Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Abiola Akanni.

We asked Abiola to share a word with our community and this is what she had to say:

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOGA?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

My yoga practice started in 2008 as a means to help rehabilitate my physical body, specifically my back, after a car accident. On an emotional level my practice began from the desire to overcome substance abuse and deep-seated insecurities around my body and race.

WHAT KIND OF TRAININGS HAVE YOU PURSUED?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

I’ve competed in a National Bikram Yoga competition and received 2 200hr certifications in addition to continued education surrounding non violent communication, inclusion and tantric studies.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU ALWAYS GIVE YOUR STUDENTS?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

I always inform my students “that they are living souls first having a human experience second” so they are aware that they have a divine right to co-create their life alongside Spirit as opposed to being a victim of circumstances.

HOW DID YOGA INFLUENCE WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON TODAY?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

Yoga influences everything I do. Physically it allows me to utilize embodied and integrated movement to heal my spine, expand my breath capacity and increase mobility throughout my limbs. The 8 limbs along with tantric studies act as guides equipping me with wisdom to do no harm to myself or to others. Yet the defining influence that yoga has had is that it introduced me to sit mediation practices where I can explore and examine myself without criticism or judgement in order to heal past traumas, consult with Spirit, receive my being as a vessel of love and learn who I am and why I do the things I do.

YOU PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE ON SEATTLE YOGA NEWS A FEW YEARS AGO ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE “BEING A BLACK YOGA TEACHER IN A WHITE YOGA COMMUNITY”, HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE & PERSPECTIVE CHANGED SINCE THEN?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

My experience has changed greatly since then because instead of allowing the yoga studio culture and community to define who I would become in this arena, I have defined myself and how I choose to show up in this space as a Nigerian American yogini. In doing so I don’t feel powerless the way I felt at the time I wrote  that article, I feel empowered.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT TRAP VINYASA™ AND WHAT YOUR VISION IS FOR IT IN THE COMING YEARS?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

Trap Vinyasa™ is a radically body positive, hip hop yoga experience that helps individuals, specifically women, release negativity associated with their body image.
We use the storytelling power of hip hop and the embodied practice of yoga to empower participants to rewrite the story of their bodies. We fuse trap music, a beat-based genre of hip-hop originating from the South, with yoga, dance and body weight exercises to create a fitness experience that allows individuals to identify as sensual vessels as opposed to sexualized bodies.
Our offerings bring cultural expression to the yoga/fitness arena and a one-of-a-kind setting that translates well with young professional women committed to personal development and feminine wellness. We created this space to make yoga and enlightenment accessible for the everyday woman looking to grow, to learn and accept her body not at a studio but amongst a community that meets her where she’s at. This practice is for her.
Trap Vinyasa™ has expanded beyond our community classes and tours to events, festivals, retreats and now teacher trainings. Our goal is to train gifted Vinyasa teachers and turn them into TV MC Instructors and ambassadors to continue offering this soul-caffeinating practice around the globe!

WHAT YOGA RELATED BOOKS HAVE MOST INFLUENCED YOU?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

The book that has influenced me most is definitely The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

yoga sutras of patanjali

WHAT IS ONE THING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

                                  I’m kind of the black sheep of my family.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US SOME OF YOUR WELLNESS & SELF-CARE PRACTICES?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

Some of my wellness and self-care practices include weight training which I do religiously 4x a week, cooking (I find it incredible healing and therapeutic to prepare my own food), self massage, reading and drinking water.

WHERE CAN ONE TAKE A YOGA CLASS WITH YOU?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

I teach traditional yoga every Sunday at 9am at Yoga on Beacon and Trap Vinyasa™ every Thursday at 7:30pm (check the schedule at www.trapvinyasa.com for the location)!

WHO IS THE YOGI WE SHOULD FEATURE NEXT & WHY?

Yoga-Teacher-Spotlight-Abiola Akanni

Abiola Akanni:

Definitely my girl Rosie Llewellyn of @rosieinspace. She’s heavily influenced by Rasa Yoga and combines that with artistic and creative touches that hold space for so many who identify as “other.”

Abiola Akanni’s Bio: A leader in the community and field of yoga, Abiola Akanni has successfully cultivated inclusive wellness spaces that encourage individuals to develop their personal yoga practice.
The Nigerian-American, certified yoga instructor is the wellness influencer behind Yoga by Biola and the founder of the radically body-positive Trap VinyasaTM and Body Party event series. Akanni is on the cutting edge of the global wellness scene, presenting her workshops and events at major festivals and conferences around the world in addition to speaking about wellness education on major platforms.
Her liberating mission holds space for healing, while her creative teaching style offers physical and emotional introspection. The wellness entrepreneur is also the creator of The Divine Feminine Yoga Workshop, designed to help individuals embrace the archetypes of the divine feminine.
Abiola’s soulful teachings continue to redefine the yoga and wellness arena while offering representation and cultural expression.