We are so honored and zenned to have a sharing session with Africa’s Yoga Queen (yes we gave her the title), Ms. Chocolako. She is flexible, simple, stylish, very educated, accomplished, charitable, warm, and uplifting. At Lheritier, all our team members practice Yoga and meditation – we hope that in sharing a story like Choc’s you will be inspired to expand your experience in this universe by trying out Yoga and meditation. Yoga can have a great impact in one’s well being and certain practices like ashtanga can get one sweating out toxins through the skin. If you do not believe us, just go to Chocolako’s Instagram page listed below and behold her skin!
Please join us in supporting her through her social media accounts below.
Share with the world about Chocolako
Hi there. My name is Chocolako, which is the joining of my birth and childhood nick names. I am a yoga life + style mentor, writer, meditation guide and Yoga Innergy Founder. I currently live and teach yoga/meditation in Lagos, Nigeria.
How long have you been a naturalista?
Since 2005. While in graduate school at UC Berkeley, I was surrounded by high vibrational energies. The residents of California, proximity to nature, yummy food and mindful movement practices encouraged me to focus on how I love myself. I knew chemicals used to straighten my natural tresses were harmful mentally, emotionally and physically and decided to care for my authentic self, natural hair included. Once you know better, you do better.
What’s your preferred protective styling?
Ghana braids woven from my forehead to my neck. Simple and away from my face. I also like to rock a natural curly afro.
Any daily routine tips
My hair needs plenty of moisture. I create my daily hair moisturizer by mixing alkaline water, argan, avocado and essential oils, other yumminess and love. I spray my hair multiple times throughout the day, every day.
What natural oils work for you in terms of skin and hair?
Essential oils, castor oil, avacado oil, coconut oil, and shea butter all over my body, from head to toes.
How does your being natural factor into empowering your identity as an African woman?
The acronym for a real African woman is R.A.W. I welcome every opportunity to align with RAW energy. Besides, when I tune in to and love my natural self, it creates space for people around me to also love themselves.
Love is a contagious carrier and if other African women love and embrace their natural selves, a collective awakening will emerge. Being natural is my contribution toward this emergence.
You are an ever stylish trendsetter, what influences your style?
Awwww, you’re so sweet. Thanks for these kind words. When I feel good from the inside, I look good on the outside. Style is connected to a feeling, and that feeling needs to be an extension of love. Bright colors and patterns, in particular, stimulate creativity and strength for me.
Having done a career change from a large conglomerate to being a yoga instructor, how did you adjust?
“Feel the fear and do it any way” was my mantra during the transition from 9 to 5 to yoga life-style mentoring. I meditated and prayed daily, conversed with other entrepreneurs and seasoned adults before taking the plunge. Most adults in their 60s and 70s highlighted the importance of “fortune favoring the bold”, and the mistake they made by following society’s expectations of success, instead of their heart. I also received emotional support from my husband. Before my days of business school, Osahon would listen intently and help me fine tune my vision for Yoga Innergy. One day, he presented me with a mind map of all the things I shared with him about this ecosystem. Having a supportive partner helps to ease the plunge toward the unknown, where limitless possibilities dwell.
How did your passion for Yoga start?
It started with an open mind. In 2005, I unrolled a yoga mat for the very first time. During this 90-minute session, I experienced a range of emotions. “E-motions” are energies in motion. The recognition of these energies and willingness to remain connected to my inner self, breath, heart beats and body encouraged me to continue unrolling my yoga mat to discover more.
Self-inquiry is magical. There’s no other experience like it.
Given that Yoga roots back to Africa, do you experience the re-emergence of it within your community?
Yes, I meet other recently “returned home” yoga teachers and practicing yogis across Lagos periodically. Health and wellness is very important inn Nigeria. In general, Africans are health conscious and take advice from health professionals very serious. Clinicians and public health professionals recognize the benefits of yoga and encourage people in the community to focus on their mental, emotional and physical health. The awareness of heightened stress levels and the triggers that activate tension grows daily. Once recognized, people have tools from health professionals and fitness instructors to manage, cope and transcend. Community retreats, workshops, festivals and more pop up more and more. These are exciting times across the continent.
Is there a resistance to it? how do you manage to re-educate native people in your community about the truths of Yoga?
You can’t force anyone to think differently. I understand that geographical location, culture, upbringing, values, principles and so many other variables contribute to a person’s beliefs. To compete with these variables within a 5-minute exchange is challenging. Instead, I share my experiences and my perspectives openly. If my words resonate, then inspiration and self-motivation follow. From here, we have entered receptive mode together, and the exchange of information can create expansion, a different level of knowing. If there is resistance, then there is no need to force.
It baffles me when someone says, “I’ve never experienced it, but this is what I know……and it’s all bad”. My response is always, “how do you know if you haven’t experienced it for yourself?” The answer to this questions determines whether I will stick around for a healthy exchange of knowing or gracefully reserve my energy for something beneficial.
There is a significant difference between knowledge and knowing. According to Osho, knowledge is a theory; knowing is an experience. Knowing means you open your eyes and you see; knowledge means somebody else has opened his eyes and he has seen and he talks about it, and you simply go on gathering that information. There are close to 180 million people in Nigeria; over 30 million of them live in Lagos. Certainly a community of mindful people who align with the benefits of yoga and meditation will emerge. No need to force, just flow.
Your body is nicely lean and beautiful; do you have a diet that works for you as a Yoga instructor?
Please don’t let my size fool you. I can eat. Lol. In fact, I eat at least five times a day. I make fresh juices using fruits and vegetables from local farmers. I love the seemingly year round mango and pineapple season in West Africa. I tend to add these yummy fruit to smoothies daily. I have a pescetarian diet – fish, prawns, vegetables and fruit. My sugar intake is minimal, mostly fruit based sugar, which my body can digest. I also enjoy ice cream and sorbet in manageable doses.
Demystify meditation for us; how it works for you, particularly when it comes to dealing with negative emotions
Just keep doing it. No two meditation sessions will be the same. Focusing inward is an opportunity to quiet down the chatter occurring in between the ears. Meditation is a chance to connect with the breath and achieve inner calmness. Who doesn’t want to flow from stressed to zen in less than 10 minutes, I certainly do, and people living in major African cities do too. The discipline achieved through daily meditation helps to ensure mindful participation, fully integrated and involved in every activity. Some people are just coasting along. Once you experience complete awareness, you’ll want more of it…bliss!
How should the world anticipate the impact of your greatness as a brave, very educated, yet humble African woman?
One breath at a time; One moment at a time 🙂