Yoga is not about how it looks from the outside – it is about how it feels on the inside. Last week Earthchild Project hosted our second Alumni workshop for 2016. Different sessions throughout the day aimed to teach the youths about yoga, healthy eating, their body and how the balance of all comes together to create awareness and mindfulness.
Over 30 youths attended, all of whom have worked with Earthchild for many years. Throughout the years they have come to experience the positive effect this balance has on their minds, bodies and souls and decided to continue this journey with us.
Despite the heavy rain on Friday the classroom was packed with motivated youths by the time the first workshop started at 9am – all of them were eager to venture into a day packed with laughing, dancing, learning and exercising.
One of the lovely yoga instructors from The Shala (Cape Town Yoga School) – Beatrice Asselta – started the day off with 1.5 hours of yoga: challenging, reinforcing and entertaining the youths by alternating poses and movements they knew, with new ones. And even though there was a lot of giggling and stumbling, many moments were filled with a peaceful breathing in between Beatrice’s reassurances to ‘open your hearts’ throughout the practice.
During all this the enthusiasm and engagement of the youths was absolutely wonderful to witness for everyone involved.
After a quick snack break the day continued with a lesson on the human anatomy and the benefit and harm we can do to it with the food we consume. Tom Sheehy (The Shala) – despite his questionable drawing skills – was a great teacher, the classroom was silent and the youths were fascinated. When Tamsin Sheehy (The Shala) continued to explain the lymphatic system and got the entire class moving again they were just as motivated.
The Alumni programme consists of youths who have really embraced the respectful and integrative way that Earthchild operates in. Everyone in the classroom was working together, towards a better understanding of the body and mind.
During lunch I got the chance to talk to Claumi, who is 14 and has attended Earthchild’s yoga classes together with her brother since she went to Primary School (she is now in her first year of High School). Both are very passionate about the Earthchild Project – Claumi said that it’s the community that has been established by Earthchild in the form of classmates, friends and siblings that makes so many of the youths feel welcome and safe.
The Alumni Programme is an excellent example of how generations and their knowledge transition. These youths were once the youngest class at Earthchild – now they are some the oldest. As Tom explained, human cells can change and adapt to their environment over time, and so can behavioural patterns and thoughts. These workshops are not designed to make the youths do anything – they are about educating them and having enough trust in them to make their own (mindful) decisions.