When it comes to artist T.O.A. (The Only Alexandria), the word "sage" comes to mind — not only for its cleansing properties that she harnesses but for the knowledge and advice she bestows upon others. Her experience in multiple fields has made her into a jack-of-all-trades — part-time singer, songwriter, yoga teacher, and sound healer, she's done it all. If that's not enough, she practices meditation in her free time and, (of course) — eats vegan.

We knew T.O.A. had to be the subject of our next quick Q+A — but what we received was wisdom beyond words. If you're in need of some self-care assistance, take a read of her guiding principles and feel enlightened.

T.O.A.
Photo credit: Scopos Media

On Daily Practice: One of the best things you can give to yourself is a daily practice. If you are really looking to deepen your connection to your self and dive into meditation and mindfulness, a daily practice is key. Just like anything else, to get good at something it takes time, patience, and practice! You don’t go to the gym once and expect magical results. You continuously go and focus on working or strengthening to achieve a goal. Meditation, spirituality, and self-love work the same way. It’s a daily choice, a daily gift, a daily practice. To get better at meditation, to love yourself more deeply, it takes daily practice.

My daily practice looks something like this: 20 to 30 minutes of yoga, three to 11 minutes of a Kundalini meditation, daily reading cards (these are cards with positive messaging. I love them!), smudging with Palo Santo wood or white sage, using my lavender and rose essential oils and journaling/intention setting for my day and week to come.

T.O.A.
Photo credit: Taylor Oakes Productions

On Service: There is no greater work than to be of service. My soul is most free when it is being of service. My current daily mantra is: “How can I be of service in each moment?” Being of service can even mean simply showing up with joy, sharing laughter, helping someone, or being focused. Ask yourself, “How can I be of service today?”

T.O.A.
Photo credit: Ovitacole

On Finding Peace: I find my peace with music and nature. Without music, my world wouldn’t make sense. I feel most at peace when I sing and share my voice with people. Music is always flowing through me. Nature is also my saving grace. The purity and utter presence of nature brings me right back to the moment. When I’m in nature, nothing else exists except what is right in front of me; that feeling is so liberating. What brings you peace?

T.O.A.
Photo credit: Taylor Oakes Productions

On Breathing Exercises: Your breath is your greatest teacher. In a matter of moments, you can shift your mindset and your mood by using nothing else but your breath. Being a master of your breath can change the way you see the world. Taking deep lower belly breaths (long inhalations through the nose) can help regulate your heart rate and take you from reaction to response. Practicing your breath is also a beautiful form of meditation. Anytime I get caught up in my mind or an emotion takes over, I use my breath to bring me back to my center.