We’re excited to share some incredible insights from one of Africa Yoga Project’s newest additions to the mentorship team: Kelly Skinner!
Kelly lives in Shelbourne Falls, MA and has been partnered with Samson Mahalia over in Nairobi, Kenya. Kelly’s curiosity about Africa Yoga Project stemmed from first learning about it back in 2013 at her Baptiste Level One training. But it wasn’t until listening to AYP’s founder, Paige Elenson, speak about the mentorship program at her Baptiste Level Two training that Kelly knew she had to get involved with our organization and she saw the mentorship program as an amazing opportunity to have a huge impact from halfway around the world..
“It was the way Paige spoke from her heart, showed us raw emotion and expressed how she and Kenya truly needed our help, and that our involvement could make a huge impact in the lives of the yoga teachers in Kenya. She pulled at my heart strings and I left a longing to step up and share in the development of another’s life. It was right then and there that I made a commitment to myself to sign up.
Becoming a mentor has taught me the power of truly being of service to someone else, the power of active listening, and the power of being worlds apart while still creating connection. I am committed to Samson’s growth, and to helping him reach his goals; and I am learning that it is all about the journey and not just the end goal. I am learning that while I am helping Samson discover his path, he is also helping me discover mine. We share very similar goals, which makes us completely relatable and a perfect match for one another!
Becoming a mentor has given Samson an additional support system in his life; he is an amazing man, father, husband and teacher - and by having another teacher stand by him as he makes career and personal decisions, he is able to find a sense of comfort in knowing that he is not alone on his path of spreading yoga.
During our monthly calls, we discuss more personal things like what is going on in our lives, our day-to-day routines, how classes are going, what we love about teaching. And we also talk about where we come from and where we want to go, short and long-term goals, and together we are continuing to create a framework for him to achieve these goals. We determine tangible action steps that help keep him focused and moving forward towards his dreams.
My advice for someone considering becoming a mentor is simple: GO. FOR. IT. Just sign up. Being a mentor for Africa Yoga Project is one of the most gratifying and beautiful experiences I have been a part of. The monthly donation may seem daunting at first, but when you take a step back and consider the meaning and power behind your contribution, it really is quite doable. And let me tell you, you absolutely have what it takes to be a mentor. You have the skills, but more than anything, you have the heart, the drive, the passion, the energy and the excitement that is exactly what your future mentee needs.
You are ready now. Be brave by making an impact in someone else’s life. Be whole by sharing your whole self and releasing any self doubt that holds you back from sharing your greatness. Be you by showing up authentically with all of your flaws and get to the core of what matters. Being brave, being whole, being you is how you become innately flawless and that is how you make an impact and implement change in your own life and in the world.
The links between yoga values and values in African society are many, and with two such beautiful worlds coming together… What’s not to like? It is a perfect match made… in the mind and on the mat.
Yoga lovers in Nairobi are inevitably familiar Africa Yoga Project because the AYP headquarters are in the Kenyan capital. But the teachers and AYP community spend a lot of time on the road so you can bump into them greeting the sun when you least expect it.
Read the whole article on Meanwhile In Kenya.
"Leading up to the start of the class, a guitarist was strumming soft melodies as people began to fill the room. Just as class started, the room reached capacity and the instructor, director and co-founder of the AYP." An amazing article about the AYP Shine Center on the Collegian website. Thanks to Elliot Faust for the great insight. Read the rest of the article here
At the Shine Center we had a wonderful team of reporters/camera crew/ and more come to highlight AYP and yoga in Nairobi. You can catch the video at this link! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjH_YROa1Pw&feature=youtu.be
There is a shift in the Kenyan fitness scene with more and more Kenyans becoming aware of the benefits of exercise and taking up one sport or another to achieve health and fitness. Art-titude, a show on KBC a local channel sort to highlight Power Yoga as a practice which is swiftly taking root as one of the to go to exercise for many Kenyans regardless of age, sex or background.
The crew captured yoga as demonstrated by our teachers!
Interviewees: Catherine Njeri and Walter Mugwe
Job Advertisement: Accountant
The Africa Yoga Project (AYP) is a not-for-profit and community based organization that educates, empowers, elevates, and employs youth from Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Our vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining, and act as leaders in their communities.
AYP participants receive a wide range of benefits from the practice of yoga, including personal empowerment, emotional healing, and increased physical health and vitality. Yoga also introduced an unprecedented forum for community support through open dialogue and the opportunity to envision and create new possibilities for the future. Our core values are:
- Being for each other
- Speaking straight
- Honoring commitment
- Generous listening and
- Acknowledgement and appreciation
AYP is now looking for dynamic new team members to support the continued growth and success of the organization
The Accountant will:
- Work closely with the Finance Manager to ensure smooth operation of all financial matters.
- Match invoices to statements and purchase orders to invoices.
- Input accounting data into the accounting system with speed and accuracy.
- Assist in the production of financial statements and applications, preparation of spreadsheets, reports, and correspondence.
- Plan, organize, and manage workload to ensure contributions to the AYP’s monthly financial reporting process in a timely and accurate manner.
- Ensure swift payment of invoices.
- Maintain accounting records and files.
- Resolve finance related queries, with the guidance of the Finance Manager.
- Assist the Finance Manager with everyday tasks such as billing, forwarding mail, or filing invoices, and other related tasks.
- He or she will create budgets and business plans.
- Any other duties that may be deemed appropriate to this role.
Qualifications and Experience
The ideal candidate should:
- Be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
- Hold a Bachelors Degree in Financial Accounting.
- Have a minimum of two years experience, preferably in a related field.
- Demonstrate computer proficiency: MS Office Applications (Word, Excel, and Power Point & Outlook) and accounting software (QuickBooks).
- Demonstrate high level of integrity, strong communication, problem solving, and leadership skills.
- Be very precise and detail oriented.
- Be able to conduct research and utilize strong analytical skills.
- Possess good time management and relationship skills, especially those embodied in our core values.
- Be able to work amicably and professionally with the youth who constitute to 98% of the organization.
How to Apply:
- Submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae (resume), to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight Friday November 21st
- The cover letter should address candidate qualifications for each bullet from the “Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities” section of this description.
- The cover letter should also explain how a candidate meets each of the “Required Qualifications.”
Africa Yoga Project came to be after its founder, Paige Elenson, took a family trip to Kenya in 2007. While on safari, Paige – a native New Yorker – came across a group of acrobats doing handstands. Without hesitating, she jumped out of the car and joined them.
“I showed them some yoga poses, and they loved it. They wanted more and continued to reach out to me once I went back to New York.”
Read the rest of the story here
A group of lab rats in a closed halfway filled water jar were placed in pitch black darkness. Seven hours later they all died. The experiment was repeated with same number of rats, same environment and conditions except for a dim light at the farthest corner of the room. The second lot of rats swum for thirty six hours none stop.
“Leaders are born or leaders are made.” Sound familiar? According to a spiritual and a Kundalini yoga teacher Hari Nam who I had the pleasure to attend his workshop at the AYP on Thursday, everybody is a leader, born or made that is your story.
He put leaders as the light in the dark by the great ocean. The light house as he put it; you, I and everyone else are the light house in many different ways. As a yoga teacher, I am the light house, the role model of my community. Standing out and not blending in; the essence is to develop myself to a level where I do not react to anything just like the light house will stand in the face of the storms and the hurricanes at the ocean and so should I in my life. It is my responsibility as a leader to commit to being the light house, solid, centered, grounded for all the others around me to give hope like the dim light from the experiment. Hope kept the rats alive; I am hope to my community! Who are you being? Join any of the Seva Safaris with the AYP and be the light, the hope and the leader to someone!!
Acro-yoga brings together the wisdom of yoga the power of acrobatics and the loving kindness of Thai massage. The three create base of a practice that builds on trust, connection and fun. Having come from a Greek root akros =high and the sankrit word yoga= union. Many amazing physical shapes can be formed and emotional and spiritual transformation can occur. The objective of acro-yoga is to bring individuals in a state of oneness with themselves, with each other, and with the supreme. From this place of mutual support the true self can be realized, celebrated and shared for the benefit of trust, connection, playfulness, community, teamwork, communication, mutual support, truthfulness, compassion and loving kindness. Genuine partnership empowers us to stay true to our own selves, while at the same time acknowledge that we are more powerful together than when alone. Acro-yoga is about the balance of the mind, body and also has a direct application in the things we do and how we live our lives.
If something is not working, the best option is to look for alternate ways to accomplish the same task. The solution lies in the diligent search of what works as opposed to what is the normal and ordinary way of doing it. Acro-yoga is about being conscious of your vital points of anchor or support. Your foundation or the base needs to support you and this should keep you on constant self inquiry as to whether your alignment is correct and supporting you the way it should. Same applies in real life, what are my anchor points; am I associating with the right company for example; people who are supportive towards the achievement of my goals? or are they wet blankets? How inspirational are they? If not, then am I willing to make the necessary adjustment to the eventual promotion of what brings my objectives to pass? Or am I rigid to change, too stubborn to accept the change? Well resistance to change is life-long and I for one don’t want to fall victim. As clear as is in acro-yoga; without adjustments, change is not a possibility. Change in some cases it is an indication of growth, hence it follows that without change there can be no growth and without it there is no life.
May the fire of honest relationship to ourselves, each other and the divine, burn all that is not needed so that we may live in greater harmony and peace (Jason & Jenny).
"From the first email asking if I would be interested in mentoring an AYP teacher, I thought 'who am I to mentor anyone?' My excitement to support and encourage a new teacher in Kenya outweighed my doubts about anything I thought I lacked. In agreeing to mentor, I was placed with Ann...a Kenyan rockstar who is teaching classes every day to children and also to women in prison. She is young, expecting a baby and deals with real life situations...many I relate to and many that I have never been a part of.
Despite our different surroundings, we connected in a big way immediately. We talked about relationships, fears, joys, siblings, motherhood, children, AYP, yoga and teaching. I saw Ann ALIVE...she is alive with joy for life and is inspired to encourage others through empowered teaching. Through the past months, we've crammed conversations and questions into an hour of face time and followed up with emails. I see her as my friend...but I also see who I get to be for her as an opportunity to support and encourage her...it's an opportunity to give her tools that will grow her into a powerful woman to empower others. Mentoring has created a friendship, however, it is more powerful than that; I get to listen, support, encourage and advise, and it is all to break her through to greatness. Her opportunity to make a profound difference in her community is, in fact, empowering me to empower her more!
The mentorship program is not only for Ann. It is an experience that affects me daily. She sends me a big kiss through Skype before disconnecting and I have a hard time holding back tears. The fact that growth is happening in her and in me because of simple communication at a heart level is effecting my community as well as her community. The work that the AYP organization is doing, and the small part the AYP Mentor Program allowed me to be a part of, is a continuing example of what we were all created to do...work as hard as we can to give all that we can. Thank you Africa Yoga Project."
FOUR YEARS LATER!
Below is a moment in my life I will never forget! My mentee of four years ANN becoming a Baptiste Certified Teacher at the #powerflowimmersion#yogajournal #africayogaproject Get ready Kenya! This powerhouse is coming home soon to light you up even more! #baptisteyoga
Mary Lyn Jenkins
This is why our ambassadors Jeff and Michelle Johnson Love the Africa Yoga Project. Heart Moving!