Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

From Burkina Faso to India to Rwanda

by Marie-Noëlle Grell

Teacher Training last November at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) was amazing. My warm thanks for the wonderful Level 2 workshop in Rishikesh and to those who really helped me go further and reinforce this special Tradition. After leaving Rishikesh, we ended our India pilgrimage in beautiful Jaisalmer and the remarkable Rajasthan desert.

Though we had left Burkina Faso during a coup, we returned to relative quiet, as we too brought our peace and silence back with us.  While I was busy packing and finishing all my work, Diana organized a workshop for all the Yoga Teachers to share what we learned in Rishikesh.  The 8-limbs of Raja Yoga have been ever-so-helpful, as I realized how much my practices helped me cope with my moving without major obstacles (stress or strong emotions).  I would not have been so serene without these strong practices of the last 2 years!

On 1st January, my husband and I flew to Kigali - Rwanda. I decided to be positive, patient and "here and now" - no fear, no expectations - just to appreciate here and now. I was blessed and Guru is with me.

I received a nice house with a lovely garden and a wonderful view on the hills that I contemplate every morning from my terrace. It reminds me of the Ashram. Lovely trees, flowers, birds...The weather could not be better...between 20 to 30° all year long. I arranged my office with a dedicated space for my yoga and meditation practice, plus all the books, photos about the masters. I could feel the Guru's presence.

Rwanda is the paradise for vegetarian’s people. The nature provides it with so delicious vegetables and fruits.  I feel so well here with my vegetarian diet which is unusual with most others.

The first day I started at the office, the Head of Administration showed strong interest that I open a yoga class. The next day I started with 4 European colleagues. and the following day, some Rwandese colleagues joined...I was asked to open a second class on Friday afternoon. Today already 16 colleagues followed the class from which 10 are Rwandese colleagues, men and women, some with more than 120 kgs, so a big challenge to me!

I never encountered such an enthusiasm! It is a revelation for some of them. Lots of them suffer from stress, lack of concentration and insomnia (genocide consequences and post trauma society). Others are over weighted, diabetics or suffer from high blood pressure. After one or 2 classes, they told me they recovered good sleep at night. Some asked for private advises regarding diet, sport, choral...Some asked a lot of questions about yoga as they could not believe the good feelings inside (I know Guru and the lineage are part of the reason) and also what is the connection with religion.

All social classes are joining the course: from the driver and liaison agent to the programme officers and Europeans heads of office. It is fantastic as the colleagues are quite separate regarding the section and category of staff. They told me I brought new fresh air. Some want to bring friends.

Such a wonderful way to put into practice all what we learned in Rishikesh and home! This will be my Seva research project for my Level Two Studies.

I was also asked to take over a class from expatriate ladies (Europe, Canada, etc.) downtown as the previous yoga teacher left. It will be an opportunity to teach a more advanced class. In fact I could teach on a full time basis as the Belgian development agency also asked for a class as well as a sport club with a lot of retired Rwandese’s men. Unfortunately I still have my REAL JOB to do!

Thanks to a former colleague of Burkina Faso, I also had the opportunity to visit a wonderful region at the border of Congo, along the Kivu Lake where some pigmies are living. What a marvelous nature with fields of thee, volcanos of 4000 m and the last Gorillas of the world! We entered a wonderful garden with such impressive trees of hundred years along the lake and discovered a community of Christian Benedictine Sisters who know their sisters in Burkina. The lady was so pleased to meet somebody (my Husband was also with us) from Burkina. She invited me to come back and to cook jam with her. But I told her I will also come back for my 3 days silence retreat...such a wonderful place, blessed by the Guru.

Rwanda could not be a better place for studying and practicing level 2. I hope to write to Level 2 students to share some experiences and find some of them to create a Study-Sangha. I also have lots of challenges at the office dealing with civil society and human rights in an interesting country desiring real development after so many years of challenges.

This was the story of my arrival in Kigali with the help of the Guru...



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