By Billy Sadia
Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on May 05, 2014
Our 72 yoga teachers in training collect at the Shine Centre for the famous Saturday morning community yoga class. Senior Baptiste Instructors Kiersten Mooney and Tami Schneider lead the class into a vigorous Power Vinyasa Flow. Setting the pace for the week, Kiersten elaborates on the similarities between us as humans, unifying the class through their bodies and hearts.
As more outreach projects are reached, the group travels to Naivasha for yoga study, practice and discussion.
As one of the most ethnically diverse teach trainings in the world right now, there are a lot of topics to be covered. Funny enough, the simplicity of the group is broken down immediately into large belly laughs, hugs and sharing of personal experiences. Yoga does not discriminate between race, religion, tribe or language, it only differentiates between bodies, and this training has many to be strengthened and stretched!
The group extends their hearts, bodies and minds into outreach classes, travelling in small groups to various parts of the city to see the over 3,000 yogis benefiting from AYP’s initiatives. Many of the classes are for children, a safe place for them to play and connect. Some of the AYP teachers in training are reaching beyond their comfort zone and expanding their minds with new experiences as they travel for their first time into the various slums of Nairobi.
Escaping the city to Naivasha, the training becomes much more focussed in asana and yoga philosophy. Personal journalling is encouraged, sharing with the group is very important and attendance is mandatory. The yogis break down the 8 limbs of yoga and the Baptiste Journey into Power sequence with a variety of supported teachings. Throughout the day the group has free time which includes break-work and more personal study. Morning walk meditations and afternoon swims relax the yogis from the intense training. Some of the intensity of the training comes from the daily yoga practice, the rest comes from the deep topics reached in evening group discussions.
Elaborating on the deepest fears of the past, the group alleviates long-held belief systems that no longer serve their present moment. Through stories of abuse and wrong-doing, they explore ways to peacefully release their troubles, identifying outcomes that push them into a space of leadership and empowerment.
“If you’re fighting with your brothers, holding resentment towards your sisters, and hating your neighbour in your mind then you will not see peace in this world.” Kiersten Mooney teaches.
The yoga glow in the group is contagious as the teachers in training sleep heavy, eat well, and explore their new leadership as the week progresses. Tears and laughs abound on a daily basis as they sweat and memorize, breathe and exercise their minds, bodies and souls meeting at the halfway point of the 200 hour experience.