We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Baksh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
I have 2 quotes by which I live my life.
The first quote ” No Mud, No Lotus,” is based on the book No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering written by the late Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh.
When we are able to acknowledge, embrace, and fully sit with our pain & our traumas, and let the shadows of our subconscious energy arise, then we are able to transform the “mud” or suffering we have experienced without guilt, shame, and blame. This is exponentially challenging and requires a great deal of self-nurturing and self-compassion. When* we are able to practice life at this level of love and acceptance within ourselves, we can let love and acceptance effortlessly flow unto others. Thus, without the mud – without our challenges, without our pain- we cannot transform. A lotus flower blooms in the darkness and rises from the mud, unscathed without residue. So too can we rise and transform from the mud of our pain.
The second quote is by 13th century Sufi poet, Rumi, “The wound is where the light enters.” This goes hand in hand with the quote above. Once we become aware, that our pain is our gateway to transformation, our perception of wounds drastically changes. Knowing that the wound is the very place where healing will occur, brings a soothing knowing, that it is only temporary. Thus, we can shift our perspectives in life from one of victimhood to a knowing redemption of victory at the end of the tunnel.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from others is my ability to successfully unite Arts with Yoga. I have dedicated my life into grooming my intuition and letting the intuitive guidance within me navigate my choices. Because of my deep spiritual practices, I have been able to listen to my intuition to create a brand, which is deeply personal and connected on the soul level.
My brand, 𝗡𝗶𝗸𝗸𝗶 𝗕𝗮𝗸𝘀𝗵: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁®, has been referenced as “cracking the code.” Due to my lifelong journey as an artist, I have been able to gracefully weave dance, music, rhythm, and beauty into the practice of yoga. Viewing life through the lens of ARTISTRY is an invitation to consciously thread the practice of YOGA through the subtle field of energy, which is our driving force, commonly referred to as prana in yoga science – the essence of who we are, not what we do.
This approach to practicing yoga is more intuitive, creative, and evokes the feminine embodiment of the practice. In the West, we tend to focus more on the outward action of “doing” a practice versus “being” in the practice. When we cultivate the essence of “being” we no longer search outside of ourselves, but instead attract and draw more of what we want towards us. My approach to life and my brand is non-linear, because life is non-linear. My approach to life unlocks the intuitive MOVEMENT of nature’s creative energetic field within each individual. I love being able to help others transform from what they “think they need to do” into what they are passionately called to *experience.* This signature methodology is the merging of decades of yoga science, spiritual study in Tantra and Kriya techniques, and a deep commitment to my craft as an artist, dancer, and choreographer.
Getting to where I am now, has not been an easy task, and there are still many challenges along the way. I live my life as intuitively as I possibly can, and I am learning to continually step back to invite greater ease and fluidity: Flow versus Force. Because so much of life in the West is based on outward validation, accomplishments, and accolades, much of my life was spent taking action. In fact, I was a competitive performer, who still holds an undefeated 2x National Championship title in Dramatic Arts, competing against Disney’s Olaf from Frozen, Josh Gad. I was also the youngest black belt in the Caribbean and became one of the youngest senseis in the Japanese martial art of Shotokan Karate. I’ve taught elite Parisienne dancers from Moulin Rouge to Crazy Horse, performed with artists like Snoop Dogg and Gwen Stefani, and have produced and taught dance and yoga all over the world. Nothing has been more wholesome, than stepping within to connect and align with the greater intelligence governing all forces. This belief system is not praised or accepted in traditional Western society, and this has been one of the major challenges building my brand.
One of my many gifts rests in teaching others how to transform and unlearn* the dogmatic linear approach of life we have been conditioned to learn into a life of knowing, following inner guidance, and really listening through the art of stillness and the art of movement. In fact, I had the honor and privilege to share my teachings and methodology, as the official Yoga Advisor for the series “We Crashed” on APPLE TV+. As Anne Hathaway’s private teacher, we were able to use movement, dance, meditation, and the totality of yoga science, as she prepared for and filmed the series. Being able to share how necessary the deconstruction of the linear mindset is in order to balance and connect yoga and art, has been a blessing for me in this world. This path is an ancient way of living, a long forgotten embodiment of yoking our individual essence with the essence of nature’s creative ingenuity. Nature does not force. Nature flows and is patient with what unfolds. There are no set of rules in nature; in fact, nature is in a constant state of rebuilding and restructuring.
What I feel is most important for others to learn is that ALL of the parts are necessary. Each person requires a unique recipe for balance. No one way is the right way. Letting your inner compass guide you towards who and what feels energetically aligned is the basis of developing an intuitive awareness. If someone’s voice isn’t soothing or calming for you, despite their reviews as a meditation teacher or spiritual guide, trust your inner wisdom. When you understand that some days require silence, other days a movement class, perhaps a sound bath, or even a dharma session to make sense of what you are moving through, then you will begin to merge and understand how all of the tools serve a necessary purpose for your alignment. This is precisely why I have dedicated my life to harnessing both my artistic tools and my spiritual arsenal, so that I can best serve others with what is needed in the present moment.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
New York City certainly has something for everyone. While the city can be overwhelming with crowds and tourists in the typical sight-seeing areas of Times Square and Central Park, I would head to the High-line for a relaxed stroll if you’d like to take in the views of the city, but still rise above walking on the sidewalk. This path can lead you to the famed Chelsea Market, where you can sample a myriad of treats, decadent and delicious meals, drinks, desserts, and more.
Since I love museums, I would head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art when it opens to avoid the crowds and have the museum as quiet as possible. There is a sacredness of taking in art when no one is around, racing to see the most famed piece. Every single piece of work deserves to be experienced, and the best way to taste this feeling is getting there before the crowds.
For an upbeat chic scene, head over to Williamsburg and have lunch at the William Vale hotel, which has a panoramic view of the skyline. The William Vale also has vegan options, so it is pleasing to all who want a view of New York City with their meal. Williamsburg has tons of trendy boutiques and pockets where you can do some shopping, if that is what interests you. You can also head East to Bushwick, where many of the artists of New York will allow you into their studios to view works in progress.
Taking in the sculptures at Socrates Park and heading for a walk along the river in Astoria is a low-key way to enjoy art, nature, and getting a sense of the city without the stress of having to be in what can be chaotic situations.
There is always the option to take in a show at one of the famed theatres in Times Square, although I would much prefer to head to the upper west side for an evening at the Metropolitan Opera House. A night cap at one of the many sidewalk cafes is a great way to end the evening and experience a different perspective of NYC.
As you can see, I would give you the creative lens of New York City. I would even be inclined to share a few hotspots where artists frequent, but that remains a sacred excursion against the rise of commerciality.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents, Haroon and Gloria Baksh, deserve a round of applause and a standing ovation. These two incredible human beings had the courage to leave our homeland, our family, everything that they knew, and move to New York City at the height of the recession. This is no easy feat. My parents have consistently gone against the norm to give their children opportunities, which we did not have on the island of Trinidad in the West Indies. They have had tremendous courage breaking dogmatic cultural, religious, familial, and spiritual boundaries. They have supported my lifestyle, spiritual practices, and have even embraced many aspects of my journey, which were once difficult due to their upbringing. I am so proud of how far my parents have come on their own personal journeys of growth. As parents, they worked several jobs to give me the best opportunities of life, which included attending dance at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, having private school education at Loyola, and attending private university at Drew University. Together, we have traveled the world embracing many cultures and their continuous support of my life’s path is a bedrock of my life’s mission.
Other: A true MASTER of Movement and a creative force of her own, her signature trademark and collection of offerings uniquely and effortlessly threads decades of her knowledge as a devout Tantric Yoga teacher & practitioner with her background as a professional dancer, choreographer, and musician.Nikki is highly sought after as an advisor, healer, master teacher, and creative consultant. Most recently, she became the on and offset Yoga advisor for the series We Crashed, starring Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto, on Apple TV+. Her incredibly heightened senses of Artistry bring a unique element to her approach of practicing Yoga. Nikki’s practice is experiential and incorporates emotional intelligence with musicality, thought provoking dharma talks, modern-day connections and relatability of the Science of Yoga. Her Signature Classes are the embodiment of Yoga + Art. For those who are creatively inclined and creatively curious, these classes takes the journey from linear to cyclically enigmatic. Prepare to move beyond what you see, hear, feel, and embody.