I recently shared my Fiery Harissa recipe with business woman and yoga instructor - Misty Mahela of KAIYAH.
As I was gathering the ingredients together for our meeting, I found myself a little anxious to ask her questions on how she melds the two together, being that they seem like very different energies. I was pleased with her answers, because it helped me understand more deeply how the practice of yoga slowly seeps into our daily lives, essentially being the true yoga practice.
1. What fills your heart with joy?
Quite simply helping others and approaching my life from the heart, gaining understanding, and connecting. Hearing my kids laugh or sing. Inspiring someone to see and believe in the magnificence and potential they hold within themselves. Learning something new as I consider myself a lifelong learner.
2. When were you introduced to yoga and what inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
I came to yoga when I was pregnant with my first child, my daughter, and had no idea of what the practice truly was at the time. I was alone with no family and I immediately felt a sense of peace after the first time I practiced yoga. From that point forward, I have continued to practice and yoga has become a central part of my life both personally and professionally.
Becoming a teacher was a natural step for me, as I love knowledge and had a deep desire to deepen my own understanding of the power of the practice and to share this understanding with the world. I knew intuitively the practice had helped me heal physically, mentally, and emotionally at different points in my life and I became fascinated with understanding the origin, history, and purpose of the practice. I see the physical practice as the gateway to the real yoga, which is being open to receive the wisdom of the higher power. Once we calm the fluctuations of the mind, or what we yogis refer to as “the virtti”, that is when the true yoga begins.
3. I know you have spent several years as an executive in the corporate world and earned your MBA, how has becoming a yoga practitioner and teacher enhanced your business mind/thinking?
As a business woman and leader one is continually faced with decisions that can impact the lives of many people. This is especially true in healthcare where I've spent the majority of my career. Focus, clarity, integrity, helps me to respond rather than react in high pressure environments and to be mindful all of which I believe are vitally important in business. Yoga requires trust and authenticity. Trust is the currency of business and is the foundation of any lasting and successful relationship. The practice is cultivation of self and in business as in life one must always reflect and refine.
4. Do you practice any daily rituals to keep centered or grounded while traveling for work?
Yes, I begin and end each day with prayer and gratitude. This is if I am home or traveling and I have done this since I can remember and do this with my children. I want them to always feel and understand their own connection to their inner voice and their constant connection to God.
When traveling, I make it a point to practice yoga, either in my hotel room or at a local studio. It is very important for me to maintain my practice no matter where I am in the world. It is amazing the variety and creativity in the market and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel for my work and do what I love.
5. I was secretly saving this recipe to share with you because I know you love chiles as much as I do. What are some of your "go-to" foods or flavors you prepare when you are home with your teenage children?
Having been born and raised in New Mexico, chile - red and green - is central to the diet and the culture, so I am so happy you have shared this with me as New Mexican chile has been a staple in my family for generations.
Admittedly I do not cook a great deal, however, I am big on healthy eating so I try to bring lots of fruits and veggies - maybe something exotic or colorful - to peak the interest of teenagers who would rather snack on BBQ chips and cookies.
I would say that one thing I find very important in connecting with my children over a meal is to have some kind of family ritual. For us, a Sunday meal that takes time to prepare where we can commune and enjoy is important. I ask the kids to think about what they would like and have them involved in some way- preparation of food, creating a beautiful table or space, or cleaning up with me or each other after. It is important for them to have a sense of contribution to the process.
6. You mentioned you were a registered member of the Lakota Oglala Tribe through your grandmother. What is one teaching she taught you, through words or by example, that you try to live by each day?
My grandmother taught me strength in the face of adversity and what it is to love unconditionally – as did my mother. She was forced to deny her heritage so much that she was not allowed to pass much of her history to her children and grandchildren. That must have been so difficult, but somehow she summoned her natural ability and inner strength to carry forward raising a daughter and six sons. I am incredibly fortunate to come from a family of strong and resilient women – which is such a gift.
7. Desert or Ocean?
I have a great love for my life and time in the desert as it has taught me so much and its beauty is vast. I am however always and forever will be connected to the power of the ocean. Whenever I seek clarity or peace, that is when I know I need to spend at the ocean. I love the quote by Danish author Isak Dinisen, “The cure for anything is salt water; tears, sweat, or the sea".
Misty is the Founder and CEO of KAIYAH, is a grateful mother of two, and is passionate about redefining healthcare globally. She can be found teaching yoga at various studios in Phoenix, Arizona. You can contact Misty at email@example.com.