Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on August 09, 2012
The group split into three in order to see more community outreach classes. Below is another account from a different visit, this one to Anita's class at Gracious school near Huruma.
When I was younger, I remember having some great conversations with my friend Joey about 'having'. Our families were financially very different and feelings of guilt were always very present for me. On the surface it was pretty obvious that I had more and he had less, and I was uncomfortable with that. I didn't want to accept that some of us were meant to have more than others, and so I felt bad that my situation was different. I interpreted those differences as opportunities that somehow made my life better, but Joey taught me that a powerful life does not depend on the things you have but on what you do with the things you do have.
Today I learned that lesson once again.
We split up into three groups today to visit outreach programs where AYP teachers are literally changing lives. In our tight minibus, we wound our way through Nairobi's traffic to Gracious School. I can't remember the name of the neighborhood, but it seemed very crowded. Street vendors were everywhere selling everything from pork to sandals to bicycles. Our van pulled up, we spilled out and for an instant I thought, "Where am I?" Then I looked down and ten young children were curiously smiling up at me, and into the experience I jumped. Quickly Issac, the school's principal, led us to where Anita, an AYP rock star, was in the middle of her standard, life-changing, powerful yoga class.
The classroom's dirt floors had yoga mats covering every inch, the walls were made of metal sheets and it was lit only by the light streaming in through the cracks. The room was maybe twelve feet by eight feet, it was hot and the children were moving. They were in full yoga action to the sound of Anita's powerful Kenyan voice, and we quickly got present. Some of us worked our way around the room assisting while others jumped right into the practice. Then something even more magical happened. Evelyn, all nine years of her, popped up off her mat and took all of us by surprise.
There she was at less than four feet tall inhaling and exhaling calling out UTKATASANA...SIT LOWER! If you're eyes were shut, you would have thought she had created the AYP program herself. That's the kind of power she generated, and from it I instantly became present to what is possible for me - Never hold back what I have to contribute because it's not what I have but what I do with what I have that matters. Evelyn, you are creating the change I want to see in this world. Thank you!
When I see others showing up powerfully for those around them - in love, in gratitude, in sharing, in compassion, in service - then I become that which I see, and I pave the way for someone else. Today was another experience that I will celebrate forever. What an adventure this program has been. Much much love.
- Jimbo Graves, Seva Safari participant