African American Yogini

Don’t Let Yoga Intimidate You! Meet My Love-Body-Spirit Yoga Teacher Hannah Mongiat (Audio & Video)

I’ve returned to yoga after a long absence and it’s so good to be back. My Love-Body-Spirit whole life detox program (link) includes a daily yoga lesson because I really feel that a mind-body-spirit practice like yoga is essential for our overall well-being. The participants in my program find Hannah’s daily video lessons easy to follow and empowering. She also creates custom yoga videos on-demand.

Oh – and that’s not me or Hannah in the featured image. That is Hannah below, however.

Today, we have a love, body, spirit class and dialogue with Hannah Mongiat. Hannah is the featured yoga coach in my current Love, Body, Spirit whole life 28 day detox program but she is so much more. Keep reading and you can find a 15 % off discount coupon just for you!

You can listen to the entire conversation on the link below. Also, watch and enjoy one of Hannah’s yoga videos after the jump. Be sure to get up off your booty and participate! Then get more Hannah at HannahMongiat.com.

Abiola: Welcome Hannah.

Hannah Mongiat: Thank you, thanks for having me.  It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this 28 day program.

Abiola:  You’re welcome.  I am just in awe of just the beautiful energy that you radiate through what you do.  What kind of yoga do you practice specifically?

Hannah:  I practice vinyasa flow so there’s ashtanga yoga, hatha yoga, and there’s numerous different types that I practice a more flowing type of yoga.  I have found for my very busy mind that I need a little bit more of a moving type of yoga to help calm my mind before I can lie down and find my relaxation and kind of move into a more meditative state.

Yoga Guru Hannah Mongiat

Abiola:  Maybe vinyasa yoga is the way I need to go because I have a very busy mind, too.  What is your background and why did you want to become a yogini?

Hannah:  Growing up I did a lot of ballet, tap jazz and then I went to college and I stopped.  I just wasn’t really involved in any sort of movement I guess anymore.  My body was having a hard time adjusting.  A friend of mine, like I should say my body, and my mind, emotionally it just sort of all those components were having a hard time adjusting to that lack of movement.

A friend of mine invited me to a yoga class with him.  I started in college and I just immediately fell in love with it.  It was a vinyasa class and it helped to fill that void that I was missing from my dance.  Over the years I’ve tried different types of yoga to see if I might like a different school of thought but I’d always come back to the vinyasa just because that busy mind that I  have, and all those thoughts that sort of run around in it.

I’ve been practice for about 12 years and I decided to get my teaching certification.  Initially I didn’t really plan on teaching, I had just sort of wanted to deepen my own practice and just sort of as a personal goal, personal accomplishment.  It really completely changed my life.  I fell in love with teaching when I had to go through and do my volunteer hours to get my teaching certification. I just really fell completely in love with teaching and sharing the joys and the transformational power of yoga with others.

It was at that point that I decided I needed to be a yoga teacher and share the tools that have helped me with others.

Abiola:  That’s really enlightening to hear for me in particular.  Because I am considering just with my own private practice and private reasons considering getting a yoga certification this year, only because I really wanted to set big fitness or wellness, well-being goal for myself. I originally was thinking okay I wanted to try to run a 5K which is really a big deal for me.   But now like my ankle has been acting weird since I’ve been working out.  I’m thinking I’m leaning in the direction of the yoga certification so that’s really wonderful to hear just that experience that you had.

Hannah:  I was going to say it’s amazing even on a personal level, it really was a big personal transformation for me as well.  So anyone who is a practicing yogini or thinking about doing it for a personal practice, to deepen their own personal practice I would highly recommend it.

Abiola:  Well this is such a big time for yoga.   People feel like yoga now is trendy and whatever but I see it as a really good thing. What could be bad about people learning to become connected to their yogimind, body and spirit?  Absolutely nothing that I can think of.  What are the benefits of yoga?

Hannah:  Oh my gosh; there are so many benefits. I could just go on and on and I could go on for days about the benefits.  Some of the big ones, it definitely helps to physically detoxify the body and it improves digestion. It helps to eliminate pain, and tension.  I’ve had a lot of my clients who have fibromyalgia or have just a lot of chronic pain from other illnesses have a lot of improvement with their pain and tension.

It helps to boost your immunity, it lowers your blood pressure, improves circulation, helps to manage weight.  And then of course with the emotional and the mental aspects of the practice.  It helps to improve your self-acceptance, it improves your concentration, your self confidence and then the focus on just the present and where we are at right now in our lives.

Abiola:  As you know Hannah, I do everything with a mind, body, spirit approach so for women who are listening to this class how can yoga help with emotional and mental healing?

Hannah:  Well I think there’s definitely a physical component to yoga. But as we move through the postures we’re always talking about coming back for a breath and coming back to our center.  And always focusing on accepting ourselves where we are at today and not judging our practice and just accepting our practice for what it looks like today.

And then of course it follows off the mat.  That helps us to accept our bodies wherever our bodies are at right now.  Certainly women we all tend to have some body image issues and things like that, and I think yoga really helps with that a lot.  Just accepting ourselves with where we’re at today and working with that.  And moving forward and changing it if we want to but not judging ourselves and not having a lot of negativity about it but being more positive about it.

With the meditation and the breath awareness it really is amazing what five minutes of intentional breathing will do a day.  I tell my students even if a meditation practice is intimidating to you, you just want to sit down and do five minutes of that intentional breathing, that three part yoga breathe a day in a quiet space.  It’s amazing what that will do for your stress level, maybe the feelings of anxiety you might be having.  It really can make a difference in your life and it really is amazing how it can take the feelings of negativity, and judgment, and self-doubt and really turn it and completely flip it around and have it maybe the exact opposite.

Abiola:  You started to talk a little bit about the power of connection to the breath.  Let’s go a little bit deeper to the benefits specifically of meditation that there’s a guided meditation that you share that people in the program that are going to get to enjoy.

Yogini Hannah Mongiat

Hannah:  Well meditation is really great for reducing anxiety, improving depression.  Immediately it will lower heart rate and blood pressure so if you’re having sort of an intense moment or if you’re in a really stressful situation, if you’re feeling a bit anxious mediation is really something. If you have that tool in sort of your coping toolkit, it’s something that is really great to pull out and go into.

I know a lot of yogis and yoginis that have previously been on medication for depression, and anxiety and who have now completely went off of that and are using meditation and yoga to sort of cope with these feelings.  As opposed to being on pharmaceutical medication it definitely is very powerful, it’s a very powerful tool.

 

Featured photos: Wikimedia Commons. Hannah Mongiat photos, property of HannahMongiat.com.

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