Octavia Nasr's yoga practice began twelve years ago and has been evolving since. Her dedication is expressed through a daily sadhana that includes asana (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. She considers yoga to be a gift of peace and non-harming that has nurtured her when she was consumed by a high profile job, and through every thick and thin to date.

Octavia had been CNN's senior editor for Middle East affairs (1) managing all breaking news stories from the region, analyzing events on air and providing coverage guidance off air. She felt that she was spinning out of control in an endless breaking news wheel. She was also trapped in the constant challenge of balancing duties and responsibilities both personal and professional.

Following CNN's award-winning coverage of the 2003 Iraq War that she played a major role in, Octavia felt that her spiritual path was at irreconcilable odds with her career. Reporting constantly on the savagery of human beings, watching and analyzing the ravages of war, having to watch and report on violence, wars and the heinous acts that ensued, translating and analyzing terrorists' hateful speeches and bloody threats, she considered quitting her job as all of this became too much to bear.

When her boss suggested she takes all her paid time off – a total of about eight weeks – to decompress and recharge before making her final decision, she agreed. She put her blackberry away and never turned on the TV for the next two months and she set out on a house-remodeling mission.

It was through colors, paint and décor that she reconnected with herself. In the midst of this artistic renewal, Octavia took her first yoga class and never stopped practicing yoga since. Her hunger for learning took her to yoga studios, gyms, ashrams and healing centers near and far all over the world. She attended workshops, tried various forms of yoga practices with diverse teachers in diverse languages.Vacations were now planned around yoga and work trips were opportunities to try new styles and meet likeminded people.

Her journey has taken her to India three times where she has traditionally stayed at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram (2) in Rishikesh. There, she learned yoga philosophy and was initiated by Sadhvi Abha Saraswati (3) “Mataji” on Vedic Chanting. Experiencing the humility of ashram living, immersed in prayer, meditation, yoga asanas and daily Ganga Aarti, are the soulful treasures that keep calling her back.

Octavia completed a 200-hour teacher training course at Peachtree Yoga Center (4) in Atlanta under the loving teaching and guidance of Graham Fowler. She believes that in teaching she can reflect all the love, dedication and selflessness of her own teachers. She likes to combine Mantra chanting, breathing techniques and meditation with the traditional yoga poses. She is a big fan of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation); she believes that everyone can and should practice the 12-step series on a daily basis for a balanced healthy body, sharp flexible mind and compassionate heart.

Now the journey continues and Octavia is dedicated to using her knowledge and experience to help people tap into their higher selves to heal from or deal with illness, trauma, PTSD, work pressure, anxiety, balancing career and personal life or anything else that might be ailing or troubling them. Octavia believes yoga is about serving others, which in turn helps her grow and heal as well.

She just returned from a month-long trip to India where she attended the 16th annual International Yoga Festival (5). She also taught traditional Hatha yoga classes and completed an intensive 100-Hour Kriya (6) Yoga class at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh.

1. http://octavianasr.com/about/

2. http://parmarth.com/

3. http://www.internationalyogafestival.com/presenters/sadhvi-abha-saraswati/

4. http://peachtreeyoga.com/

5. http://www.internationalyogafestival.com/

6. http://parmarth.com/y_courses.php

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