Leaders Born Or Made?

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!!

 

 

Cheloti

Acro Yoga Brings Together

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).

 

Cheloti

Written by Billy Sadia — September 24, 2014

An Uplifting Mentor Mentee Relationship!

"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 

 

 

AYP Is Looking For A Marketing Manager

 

 

The Africa Yoga Project (AYP) is a nonprofit, 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 grow as leaders in their communities.

AYP participants receive a wide range of benefits from the practice, 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. AYP is a response to a strong desire for a community based on the principles of possibility, personal responsibility, service, and community action. 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.

 

Marketing Manager

 

The Marketing Manager will:

 

  • Draft a marketing and branding strategy for AYP, in collaboration with the AYP team and leadership, that will include:
    • Marketing and branding objectives,
    • Management of customer relationships,
    • Development of marketing strategies, in collaboration with the AYP teacher teams, for new social enterprises within the AYP family,
    • Consistency of the AYP brand in marketing, communications, and outreach materials, and
    • Staff development/training for media, marketing, and brand outreach.
  • Oversee the creation and delivery of press releases, advertisements, print ads, publications, and other marketing materials.
    • This includes taking a leadership role in content generation across AYP’s media platforms, including social media.
  • Design and implement market research to recommend marketing actions by AYP.
  • Prepare and adhere to budgets for marketing and branding.
  • Deepen relationships across media to ensure the most effective messaging and positioning of the organization.
  • Any other duties that may be deemed appropriate to this role.

 

Qualifications and Experience for the Marketing Manager

 

A strong applicant will have:

 

  • A minimum experience of 5 years in a relevant position.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in marketing or a business related discipline.
  • Experience in developing and implementing marketing and branding plans.
  • Strong planning, presentation, and implementation skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to innovate and solve problems.
  • Energetic relationship-building skills and solid networks with media and advertising agencies.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • A demonstrated a high level of integrity.
  • The ability to work amicably with the youth who constitute to 98% of the organization.
  • A passion for the goals and core values of AYP.

 

How to Apply:

• Submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae (resume), to info@africayogaproject.org and peter@africayogaproject.org by midnight Wednesday September 24th 2014.
• 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.”

AYP Is Looking For An Assistant Financial Manager

 

 

The Africa Yoga Project (AYP) is a nonprofit, 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 grow as leaders in their communities.

AYP participants receive a wide range of benefits from the practice, 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. AYP is a response to a strong desire for a community based on the principles of possibility, personal responsibility, service, and community action. 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.

Assistant Financial Manager

 

The Assistant Financial Manager will:

 

  • Support the Finance and Administration Manager by entering data into financial management systems from source documents.
  • Match invoices to statements and purchase orders to invoices.
    • While ensuring the swift payment of invoices.
  • Assist in the production of financial statements and applications, preparation of spreadsheets, reports and correspondence as required.
  • Plan, organize, and manage their workload to ensure contributions to the AYP’s monthly financial reporting process in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Resolve finance related queries, with the guidance of the Finance and Administration Manager.
  • Assist the Finance and Administration Manager with billing, forwarding mail, or filing invoices, and organizing any other documents.
  • Provide financial management support to the AYP team.
  • Any other duties that may be deemed appropriate to this role.

 

Qualifications and Experience for the Assistant Financial Manager

 

A strong applicant will have:

 

  • At least a Bachelor’s Degree in finance or a business-related field, while a Master’s Degree is preferred.
  • At least a CPA 2/3.
  • Minimum of 3 years experience in a relevant field.
  • Computer Proficiency: MS Office Applications (Word, Excel, Power Point & Outlook) and accounting software (QuickBooks).
  • Proven integrity and strong communication, problem solving, time management, and leadership skills.
  • The ability to be very precise and detail oriented.
  • The ability to conduct research and demonstrate good analytical skills.
  • The ability to work amicably with the youth who constitute to 98% of the organization.
  • A passion for the goals and core values of AYP.

 

How to Apply:

   • Submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae (resume), to info@africayogaproject.org and peter@africayogaproject.org by             midnight Wednesday September 24th 2014.
   • 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.”

 

Written by Jody Edgar — September 03, 2014

Transforming Young Minds, Hearts and Livelihoods

At its start, the program began by training 50 young Africans from the informal settlements of Nairobi to be yoga instructors. Since then, the project has grown exponentially. AYP has certified 200 teachers and they, in turn, teach yoga to over 6,000 people a week. Over 80% of their teachers are employed by the wellness industry, and have moved from below the poverty line to what Kenya considers middle income earners.... Thanks to Fair Observer for sharing this. Read the whole story here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Billy Sadia — August 27, 2014

Finding Freedom In Prison

"Before I came to this group, I did not know anything about the group. I did not know anything about yoga. I had stigma, I coulf not say anything, I couldn't stand before people, but when yoga came, I can talk, I can be happy, I can tell anybody what I want. Because I am free." - Nji

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africa Yoga Project On Mt Kilimanjaro

This morning we Africa Yoga Project, people,  Mount Kilimanjaro, guides, love, work family, etc all in one video! Get inspired!

Video by Shelley Lowther.

Our Favourite Moments.

 To All who lives have touched us and supported us by friendship, caring, loving , travelling or donating to us we wanted to share some of our trip with you.  Please read about our adventure.
We have all 7 recently made it home, safe and sound, from our Seva Safari in Kenya. I wanted to take the time to thank each and everyone who made this trip possible. Thanks to all of you, we raised an astounding $25,000 for Africa Yoga Project and Flying Kites Orphanage. We saw first hand where all the money was going and who it would be helping, and I feel so grateful to everyone who donated to this amazing cause.
 
When we first arrived at the school, we were greeted with the warmest welcome I have ever received. The kids all sang us a beautiful song, with the most amazing smiles on their faces. I was so moved seeing all their eager faces sending us so much unconditional love before they even met us. Afterwards, everyone of us had a bunch of kids grab our hands, and they gave us individual tours of the school. They all took such pride in their learning environment, and showed us even the small things with big delight. I admired deeply their appreciation for everything that they had right in front of them.
My favourite part of the trip was that we were able to live at the orphanage along side 27 amazing kids. They were all so talented and unique, and it was incredible being able to spend 6 days with them. We were showered with smiles, and hugs, and we were right away accepted into their family. They called us all Aunty and Uncle, even the young kids, and were seen as no different from anyone else in their family. They would gladly come to us if they need help, or sit on our laps, or even just have a conversation. The swawili word ‘Umoja’, meaning unity, really embodied the spirit that I found in Kenya. There were always people by your side, willing to share of themselves generously, in order to be a support to you. Paige Elenson, the founder of Africa Yoga Project, said to us on the first day that “It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village of children to raise an adult”. After spending a week with these beautiful children, I truly felt that they have raised me to be a better person. I have learned so much from their beautiful spirits, and I will forever keep them close to my heart.
 
Life at the orphanage was very busy, and it was never a dull moment. The kids got home from school at 4:30, and would all pile out of the small range rover they shared, and would rush out of the uniforms to come play with us. We all had dinner in the same room every day, proceeded by a meeting. The meetings consisted of people sharing how their days were, what they learned, and things that they were grateful for.
I loved these meetings because I found it so amazing that these kids took time everyday to not only reflect on things that happened in their lives, but to also be a part of what happened in the lives of everyone else. After the meetings, the kids all did homework, and we were able to help them. All of them were incredibly smart, and the marks in every grade were always within the top 2 in the whole area. I was blown away at how hard the kids worked, and how much they valued their studies. They not only never complained about homework in the way I am used to hearing, but I often found them studying in their free time as well. It really made me think about how in Canada education is too often taken for granted. In our spare time, we did some really fun things with the kids as well. One day, we did a superhero yoga party, where all the kids got to decorate a cape and be a superhero for the night. We also had an amazing dance party taught by Billy, who used to do Afro-Fusion dance. It was so much fun, and everyone had a blast. 

We were a fairly large group as we had 4 other families with us, as well as 5 Kenyan yoga teachers, but the group dynamic was amazing. Everyone connected really well together, and we worked as an excellent team. As a group (with some help of other volunteers and a few other children), we were able to paint all the classrooms of the school with new colours, as well as a fresh coat on the outside. We even had time to sand and varnish the desks and chairs. Everyone worked really hard, and the school looked amazing when we were done. An other great thing we accomplished was when we helped with chores around the house. The entire orphanage was swept and mopped, and books and clothes were organized, but the matron’s favourite part was that we did a TON of laundry. They spend all day scrubbing clothes by hand, and rarely have enough time to rest. They were so grateful that they were all able to relax and finally talk amongst each other. It felt amazing that we were able to give them that opportunity.


Charlie felt eager to meet all the kids after they sang the song. The first person he met after the song was named Peter, and they quickly became best friends. His favourite memories were all of the games that we played when we did yoga. He was also very happy that they let us stay at their house, felt a lot of love when they sang “we love you” to us. 

Jamie thought that it was amazing how the people live their lives so different from us. She noticed how they eat different and speak a different language. She loved how the kids were talking to us, and teaching us things that we do differently. She thought it was especially fun to play with them because their games were awesome. The best part for her was just being able to laugh with all the kids. 

Emmitt’s favorite part of the trip was going to the orphanage and staying with all of the kids. He had a best friend Zipporah, who he will never forget. She is 5 years old, and would follow him around to play from the moment he arrived. Overall, he really enjoyed playing and connecting with all of the kids, and he hopes to go back one day to see our rafiki’s (friends).


Noah thought that there was many amazing moments to the trip, for example the positive energy from everyone we met. For him, one of the most amazing parts of the trip was when the Africa Yoga Project Family and the Flying Kites School got into a circle and we all sang songs. We would teach them a song like, “Bluebird through my window”, and in return they taught us songs in swahili. One of the songs, “Camarais” included singing and dancing, and Jamie loved it so much that she learnt all the lyrics, and sang all night.


My Mom and Dad had two favourite parts.  The moments and experience we had living with the Kenyan people was amazing.  They loved how the Kenyans were so giving of themselves through their actions. We saw so many waves , heard “how are you? or Jambo!” , and received many many huge smiles.  People young and old came to the road to see us as we walked through the town. They have an abundance of happiness.  The other thing my parents really loved to see was how my siblings and I interacted with the people.  They were proud at how we actively participated in all aspects of the trip.  The painting of the school, the interaction with the kids, the interaction with the other families (adults and kids), the games, the songs, and all the other wonderful experiences we all shared together. Every night we would have our Heisz family meeting waiting for the generator to shut off, and would discuss the many things we did that day.  It was a really good bonding and we grew closer together as a family on the journey.

For all of us, this trip was unforgettable, and so valuable to us as a family. I have so much gratitude for the people who have made this experience a possibility for us, because without your support these amazing memories would not exist. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
 
SAMARA