Dr. Tanya Pergola is an internationally acclaimed inspirational speaker, healing safari guide and yoga and meditation instructor. For over fifteen years she has been traveling the world sharing timeless indigenous wisdom tailored to help individuals with modern day stresses.
She has a PhD in Sociology and Social Psychology, she is also a Chopra Certified Vedic Master Educator and has trained with traditional Maasai healers in Africa for over 10 years!
And today, she’s on the blog sharing invaluable insight to living a mindful life! Read below for more with this amazing healer!
Photo Courtesy of Tanya Pergola
(SE) What does Mindfulness mean to you?
(TP) Being conscious, aware, switched on, when you want to be. Appreciating the aliveness of life, therefore enjoying this time we have on earth to the fullest.
(SE) What tools do you think are essential for living mindfully?
(TP) A proper meditation practice is number one. It makes living mindfully easy. Also, I would say, is learning the art of nonviolent communication / emotional freedom techniques so you know how to use words to improve your relationships. For me, it also helped that I was blessed to start traveling at a young age. Immersing yourself in another culture wakes up your consciousness as you get to notice why you do what you do by comparing your behavior to others who may do things differently. You start to realize that almost everything in life is a choice, and that, when mindful, you can make choices that nourish you rather than drain you.
(SE) Do you have a mindfulness practice, if so, what does it look like?
(TP) Yes, I have a daily meditation and yoga practice. I was trained in Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM), a mantra-based meditation technique developed by Drs. Deepak Chopra and David Simon. I sit with my eyes closed for 20-30 minutes first thing in the morning and repeat my personal mantra silently to myself. I also practice this technique for a shorter amount of time most afternoons when I finish my work and before I start dinner. My yoga asana practice I do after meditating, for 10 minutes to up to an hour depending on the day of the week.
(SE) When did this practice begin?
(TP) I was given my PSM mantra in 2008 and haven't missed a day of meditation since then! I have been practicing yoga since 1990.
(SE) How did you get started?
(TP) I actually started meditating in college, back in 1988, but didn't have a regular practice until I learned PSM. When I attended my first event with Chopra Center in 2008 in Hollywood, Florida, a prerequisite for the course is to receive training in PSM. I found the technique so easy, powerful and useful that it stuck with me. I learned yoga asana when I lived in Seattle, from attending classes. Then, I went on to become certified as a yoga instructor.
(SE) What has this practice done for you as a person?
(TP) The first thing it did was to help me sleep better, which made me happier, more peaceful, and calm. Then, because I became more mindful when I ate, I began to stop eating when I felt full. Thus, I lost weight I wanted to lose. Amazing, right? I would say that since I also learned the practice of nonviolent communication at the same time as when I started meditating, my relationships improved in my life.
(SE) Sleeping better is always a plus! What advice would you give to someone who would like to incorporate a mindfulness practice into their daily routine but cannot find the time or the headspace?
(TP) Start with just 5 minutes. Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and "watch" your breath come into you and out of you. Use a timer with a nice chime on your phone to time 5 minutes. If you use a meditation app for this, you can turn the phone ringing to silent and the timer will still chime. You want to turn the ringer off so you are not disturbed.
(SE) Is there a particular practice you would recommend to cultivate mindfulness?
(TP) I am a big fan of PSM, Primordial Sound Meditation. It worked wonders for me so I love to share it with others. Also, read the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.
(SE) Can you list three, everyday things that we can do to stay in the present and live a mindful life?
(TP) Stay off the phone / tablet / Internet until after meditation in the morning, and switch off tech when you sleep.
Cook and / or eat meals with awareness, talking with someone(s) rather than always watching TV / the screens. Practice yoga asana for a few minutes everyday.
(SE) Do you offer any type of mindfulness training? If so, can you provide details?
(TP) I am certified to teach Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) and have given mantras to hundreds of people around the world. I offer this training regularly in South Florida. You can find details of the course on my website www.tanyapergola.com.
(SE) Are you currently working on anything you would like to share with the Soulful Essence community?
(TP) I just finished recording the audiobook version of my book Time is Cows: Timeless Wisdom of the Maasai and I’m launching the book and it's companion DVD Maasai Yoga & Meditation in Nairobi, Kenya in September. I'm also preparing to lead a Healing Safari in Tanzania with a group where we practice yoga and meditation and learn ancient mindfulness techniques while immersing ourselves in nature and the wildlife of East Africa in the Serengeti and overlooking Mt. Kilimanjaro. A trip of a lifetime!
(SE) Is there anything else you would like to share?
(TP) I post regularly on Instagram, with my images from Africa and my life in Miami. Also, I write a very cool blog from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, the latest posts are on the homepage of my website www.tanyapergola.com.
Thank you Tanya for taking the time out to talk to us about what mindfulness means to you. We have learned so much from this. What have you taken from our talk with Tanya, we are curious to know, drop a comment below!
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