Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kongo Square This Week's Chat with Ananda K. M. Leeke

Hey Y'all
Welcome to my new section of A Choice of Weapons, Kongo Square Chat and I am honored and humbled that my first interview is with Ananda Kiamsha Madalyne Leeke!

Reiki Master, Yogini, Author, Blogger, Poet and most of all just a real cool peeps!

I wrote Ananda online because we both belong to the same online Black Buddhist fellowship group, one of the groups I belong to and study with striving from clarity and greater light and she agreed to allow me to interview her when I first started my blog so I emailed her the questions and thanks to a break in her super busy schedule she finally got back to me. So now, I am going to present the interview but...but...but....first! check out her blog then come back read the interview. Dig!

Jaycee: So, do you teach a lot of African American students?

Kiamsha: My students have been African American, Latino, Caribbean, Indian, Jewish, and Caucasian.

Jaycee: Is it equal interest among Men and Women?

Kiamsha: I teach more women than men.

Jaycee: Who stays and who goes?

Kiamsha:Women are my most consistent clients.

Jaycee: What have you found to be the reasons some might stay or go?

Kiamsha: Some folks only need yoga sessions to help them establish a home practice. Others, move from the area or have changes in their lives.

Jaycee: What is Yoga and what is it not?

Kiamsha: I define Yoga as Your opportunity to graciously accept yourself in the present moment. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union of body, mind, spirit, hearth, and breath. It is a life practice and philosophy that can help one navigate daily experiences. I am not one to say what yoga is not. I think each person can have their own definition of yoga.
Jaycee: What have you gained from it?

Kiamsha: Yoga has given me tools to surrender my ego, change my habits, open my heart, forgive, tap into my creativity, release stress, navigate change, understand my body’s energy, heal my emotions, release patterns and experiences that no longer serve me, and improve my physical body.

Now for a fun question.

Jaycee: What's the craziest Yoga pose that you've seen or done?

Kiamsha: I have a personal fear of doing handstands.

Jaycee: Did you try it?

Kiamsha: During my yoga teacher training I was able to do one with the support of a teacher and two classmates. It was very empowering for that moment. However, I have not tried it since that time. I am working on my fears now and upper body with the hope of being able to trust my body so I can do the pose again one day.

Jaycee: Why Yoga and not some other martial science?

Kiamsha: I studied karate when I was in elementary school for two summers, but it never appealed to me.

Jaycee: Did Buddhism come first or did Yoga?

Kiamsha: Buddhist meditation came first.

Jaycee: How long have you taught Yoga?

Kiamsha: I have been teaching yoga since 2005 as a teacher trainee and 2006 as a registered teacher. I have been practicing yoga since 1995.

I started practicing yoga when I was 30. I learned about it during an African American study tour to Egypt.

Jaycee: What style do you primarily perform and why?

Kiamsha: I practice Hatha yoga with a strong emphasis on kind and gentle, restorative, and yin yoga. These forms of yoga slow me down and open me up. I am a big fan of sun and moon salutations too. I also love the corpse, mountain, butterfly, goddess, tree, squat, cobra, downward facing dog, headstand, plough, fish, and forward fold poses.

Jaycee: What are some of the main things you see when someone comes to Yoga for the first time? Is it bad diet, injury or spiritual search?
Kiamsha: A lot of my clients are seeking ways to help manage stress in their lives and relieve back, neck, and shoulder pain.

Jaycee: Do you teach the other styles such as Kemetic or Ashtanga and Why?

Kiamsha: I teach kind and gentle yoga. I have included yin yoga and Kemetic yoga poses in my classes. I teach kind and gentle yoga because I believe most folks need to slow down and get in touch with themselves by offering their body kindness, gentleness, and compassion.

Jaycee: What is the main thing you would want to share with someone interested in Yoga?

Kiamsha: Yoga can help you learn more about yourself.

Ok, this may be a dumb question but I'm gonna ask it anyway ok?

Jaycee: If I'm not a Buddhist or a vegetarian can I do Yoga?

Kiamsha: Yes, anyone can do yoga. It is a life practice that has many benefits.

Jaycee: Wouldn't Buddhist practices conflict with my Christian faith or is it non sectarian?

Kiamsha: I am not one to speak about what conflicts with folks’ spiritual practices. I can only talk about my own. I use both Christian and Buddhist sacred practices in my life. I also use African, Hindu, Native American, and other world sacred practices. I attend a Unitarian church because it meets my needs. I also participate in two Buddhist Sanghas because they meet my needs. I think each person has to make his or her own choices when it comes to spiritual and life practices.

Ok, enough about Yoga and religious thought let's talk about something really important! Poetry!

Jaycee: How's the Karma, love Troubadour book tour coming along?

Kiamsha: The tour is headed to Atlanta on July 24. I will be back in DC for a reading on August 13 to celebrate my first anniversary of the book being published. The book promotion process has been intense. I am winding down now so I can focus on completing my poetic memoir which comes out in December.

Jaycee: How long have you been writing poetry?

Kiamsha: I have been writing since I was about 10 years old.

Jaycee: I've seen your videos on You tube and the poetry on your blog! Hey, Y'all check the book out and support by buying and recommending the book.

Jaycee: You got a law degree, studied French and teach yoga now, what have you learned from your law and French studies that helps you as an activist, author, poet and yogini now?
Kiamsha: My law degree continues to provide a strong business foundation for my role as a life entrepreneur. My French background helps me appreciate and understand other cultures.

Jaycee: Thank You, Ananda for letting me interview you. Thank you for A Choice of Weapons Kongo Square Chat!

Now, y'all go buy the Book!

Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke
Life Entrepreneur l Creativity Coach l Author l Artist l Yoga Teacher l Reiki Practitioner l Radio Host l l


Ananda said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful interview Jaycee. It was a pleasure to share with you and your blog audience. Many blessings.

Serious said...

Cool interview. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Now this is enlightening! =)

Again, I really enjoyed this. Thanks for referring me to it.

I love yoga. Helps me keep my life focused and balanced.

Not an easy thing!


Bella =)

Angel said...

Thanks for telling me about the interview it was really nice!!