Meet Aqeel! A dedicated yoga & meditation practitioner, Aqeel has been teaching since 2010. Learn more about what inspires him & feeds his daily practice.
What is your current practice like and how does it fit into your daily routine?
Over the last 15 years it has changed as my life shifted from a means to feel good about being alive in my own skin, to celebrating the opportunity to exist as a living being. When I began practicing at over 300lbs, my desire was for a healthy and comfortable body and a retreat from the anger, sadness, and depression that colored my mind. As time passed and more of my life has become devoted to practice, I have spent between 3 to 5 hours every day practicing breathing, postures, and meditation. As a more intellectual personality, I spent as much time reading and contemplating as time would allow. Currently, I practice between 2-3 hours daily, and mostly look for ways to serve others in either teaching yoga to kids, deeply listening if someone wants to talk, or offering healing/tarot sessions.
What inspires you to practice at Flow?
I am inspired by the sincere desire to grow beyond personal, social, and historical limits. The good fortune and prosperity of living in Washington DC affords is a perfect environment to cultivate compassion and deep remembrance that peace, contentment, love, and wisdom are not products of who, where, and how we are, but are at the core of each of us. If we learn to live from that deeper inner knowing, and acknowledge and support each other in expressing curiosity, creativity, and joy we are living in service to our ancestors and the people of the future.
What was your first yoga experience like?
My first meditation experience came in 2000 out of a deep desire to come with insomnia; where the instructions or information about what to do came from I am not sure. My first yoga asana experience was spontaneously finding myself moved into yoga poses and hearing the strong message to start practicing, shortly thereafter I took my first class in community college in 2004. I started a home practice immediately. It sounds crazy, I know.
Who are some of your most influential teachers?
My most influential teachers are my ignorance, my arrogance, my doubts and fears, and the unskillful choices that come with consequences. Every harmful action, knowingly or unknowingly, brings me more insight about how to cultivate compassion and humility in my daily life. So, all my relationships offer me supreme guidance and encouragement. Of the yoga teachers I have practiced with, Sri Dharma Mittra is my constant source of inspiration and instruction. Locally, my friends Brittanie DeChino, and Hannah Allerdice Bricker, have been virtually the only teachers I have practiced regularly with. I love them for allowing me to be as weird and intense as I choose to be.
What is something the Flow community may not know about you?
I am a wizard. Seriously. Ask me about it. Also, I have been writing weekly pieces and sharing them for the the last 3 years as a way to help remind us all of our capacity for harmony, creativity, and contentment.
Anything else you would like to share?
I don't know how my life became like this. I also don't know what my life will become as time passes on. I am grateful for every day that my own ignorance does not cause my body to die. I am grateful for the chance to see the world slowly become a less violent and more compassionate and hospitable place for future generations. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute in whatever way possible to a world of cooperative dignified co-existence.