Recollections from my childhood growing up in Jamaica conjure up a collage of joyous images on how I entertained myself.
Dance class on Saturday mornings was perhaps my favorite. We’d even assembled a modern dance troupe at the all girls’ high school I attended, and I can still vividly recall the Flash dance, Soul Train quasi rendition that we did to GAP Band’s hit Burn Rubber, including my Dad’s flash sports car being driven on stage with us dancers adorned all over it, from rooftop to bumper!
Then there was badminton; for a brief spell, I represented Jamaica in regional games. Competitive swimming featured briefly at some point though I must confess that perhaps my attraction there was to drool at the male species training for water polo at the National Stadium’s pool.blog | Comment (1)
All aspiring yogis and yoginis agree on at least one thing: the definition of yoga. A Sanskrit word originating from the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures, yoga means union, of mind, body and spirit. To yoke, yoga transcends all boundaries, revealing the connectedness of Life, from the extraordinary to the seemingly mundane.
Assuming that we ascribe to this meaning, I am perplexed whenever I come across courses and workshops – mainly in the West – that highlight human differentiations on the basis of [skin] color, for example.
I hail from a country whose motto states, ‘Out of Many One People.’ While the vast majority of Jamaica’s population is of African descent, there also exists Jamaicans of Arabian, Chinese, European and Indian extraction. Their inclusion is an intrinsic part of the Jamaican story.blog | Comment (0)
Universal Empress, Nadine McNeil, talks about the journey of yoga and the struggles that often arise in one’s practice. She further delves into how yoga can impact society, and specifically her brithplace, Jamaica. She introduces the Caribbean Yoga Conference as her next major gig booked for 2012, which will be a trailblazing event held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.blog | Comment (1)
As a global humanitarian and lifelong United Nations employee, my personal practice has transformed the way in which I go out into the field and engage in my work. For example, during my 6 month stint as Director of Global Volunteer Network’s Haiti Initiative, one whose main function was to align volunteers with established NGOs in Haiti, the involvement of yoga to serve the volunteers as well as the affected communities was vital. As aid workers, when we enter volatile communities and are unaware of our own traumas, we are likely to get triggered which ultimately has an adverse effect on our ability to effectively deliver our programmes.
Through yoga, we are reminded of who we are and why we do what we do. Further, for traumatised communities, yoga serves as a healing tool — teaching the affected how to move through their traumas and fears, and ultimately releasing them. Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that the old models for engaging peace are not working, thus threatening the very core of democracy. Yoga is non-partisan and entirely democratic — engagement only requires an able body, mind and spirit. As human beings, we all breathe. Breath is the universal thread that binds us all. Breath transcends all boundaries — religious, political, social and economic.
Here in the Central African Republic, I am slowly introducing yoga to my colleagues, many of whom are burnt out and depressed as a result of our harsh living conditions. I wonder, if we who are intended to serve are off-balance, how can we expect to have a positive impact on the very communities in which we are working? In sum, yoga aligns us with our Sat Nam, our true selves, thus enabling us to be of service to others which in the beginning as well as the end, is our ultimate activism.blog | Comment (0)