A “coffee” with Lola
Last week I was fortunate enough to get to interview a women that has inspired me a lot ever since I found her instagram a few months ago. Lola Malaika is a self-love guru, movement & dance therapist, researcher, author and yogi based in beautiful Canggu, Bali. She inspires people from all over the world to find love and compassion for themselves through movement, meditation, play and compassion. Lola regularly host workshops where she invite the participants to take part in movements, dance, partner work, touch and play to better understand themselves and find purpose and happiness. She has also written two books about self-love and self-awareness. You can find these on her website linked at the end of the interview. I will now let Lola introduce herself, and let you get entranced and inspired by this beautiful soul.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Belarus but moved to the Czech Republic as a teenager. I soon started working as a dancer and choreographer. As a dance choreographer I worked really close with human bodies and placed them in different positions. This lead to a fascination about movement and I began to research the link between movements and emotions. I decided to study psychology in order to better understand emotions. As a child I was encourage to work hard and strive for success and recognition, a mentality I brought with me as a young adult. My rigid work regime eventually led to an exhaustion, a few injuries, an emotional burnout and depression, as well as a very painful inflammation of nerves. This happened in my late 20s.
Traditional medicine couldn’t heal me and I started searching for alternative options. Acupuncture helped me tremendously, but I did understand that I couldn’t go on living the same way, I needed to do some drastic changes. I decided to leave everything, my home, my relationship, and my family, in order to travel on a pilgrimage. I traveled to several countries, but I had the most profound experience in India where I met a lot of spiritual teachers. They understood me in a way I never had myself, they saw right through me, and recognized my emotional blocks. While staying with these teachers I eventually learned to soften and dive deeper into myself, my emotions and purpose. It truly was a life changing experience and it led me to where I am today.
I decided to move to Bali, where I am based today. The funny thing is that I actually do today what I used to do before, working with movements and emotions. However the expression is different and I now move from a place of love and compassion. I am also a certified yoga teacher, and incorporate this into my sharing, mainly through yin and restorative movements. My main focus is self-love and I work with emotions, self-esteem, and emotional attitudes. I help clients understand that self-love is the root to everything and though we can have beautiful relationships with others, the relationship with ourselves needs to be the foundation.
I offer workshops, retreats, and coaching as tools to help people get in touch with their true cosmic self. My goal is to help them act, move and eat out of pure love.
Can you share a little bit about your health journey?
It has always been important for me to be healthy. As a previous dancer and model I early understood the importance of finding a healthy balance with sleep, nutrition and exercise. It wasn’t always easy, and I definitely had times where I was too rigid and disciplined, but this changed after my injuries. Now I had to look for ways to heal, and restorative yoga and movement became important part of my life. I finally started to understand what true balance really means, and why it is so important. Our bodies are fantastic, and if we just listen, it will tell us exactly what we need. Not two days are equal, today we may need something else than we did yesterday, either in terms of food, movements, or something else. I always try to honor my bodys signals and try not to get too attached with a routine or set of rules.
What sparked your interest in health?
I feel like I kind of answered this one in the questions above, but as mentioned has health always been important to me. By finding true balance, and learning to listen to my bodys signals, my interest in health was re-sparked. Everything we do affect our health and wellbeing, from the food we eat, to the people we surround ourselves with. Personally I stay away from any toxics such as processed food, smoke, sugar and other addiction triggers. I am also aware of toxics when it comes to my environment and the people I spend time with. Another important aspect of my health interest are the importance of working through negative emotions. We need to let our emotions out in order for it to pass. If we hold on to negative emotions, they will eventually make us sick.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
I always like to wake up very early in the morning in order to have my sacred me-time . First I will drink water to hydrate after the night. I’ll than make my special hot chai drink on almond milk, which I usually bring with me outside to enjoy under the stars (yes I start my mornings really early). After doing some sort of cardio movements, it’s time for breakfast. When it comes to food I am very simple and at the moment I prefer to eat just fruits in the morning. The fruits here on Bali are so full of colors and flavors that it is a fulfilling experience just observing my food. I like to cut my fruits into pieces and eat them as they are, rather than blending them into a smoothie. Throughout the day I usually eat fruits and veggies, but at the moment its mostly just fruits. I am mainly plant based, but I listen to my body’s needs and signals. If I crave ghee or egg, I will have it without any feeling of guilt or resentment. I don’t follow any particular eating schedule, I rather let my body guide me. I notice that I sleep better if my stomach is half full, so I try not to eat a lot in the evening. I also want to mention that I think it is really important to be aware of your climate when you decide how and what to eat. Look around you, what would you find in your nearest nature? If you live in a cold country your body probably needs, and crave more comfort foods. I don’t believe in following any strict diet or lifestyle, but eating real, natural foods, and being aware of the bodys signals. Dont just follow another persons way of eating.
What does living a holistic, balanced lifestyle means to you?
A balanced lifestyle for me means to be intuitive, and not too focused on just one thing. When we are too focused at one thing, like f.ex fitness, it can easily develop into an obsession. Fitness is necessarily not a bad thing, sometimes we need to go through these phases in order to grow and evolve. I believe in doing everything with the intention to be healthy and happy, and learn to relax. When we are relaxed everything is fine, then we can digest our food, enjoy our movements and be present in our life. In todays modern world we are constantly stressed, but if we can manage to be calm and relaxed, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. A balanced lifestyle to me also include to connect with my true values. Practice what you preach. F.ex, don’t just be a self-love coach that tells other to love them self, but in the same time disliking your body. You need to practice compassion yourself. Many people today preach one thing but do another, be a product of your words and include compassion and intimacy in your self-love practice.
What are 3 things you love about yourself
1. I love my introvertness, the fact that I am able to enjoy my me time. Actually it is essential to me to have this time every single day, and that’s why I love my early mornings so much. If I have a really early flight one day, I will get up at 2am just to make sure I get these 2-3 hours just for me in true intimacy.
2. I also love my Enthusiasm. When I get really passionate about something I am unstoppable. It is very powerful to experience this state of creativity and resilient.
3. I am a researcher, I love to really dig into the depth of things. This is a pretty unique trait today I believe. I can sit down and meditate upon something for hours and hours. Just like an excited child I get immersed into a situation or state and I let myself get taken by the flow and becoming it.
What are 5 things we can always find in your pantry/fridge?
- Some kind of plant milk, usually almond milk.
- Always fresh fruits.
- I always have either kombucha starter or kombucha.
- You can usually find some kind of probiotics in my fridge, right now its kefir.
- Very dark chocolate.
What role does exercise play in your life, and what are your favorite workout?
My exercise routine has changed a lot during my life, and it may change again, but right now it consist mostly of shaking, dancing, jumping, swimming, yin yoga, and impro movements. I always do some sort of cardio in the morning, usually shaking or dancing. I also love ecstatic dance, here in Canggu, where I live, we have free ecstatic dance every Sunday. It is such a beautiful experience to share this energy with other people. My exercise dont have to be intense, I find it more important to move with intuition and joy. I listen to what my body craves on the specific day, and move accordingly. You can call it exercise or movements, it doesn’t really matter.
What are your top 3 health advices for my readers?
Connect to your intuition and self-compassion. Do everything you do aligned with your intuition.
Do things regularly, humans are connected to a rhythm. But in saying that, it is also important to listen to the body and change the rhythm accordingly. Self-discipline is not only about pushing yourself, but also about softening when you need to soften. What feels good today? Be real and honest with yourself.
Be around people that vibrate at your frequency. Even good people can be toxic to you if they’re not on your frequency. People we spend time with affects our habits and mood. Remember that you owe the responsibility to surround yourself with a good community that fits your unique self. Find your place and your people in order to create a healthy circulation of energy for your mind and body.
What are your favorite treat?
My favorite treat is enjoying my divine chai drink in the early morning. I love to foam the almond milk with my steamer, it makes it so creamy and delicious.
Lastly, where can my readers find you?
My instagram is where I am most active: @lola_malaika