When I started doing yoga, it was more for fitness than anything else. I already had a pretty good meditation ritual, and was fully immersed in the church, so the spiritual and mindfulness components of it weren't my main focus.
After a few sessions, though, that quickly changed. Over the course of the year, I've tried a few variations of yoga — particularly vinyasa, bikram, and yoga nidra. And all of them provided a life lesson that I plan to keep with me for years to come:
There’s a sequential flow for everything.
I began my yoga journey with vinyasa. I downloaded an app on my Apple TV that would allow me the space and comfort of starting this journey in my living room. Vinyasa yoga is a style that relies on the flow and sequence from one pose to the next. This means, there's a sequential order to every pose — both with breathing and with body movement. I didn't realize that at first; I felt that I could get to Pose #3 without doing Pose #2. Throughout the at-home session, I proved myself wrong. If I took a break during Pose #2, I'd have to still do Pose #2 to make transitioning into Pose #3 easier.
The fluidity of my body relied on successfully completing each pose in order.
After each session, I reflected on that reality, and connected it directly back to life. So often, we try to skip step 2 of our process to get to step 3. We try to rush through our journey, thinking that doing so will get us there quicker. In reality though, it'll only get us there unprepared. There is a sequential flow for everything in our lives and for us to make it through with our fullest, best selves, we must recognize and honor this.
I can get through anything.
Bikram yoga was the most challenging for me. Between the excessive heat and the sweaty palms, it was hard to maintain the poses. 15 minutes into this session, and I was already over it. Drenched in sweat and pushing the limits with my body, I felt defeated. But I didn't start this session to stop a quarter of the way through. I was determined to complete this session and I did all I could to do so. I took breaks when needed, did modified poses if the originals were too challenging, and solicited help from the instructor to perfect my form. I was dedicated to not only finishing, but finishing well. Not because I had to, but because I knew I could.
If we navigate our everyday lives with this same energy we could achieve everything we set out to. Once we recognize that all we need to complete something is the gall to keep at it, we're able to position ourselves in the posture of persistence, patience, and push-through that we need to make it through.
Little things matter.
When I solicited help from the instructor, he provided minor tips and adjustments that made all the difference. Though it felt I was far away from mastering the pose, his minor tweaks proved that I wasn't as far as I thought. Twisting my body a little to the right, heightening my chest, etc. helped me position myself into a pose that I previously struggled with.
Small adjustments made big changes.
I immediately thought about how to apply this to my life: What small modifications could I make in my life to provoke big, lasting change? I recognized that so many "little things" can make a big difference. Not all life-changing moments are based on big decisions. In fact, it's the culmination of smaller decisions and small blessings that usher in peace, prosperity, and life-changing possibilities. Things as simple as turning your phone off when you sleep, or being kind to a stranger can present you with peace and opportunity, respectively, that you may have never considered. As we navigate our everyday lives, let's not ignore the small changes we can make to improve our lives.
Let your mind rest.
Yoga Nidra proved to be the most relaxing form of yoga for me. Using audio a friend of mine received from a yoga retreat in Bali, her and I laid on my living room floor in full submission to this guided meditation. Yoga Nidra focuses on relaxation and inner peace, so during the entirety of this meditation, we were laying on our backs with our eyes closed. As the instructions played from the audio, I realized that much of what we were told to do was to mentally release the toxins of our day. By the end of the session, we were both asleep.
So often, we let life's trials over-consume us. We worry about today, we worry about yesterday, and we worry about tomorrow – none of which does us any good (word to Matthew 6:34). Yoga Nidra forced us onto the floor in a posture of full relaxation, and walked us through releasing those worries from our minds, and releasing the tension it causes from our bodies.
This level of mindfulness reminded me of how important it is to rest – both physically and mentally.
Many times, our ideas of rest may be just about the physical; a lazy day on the couch, binge watching Netflix, still entertaining the many thoughts on our mind; or, a day out on the beach reading a book that we hope will help us fix our lives. This yoga technique, however, promoted the full rest of the body and the mind.
It inspired us, not to just rest our physical, but to fully release everything clouding our mental as well. It encouraged us to say "hello" and "goodbye" to those things in one breath. Obsessing over things you cannot change, or thinking about what happened yesterday won't give you an 'up' in life. Sometimes we should just come to the floor (or the altar) and let things go.
Mindfulness doesn't always have to be about thinking, sometimes it can be about consciously not thinking.
Featured image by Getty Images
Energize Your Mornings With These 5 Simple Yoga Poses – Read More
4 Of The Biggest Misconceptions About Starting A Yoga Practice – Read More
What Self-Care Looks Like To Yogi Dr. Chelsea Jackson – Read More
- Life Lessons I Learned From Yoga | Recovery Warriors ›
- 7 Important Life Lessons to Never Forget | Isha Sadhguru ›
- Powerful Life Lessons Learned From 30 Days of Yoga ›
- Four Life Lessons We Can Learn from Yoga Practice | Student ... ›
- 5 Life Lessons From Yoga That Will Stick With You Long After You ... ›
- 7 lessons I've learned from practicing yoga – Be Yourself ›
- 5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Yoga | Mental Benefits of Yoga ... ›
- 3 Basic Life Lessons I Learned From Yoga - mindbodygreen ›
- The unexpected life lessons of Yoga — Rosie Hope ›
Zoe Hunter is the writer, speaker, and creator behind the women empowerment brand DEAR QUEENS. She uses vulnerability, storytelling, and spiritual development to empower women toward healthy decision-making. Stay connected to Zoe's work by visiting DEARQUEENS.com or following her on Twitter @zDEARQUEENS.
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image courtesy
Porsha Williams And Simon Guobadia’s Marriage Has Ended: Here’s A Look Into Their Relationship Timeline
Porsha Williams and Simon Guobadia have called it quits.
After a 15-month-long marriage commenced with two elaborate wedding ceremonies, PEOPLEexclusively reports that the former Real Housewives of Atlanta star has filed for divorce from the Nigerian businessman on Thursday.
With online rumors around Guobadia's citizenship status coinciding with the announcement of their separation, a source informed PEOPLE that the divorce is "unrelated to recent allegations involving Simon's past" and is an “ongoing matter.”
In November 2022, the ex-lovebirds tied the knot in Atlanta during a show-stopping, 350-guest Nigerian traditional native law, with a traditional American wedding to follow.
Ahead of their wedding, Williams told PEOPLEexclusively, “I am ridiculously excited. I am just so ready. I'm not even nervous. I know I'm marrying the love of my life, and it's going to solidify our relationship and our family bond. I'm calm and excited."
Although their relationship has come to a sudden conclusion, their whirlwind romance was one to watch; or in this case, look back on. Here’s a breakdown of the moments that made Williams and Guobadia’s relationship one to remember.
2020 - Porsha and Simon's First Encounter
Porsha Williams and Simon Guobadia first crossed paths in 2020 on the set of Season 13 of Real Housewives of Atlanta. Guobadia was then married to friend of the show, Falynn Pina.
May 2021 - Their Surprise Engagement
In May 2021, Porsha Williams surprised fans by announcing her engagement to Simon Guobadia shortly after he reportedly declared his divorce from Falynn Pina. Williams shared on Instagram that their relationship started a month earlier, and Guobadia had initiated divorce proceedings in January 2021, which had been resolved.
Williams took to Instagram to dispel rumors around the overlap in Guobadia’s prior relationship.
“Our relationship began a month ago—yes we are crazy in love,” she wrote in the caption. “I know it’s fast but we are living life each day to its fullest. I choose happiness every morning and every night. Tuning out all negative energy and only focused on positive wishes.”
November 2021 - Porsha Clears Up Rumors Around Their Relationship Timeline
On an episode of Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen looked to “nail down some dates” in connection to alleged overlaps with Porsha, Simon, and his ex-wife. She shared that she reached out to Guobadia to express her sympathy for his divorce, having experienced the weight of divorce herself.
“I actually told him, ‘I’m sorry for your divorce,’ and all of that because I know what that feels like,” Williams shared. “I know what it feels like to go through betrayal and hurt.”
She continued, "A little birdie had told me that [Falynn] was pregnant, so I knew what he was about to go through." Porsha noted that his ex-wife’s pregnancy announcement prompted her to offer support to Simon, which opened a door for their connection to deepen and eventually fall in love.
November 2022 - Williams and Guobadia Tie the Knot
The couple spared no expense for their not one, but two wedding ceremonies. On Nov. 26 and Nov. 27, the two celebrated their love in front of 350 wedding guests at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta, GA. The first ceremony celebrated Guobadia's Edo culture, while the following day featured a star-studded American wedding. Williams told PEOPLE that the double-wedding was a "true fashion extravaganza," as a nod to her numerous outfit changes.
November 2023 - A Diamond-Studded Declaration
To celebrate their one-year anniversary, the couple exchanged extravagant dazzling diamond rings — a stunning emerald cut for her and a stylish band for him.
February 2024 - The Two File for Divorce
Williams filed for divorce from Guobadia on Thursday, Feb. 22 2024, after nearly a half of marriage. While the cause of their divorce is still unknown, sources close to Williams confirmed that the divorce is an “ongoing matter.”
Featured image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images