Ineza Ladies

One morning

on June 3rd

We went just out of Kigali to a small village. On a mountain, we had to climb up a little with our big bag full of yoga mats. Then first the woman would have a counseling session. They were victims of domestic violence again. They practice yoga since 2 years already. A few women are very depressed. While the women had their counseling session, i walked around the place. It was in between all the small houses where the locals live. Children were running around and wanted to play.
We were going to teach in a Church, although it doesn’t really look like a one, it’s a small stone building with no windows, a wooden frame inside and no light. Natural light would come in and created a great atmosphere for yoga class. When they were ready, they were laying their mats down and were chatting until class started. Another nice class, very interesting to see that our yoga is done everywhere in the world in the same way and i am glad to be able to help them learning!
The next day, Friday the 4th, we were going to teach the Sewing Ladies again, the same ones we teach on Wednesday. They’re so sweet! But, it’s Friday, they were tired, had headaches, hunger, some were late…
The last day of the week, the first day i was teaching. The other days i was assisting and adjusting. I had to learn the program, the students, the language and all that.
I started class calm, with some extra breaths in the Surya Namaskar A and B. I saw that they were doing good, they seem to like it and we did a great practice. My Rwandan is in development, so i took a little note with me with all the words i could use while teaching. Mostly i used Injeka Omuuka (=inhale) and Suhoro Omuuka (=exhale). Also Humeka chane (=breath deeply) and Seka (=smile) Kidogo (=a little) were popular. Then counting 1 to 5 i used to count the breathings in each pose.. and knowing these, for the rest use a little English, a word French and lots of body language, i could teach a class! They were helping me also if i didn’t know a word. But they know the Ashtanga routine and they copy me demonstrating any pose. Also off course Deirdre was there, helping me out when it was hard to explain something. Mostly she was focusing on Ipiffany, the woman who practice sitting because of polio. After class we took her to the ‘One Love’ NGO, who made her braces a few years ago and now fixing the shoe and the brace again.

Also today, i started the True Eyes-project… this is gonna be very very interesting i think! Stay Tuned!

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.