Practice, Practice, Practice….

Ashtanga Yoga – I Love it!

There is so much to say about this practice. For some it means to ‘practice, practice, practice and all will come’. I wonder if everyone understands what this ‘all’ means.

1. the whole of (used in referring to quantity, extent, or duration): all the cake; all the way; all year.
2. the whole number of (used in referring to individuals or particulars, taken collectively): all students.
3. the greatest possible (used in referring to quality or degree): with all due respect; with all speed.
4. every: all kinds; all sorts.
5. any; any whatever: beyond all doubt.
6. nothing but; only: The coat is all wool.

‘All’ is pretty much. Why do i have the suspicion that many Yogi friends think that only the ‘good’ will come after practice? I personally don’t like the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and i think ‘All just is’. All really means everything. I believe that if you practice, practice, practice.. many great things will happen in your body, mind and spirit. But also less pleasant effect can occur. I am sure any Ashtangi who reads this, knows what i am talking about. I think we need to be mindful about our practice. On and off the mat. See, feel, experience what happens. Embrace it ‘all’ with Love. All is needed to balance and to grow. We all know that Yoga is non judgmental, remember that. Don’t judge yourself, because there simply is really no reason. If all will come… than trust that. All will come. Don’t rush and enjoy the ride!

Today i start teaching the ‘Wazungu’ (white people) at the Serena Hotel. I am teaching every day except Saturnus day (which is today) but start to teach this day as well. All the other days it’s teaching for Project Air, but on Saturday i will be teaching for Project Anneke. Hotel Serena is a very luxurious hotel with luxurious facilities i am able to use freely by being a teacher here. And you know, Rwanda is very beautiful but pretty hot and dusty this time of the year… so how nice will it be to jump into a swimming pool after teaching?
Also today is the second day..home alone! This mansion here is only inhabited by me right now. Thank Lord Shiva there is a guard! Damescene is his name and he’s a very nice man. Besides his guard duties, he does much more… well, almost ALL actually (and we just learned that all means a lot!) He cleanse, wash clothes, makes every-day-fresh-fruit salads, hangs up mosquito nets, makes up the bed, does the dishes, does groceries and even picks fresh flowers every day to cheer up the rooms. He’s a humble nice man, i wish i could speak Swahili and/or Kenyarwandan a bit more.. would make conversation with him much more easy.
Deirdre left for America. She will come back before i leave. It’s quite without her. Soon, in a few days, a new volunteer is arriving.

I will to get ready to teach now… more to come!
Oh yeah… easily bored (or creative restless in my head) as i can be sometimes, i was putting on my website, a new jacket…
check it out: You like it?

Love, Anneke


Teaching two classes


eight o’clock in the morning Deirdre and i went out to teach the sewing ladies. They were awesome! It’s one of the oldest classes in the program, they practice yoga since 2007. It took a little while before they were ready to start. They said they just finished a big sewing job and they were tired and hungry. But nevertheless, they practiced.
This class are woman who are genocide survivors, genocide-rape-survivors, HIV+patients and more. In this class there are two women who need extra attention. One was hurt badly in the genocide and has problems in her shoulders because of that and one other lady is a woman who has Polio. Also in this class are 2 woman who have flash backs regularly. So it’s for us important to be aware of that. Especially in Sirsasana. It’s a real challenge to teach Ashtanga to all woman in the world. What to do in case of Polio? What exercise would fit a woman who can only move the hips and up? We are creating ways to work with her, create an Ashtanga practice that fits her, custom made. How to motivate hungry and tired woman?
We do want to practice with and teach Ashtanga to each woman who wants to learn. Even the ones who are struggling physically and or mentally. Also the once who are hungry and tired. They can learn how to gain energy by giving a little first. But the great lesson they are teaching is that no matter what circumstance they are in, they try, they do it and the allow themselves to smile even!

Then we went to the second class this day. Again in the church were we teach every Monday to Thursday. Now the group was a group of adolescents. Young people. They all are also HIV+. They are extremely quite and concentrated. They really are doing their best. They want to learn and practice badly. There were two little children Shadia, who seemed to be around 6 years old and Zuena, who seemed around 3 years old. They were playing outside and decided to take a mat as well. They practiced Ashtanga yoga with the rest, quietly and seriously. The did not get any modification or explanation whatsoever, they just followed the rest and just did it without disturbing anyone at anytime. They didn’t speak a word but copied the others. I was highly impressed by these kids.

note: After class i bought a SIM card called Tigo in downtown Kigali. That one can make international text messages. I didn’t try international calling, but i don’t need to, since i am using Skype every night. I bought the card for 500fr what means around 1 US Dollar and then put 5000fr on it which means plus/minus 10 US Dollar. The SIM card i had to buy in a shop but these recharge cards are sold every where on the streets.


First Yoga Class

Today for the first time i went to a yoga class.

We went to one of The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Nynramibo neighborhood. Deirdre was teaching and i made pictures and assisted her.
There were around 20 woman, young and old ones, who just had a counseling session before yoga class. They are all victims of domestic violence. The language we are teaching is Kinyarwandan, so i do have start to practice that now! I learned a few words, and that’s already very helpful. One word like ‘Rambura’ which means ‘straighten’ and then point out what part of the body you want them to make more straight does miracles. Also ‘Ne force pas’, don’t force in French and ‘relaxer’ were very helpful and then point out the spot you mean by touching it.
What i experienced was simply awesome! I got so excited being here in this room. The energy was very good and the woman are so excited and willing to try and practice. They did really well! The woman are strong and sweet. They laugh and smile which is not normal behavior for them. Outside of this room, in their normal lives they don’t laugh like this, they are beaten up hard and their children got raped… Under this layer of smiling, the women are depressed and very tight in their shoulders and neck. The young ones seemed more depressive than the older woman. But they didn’t complain, they were grateful. They are the teachers as much as we are…