By Billy Sadia
Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on April 28, 2015
April Khutsafalo (Botswana) - 2015 Teacher Training Scholar: Her AYP Teacher Training journey and how it is changing her life.
When I applied for the Africa Yoga Project scholarship, I felt that my life would change forever but just how much, I had no idea.
I walked into Kenya and into the training unprepared, I was prepared for Yoga teacher training but I was completely unprepared for the form the training would take. I just thought that we were going to be given a manual, sit on a chair and attend class a couple of times and do a bit of Yoga.
I arrived at the airport on the second of April, jet lagged and very tired, thinking that I would rest a bit and start training on the 3rd but boy was I wrong. I started training on the second and I didn’t stop until graduation.
The Live Your Yoga teacher training is the craziest thing that I have ever done in my entire life, I remember thinking to myself “surely this guys just hate me.” My body has never been put to its limit in such a way, my mind was exhausted and my emotions were all over the place. I felt so frustrated sometimes with the process and with myself, I secretly wanted to quit in times when I did not get it but I stuck with it because something told me that beyond this there will be something of worth waiting to happen, just what that thing was, I just was not sure.
The first twelve days of my time in Kenya were a rollercoaster, I never knew from one minute to the other exactly how I was feeling, I couldn’t analyze the process and try to hatch an escape plan because I did not even know (even with the schedule) what was going to happen next and for the first time I had to completely let go and trust in the process and trust in my teachers because I had no other choice. Besides I was just too tired and there was so much to do that I just did not have time to feel sorry for myself.
My family and my friends were so far away so I had nobody to complain to, all that I thought I knew all that was familiar was quickly changing and shifting. My excuses in life stopped making sense, the stories I had told and trapped myself in were being exposed and I felt so naked, so raw and so sensitive and open and I had the painful awareness that I was walking around naked and mask-less. I think that is the place they call the edge, where you are too tired to justify yourself, to reinforce mental stories where there are just two options, whether to flee or to give yourself completely to the process. I chose to stay.
After the ups and downs and the mental, physical and emotional roller-coaster I did emerge on the other side feeling strong and supported. All of a sudden so many things started to make sense to me, I did not just go to Kenya to learn how to teach yoga, it was so much more; it was as they say in the training “showing up for something bigger than yourself” and this was big. I re-learnt the spirit of Ubuntu here, where we sweat as a team, practiced as a team, won as a team, failed as a team and lived as a team to a point where no seriously we sort of had the same smell. Showing up for myself and for others in this way was completely new to me, it gave new meaning to the idea that we are all interconnected and really the one is the many and vice versa.
The one thing that stood out for me were the service projects, I used to feel so poor so helpless and I always thought that poor people had no obligation to help others, that it was the rich people’s responsibility to help. I was humbled by my Kenyan hosts, they live in the slums, they live and eat so modestly but I never got the feeling that they were poor. This is because they gave so much of themselves, their talents, their homes, all that they have they are always willing to share and these are young people who have more than enough problems of their own. And I just thought of how much I could give back to my own community if only I gave up the limiting believes that I was so small, insignificant and week to effect any change.
The one thing I will always treasure from my time in Kenya is the sense of community that I felt there, where people have not only taken responsibility for their lives but for all lives and for all that happens around them. I got to build chairs for a school, to practice yoga and games with the children at Ngoza Njia, danced at the Kariobangi community hall and I had never felt so free to be myself and to engage with people without soliciting or trying to earn their love in some way. Margaret hosted me at Kariobangi and I felt so instantly welcome and so at home and she being so young taught me so much about life, lessons that I will treasure forever.
I have built long term friendships, met people who are kindred spirits, met myself and pushed myself to be more than I thought I could ever be, yoga is not just about headstands or how deep you can go into meditation. Yoga is everyday life and connection and I am grateful for this lesson because my everyday life will be so much richer because of this. I have learnt to love myself and my community in ways that I never thought were possible.
I went to Kenya to learn how to teach Yoga, but what I have learnt was how to be part of something so much bigger than myself and Africa Yoga project is, the outreach projects that I am organizing are so much bigger than I am and I am happy to “come from I am ready now,” to trust the process and to go right in because in Africa Yoga Project I feel so supported. I feel so grateful for this training because it has given me so much more than just a certificate.