Saturday, September 7, 2013

AYP Research Mission Entry Eight: (July 24, 2013) Gifts from Each of Us! Blog Update 7/24/13 Africa Yoga Project Research Mission


Entry Eight: (July 24, 2013)

 Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
 “May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom for all.”
 This was the opening theme for our Jivamukti yoga class this AM taught by Susan Fain (see end of the blog for more information and a link). After her first real good night of sleep she was ready to teach. She taught us the Sanskrit words above and led us through a sweet class that ended in a deep savasana. The theme of the class resonated with the blog I had already started shaping in my mind. That is, the thoughts, words and actions in our own lives contribute each day to the happiness and freedom of all. Specifically, I was thinking about each member of the research team and the gifts (thoughts, words, and actions) that they bring to our research mission each day.
 Susan- brings her passionate and potent language to each class and each conversation- balanced with moments of lightness, fun and joy. She is intuitive and uses this intuition to help and sometimes heal others. She cares very deeply for those around her and does thoughtful things, like knowing that Nan would love a map of Kenya and that Carla was using too much Thieves. She has solved enough problems to be called our hero- a suitable name (she has saved the day more than once). These are some of her gifts.
 Nan- is as fun as she is smart and more loving than either of those combined. She validates all of those around her, sometimes very purposely and sometimes it is because that is who she is. She has taken time this trip to make each of us a necklace out of beads and charms of our choosing. She bought each member of the research team a team t-shirt. She is on fire about AYP and wants to help make it even more effective and beautiful than it already is. These are some of her gifts.
 Carla- is where ever she is completely. She is courageous and adventurous and shows a hunger for knowledge and connection that I can only imagine has been there since she was a little girl. She sees others and I think she can feel what others feel. She is passionate about this research and so very excited about her future studies. She finds beauty everywhere and in everyone. These are some of her gifts.
 Jessalyn- is a reflective and thoughtful person. She is careful and commits when she knows she can give her whole heart and once that is offered, she means it. She is bright and sensitive. A self-described old soul, others know she can be trusteed, even little ones meeting her for the first time. In her normalness, she is unique and the good kind of bird watching quirky. These are some of her gifts.
 Brooke- is bright, a keen observer, and supporter. Early in her life plan, she is open minded and openhearted. She sees you and listens to you. Somehow one knows that if that if they need to have a sense of eye contact assuring that things are okay, you can look to Brooke for the “It’s good” look or “Yeah, I thought that was funny too” look. In this way, she is one of those people that is the glue for it all. She quietly adds her part with no apparent need for acknowledgement with reliability and steadfastness. These are some of her gifts.
 Steve- is an adventurous supporter and lover of life. He buys flowers for the team members’ rooms to welcome us, acts as DJ at AYP house dinners, connects with children who cannot see to find out how yoga has affected them, buys pens when we run out, and shows up to lunch with extra flat bread and hummus for everyone. He doesn’t mention that he has done any of these things. He just does them. He shows up, ready, and motivated to help and make change. He contributes each and every day and sees the magic in the experience.  These are some of his gifts.
 Jerry- is steady, thoughtful, and flexible. He watches over and carries our supplies and data. He is openhearted to all of our Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 ways in non-judgment and love. He is patient beyond words and as my husband has been here for me as I work to do something that I know is extremely meaningful and important. I love him with all my heart and each day we are here, without knowing how it could be stronger, it is. He even adopted (at home before we left) a baby elephant, Aruba, as a surprise for me today for my birthday (not until August). These are some of his gifts.
 Irene- is strong, thoughtful, and purposeful. She loves to dance and laugh as much as she loves to make things happen. Her voice is authentic from the core and when she teaches yoga you try harder because you can. She is able to manage the demands of the office and the needs of our research team. She loves yoga, the yoga teachers, and all of the yoga students with whom she works. When she says “downward facing dog” she might as well be saying “I love you.” It is like that. These are some of her gifts.
 Wanji- is a bright, light, and powerful soul. She can bargain at the market and bring joy to a yoga class. Her smile lights up a room and if music is playing her body is moving. She is strong minded and direct. She uses her words clearly and with passion. She is a good researcher, bringing Swahili to the research process communicating the method clearly and effectively. Her heart is as soft and open as her sprit is fierce. These are some of her gifts.
 Joyce- is a loving and caring person. She sees the pain and the joy in others. She is thoughtful and careful. She has such strong hope, perhaps it is faith. You can feel it in her and see it in her eyes when you are near her. She believes deeply in what she is doing with the Africa Yoga Project. She loves the children especially and her love for them brings out their joy. She is able to rally the children to work and inspire them to participate fully. These are some of her gifts.
 Louis- is a quiet observer and bright emerging leader. She is clear about her current goals and has her eyes on a big future. She brings a sense of heading somewhere good with strength and intention; yet, at the same time she is soft and empathic. She sees the big picture and asserts her self when she can make the bigger agenda happen. Otherwise, she waits and helps. Her effort is effective in this way. She is a hard worker and dedicated to the bigger mission. Theses are some of her gifts.
 Musa- is a seeker of truth and knowledge. You might even say he is a student of life. He loves yoga and is committed to the Africa Yoga Project. He is kind and caring. He is reliable and works hard to make whatever needs to happen, happen. Musa is full of gratitude for all that he is experiencing and for all of the people in his life. He is caretaker who worries if everyone is okay and does what he can to make it so. These are some of his gifts.
 Jamo- is an artist who is able to see the art in everything. His eyes see the perspectives and voices in the visual. His body feels the rhythm of the music and the meaning of discourse. He is bright, thoughtful, and contributes important insights as we work. He is steadfast as she shows up for our work. His is generous with his time and his efforts. He sees the future of Kenya and works to make it brighter. These are some of his gifts.
 Today was a day off of research. We went to the baby elephant orphanage and the Giraffe wildlife preserve and then the AYP House for dinner. Jerry, Nan and I were able to get back to the artist coop before dinner. We bought a beautiful and spiritual painting by an extremely talented artist- Paul Onditi. Watch Facebook for photos!
 I am grateful to Paige and Billy for having our whole research team over for dinner and want to acknowledge Penzis’ sweetness. I am grateful to Joyce for letting us all share Brittany’s birthday with her. She is beautiful and smart and a bright light (and now she is 5!!!). I am grateful to all of those at home what are taking care of everything so that we would be here. And I love Chloe and Maya Cottone.
 Namaste!
 Catherine
Basic Class
Each Jivamukti Basic class is part of a four-week fundamentals course that explores a different theme each week:
            week one: standing asanas
            week two: forward bending asanas
            week three: backward bending asanas
            week four: inversions, meditation and “putting it all together.”

Whereas in the Beginner Vinyasa and Open class vinyasa is emphasized, in the Basic class alignment is the emphasis. Students are taught “how to do” asanas as well as the use of props. The Basic Class provides the underlying structure to help a student be able to eventually enter into an Open class intelligently and safely. Beginners are encouraged to take all four weeks of the Basic course. Intermediate and advanced students will also benefit from exploring the alignment essentials presented in these classes. It is advisable that a student register for the full 4 week program starting with week one, but a student can also drop into any class at any time during the month and can also take as many classes as they want each week. This class is suitable for beginners, but open to all levels of practitioner. The length of a Basic class may differ at different centers, so please check the schedule for the center you are attending.
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