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
My typical day usually begins with me waking up and reflecting on what I’m going to do for the day. There was a point in my life where-- within the first 20 minutes of waking up-- I would run to Instagram. Since then, I’ve definitely ascended: I don’t have social media apps on my phone. Luckily, I can post from the computer using a third-party site so i’m not overly-engaged with what others are doing. Thankfully, my company doesn't depend on social media, but I do use it for other business purposes. Honestly, if I didn’t own a company, I wouldn’t even have a social media account. I think wellness is really more about being in tune with yourself.
I usually wake up, reflect on my day, and then I head to the second floor of my home where I go into a deep yin yoga practice, sometimes Hatha, followed by a 45-minute meditation. I usually do chakra balancing meditations. During my yoga practice, I let my thoughts ease away, and I allow myself to receive the healing and self-care it wants and needs. Afterwards, I shower, and I cook a delicious and healthy plant-based meal. Sometimes, I'll have avocado on toasted sourdough bread with an organic smoothie, made with fruits fresh off the trees here in Costa Rica, pineapples, coconuts, bananas. I work for a few hours, and then I head to the beach on my bicycle. Biking is part of my self-care. When I get to the beach, I jump into the ocean and I usually pray; I think I've prayed in the ocean every single time I've been in it. I’m a nature lover, that's why I choose to live in the jungle and near to the sea. I also work with nature for self-healing and manifestations, so I always show my gratitude and respect to her. Nature is mystical, but it is also scientific, and everything in nature has healing properties.
What measures do you take when you feel off-balance/stressed?
When I’m feeling off balance, I usually write and place myself on a very disciplined yoga and meditation schedule. The thing about stress and feeling off balance is that we can always defeat it through working with our nervous system, so I intentionally do things to activate my parasympathetic nervous system to get back in balance. Since I live in Costa Rica where it's always warm, I use nature to keep me grounded.
Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
I actually don’t have a bed time ritual. My day usually ends with me relaxing in a hammock while listening to soothing music, and then I head to bed.
What is your idea of beauty? Internal, external, or both?
I personally think wearing your hair natural and product free is absolutely beautiful, because its you in your essence. I’m not a fan of fake hair, whether its braids, faux locs, or weaves. I also don't subscribe to the idea that locs require retwisting or maintenance. I’m not a fan of any hair products, even if they're plant-based. I can be into hair color depending on my mood, but I really prefer completely natural hair. At the very same time I find it boring to have one hair style or look every single day, I had free form locs but quickly got rid of them when I realized it boxed me in, I don’t like being boxed in. These are my personal preferences so people should do what pleases them. Currently i’m enjoying having no hair because its like, here’s my face!
At one point, I went about 3 years without wearing makeup because I wanted to see what it felt like. It was cool, but I found it very boring to go without makeup everyday. I enjoy when people engage in sacred adornment through make-up and nails, I think it forces femininity to the forefront, and I'm all about that. Not only this but the history around makeup is a beauty in itself, our ancestors wore makeup to express themselves, they constantly decorated their temples. Whenever people say makeup is part of society brain washing women its because they don’t actually know the intellectual history of sacred expression through make-up. Some days I wear make up, other days I don’t. I currently haven’t worn make up in 3 months but that could change tomorrow, I’m a creative so I don’t like boxing myself in.
Internally, beauty, to me, means being an actual kind human being. If you're a mean person or someone who's always trying to play on people's shortcomings by criticizing others, then nothing about that is beautiful. To heal that part of your life, start by practicing compassion for every living thing on this earth, because beauty means being filled with love that overflows and genuinely extends.
What is your philosophy around wellness?
Some of my philosophy around wellness is that it must be organic, and we have to get away from using clinical, chemically induced methods of self-care. Healing also begins and ends with the foods we eat. Food has the ability to change our thoughts and can alter our moods. Most mental, spiritual, and physical illnesses come from consuming meat and dairy, so i’m an advocate for plant-based living. I find Yoga to be a major part of wellness because it is a science that touches on every pillar of wellness from the spiritual, environmental to the intellectual and every pillar in between. Ultimately, wellness is an ongoing process of growth and healing, and there's no end goal, because it is a lifestyle. I think everyone should embark on a wellness and healing journey. It makes you feel vulnerable, but it's also life-changing.
I live in Northwest Arkansas - I specifically call out the region because it’s a distinct part of the state, unlike the rest. I love it here - it gives me the progressive nature of a larger city with the comfort of community. There’s still opportunity for growth and change, so I’m happy to be a resident who can play a part in its future.