STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE: NKECHI NJAKA

People

STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE: NKECHI NJAKA

By: Parker Davis

The relationship between brain and body is core to our nature. Nurture it, and growth follows. 

The intersection of wellness, science, art, and social practice drive Nkechi Njaka’s work. As a neuroscientist, artist, meditation guide, and public speaker, Nkechi supports her surrounding community in helping them recognize the power of mindfulness and creativity through her own platforms, RESONANCE and The Compass, and her podcast, Dating White.

Our interview with Nkechi explores her experience with MINERAL, her approach to the human experience, and her latest ventures.

You’re getting to know MINERAL’s products and are gradually incorporating them into your routine. Tell us about your experience with MINERAL products.

I am loving the MINERAL products I own, I have been using them all each day. The MAISON, SLEEP and HYDRATE. I have created sweet rituals around them as well so it is a part of my morning and evening routines.

I use the SLEEP as the beginning of my rest practice, which is to be in bed by 10:30 each night, devices off. I do my face routine in the bathroom, use HYDRATE on my skin and then brush my teeth and then take SLEEP. I then make myself a ginger or chamomile tea and cozy in bed with a book. 

I also use the MAISON often throughout the day. I have joint pain and stiffness and this really helps with those injuries. I feel relief and applying it gives me a mindful moment with myself. I love the way it smells and feels, it's a really special product. As a dancer, it feels important to especially be able to move free from pain. Our healing and our practice are the greatest message of hope for ourselves and others.

There is an abundance of “products” in today’s society. How do you go about choosing which fit best into your environment?

Utility/ function/purpose, experience and efficacy matter to me most. And then scent! 

Your work encompasses much more than the concept of “mindfulness” that is so often discussed today. Unwrap that a bit.

Mindfulness can be found in the most mundane of tasks or just in simply being. Some of the ways that I find a sense of connection, a sense of groundedness, and a sense of peace is through my meditation practice, through my movement practice, through my creative practice, and also through my rest practice.

Within our world, day-to-day adaptability is essential to community. How do you balance (or prepare for) maintaining control of your routine and flowing with the unexpected?

It may seem counterintuitive to have equal parts movement and rest and creativity as part of the way that I find a sense of ease and a sense of spaciousness, but I really have found those to be the most effective ways for me to stay connected to myself.  I’ve found that each of these things are equally important for me to navigate an otherwise unknown, uncertain, often destabilizing and chaotic world that is everyday life.

I do not think that I have control over the flow of life, but I do my best to create a structure that I hope supports me in flowing freely through life’s various twists and turns. My practice provides a grounding foundation to weather the storm, so to speak. 

How did you realize that you wanted to blend neuroscience with mindfulness and movement?

I wouldn’t say I “realized” one day that I “wanted to blend” all the things I was and am obsessed with; but rather, it keeps revealing to me that they are, in fact, related to one another. 

It was creating more challenges and headache for me to split my identity and interests and so I am grateful that I had the space and creativity to find a way for all the things I love to also be a huge component of my career. I am a neuroscientist. I am a mindfulness meditation guide. I’m also a choreographer. I am each of these things at the same time, all of the time.

How would you describe your thoughtfulness about when it comes to your surroundings?

Everything matters. It feels funny to say but I do believe that things hold energy and beauty and it matters when thinking about a feeling or mood or way that we want to exist in the world. Creating a home that feel nourishing and beautiful has been a priority of mine for a lot of 2020, I fell into full nest mode. This has extended to how I care for my sleep routine, what I am wearing and what I put on my skin. I want to feel at ease and comfortable in my own skin so that I can mitigate my stress. That is the external. For my internal landscape, my mindfulness practice helps me to stay grounded when my environment is less than calm. I can create that within myself and I can trust myself now to be able to do that. 

How can our community explore more about your world and get further adapted to your mindset?

If you are looking for ways to stay connected to yourself and want to be invited to some of the offerings that I have, I’d love to share some of the things I’m working on that you can be part of too. 

The first thing I want to share is The Compass, which is a digital library for mindfulness and somatic practices that I’m launching soon. Imagine meditation, movement, and theory, so it can include a bit of science on the biological basis of mindfulness. Why do we get stressed? How do we support ourselves in times when we experience anxiety? But also day-to-day things like setting boundaries, creating rituals for yourself, these are the types of workshops included in The Compass.

Resonance is a music and mindfulness practice that I offer once per month with my music partner, Tauwoo. It is an immersive experience that supports and prepares the body for deep sleep and deep rest while also inviting us to connect with ourselves on a more emotional level. I welcome you to the next one.

It is always a pleasure to be part of community, so I hope to see you soon.

Nkechi kindly provided a playlist, blending her world with her experience with MINERAL. Listen here.

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