With the great thanks of Darta Veismane (http://daaarta.daportfolio.com/)
I would like to share with you some beautiful insight into the yoga project.
Often I do think that there might be a great possibility that this project is transforming me much more then any of the young woman engaged in this program. In these months so many horizons have widen, opening new understanding of society we are living in, opening my heart to more compassion and empathy to prisoners, developing my skills in working with very complicated groups and excluded individuals.
I do not know and care less what is the reason(crime, guilt etc.) behind their presence in the prison. Rather seeing that human being with the very same basic needs- longing heart for care, understanding, acceptance, passion for music, painting, dancing, reading, dreams for re-building our families, finding enjoyable work, overcoming our dependencies on drugs, unhealthy relationships, our own weaknesses.
What saddens me is the realization that these young women could have had not gone so far to come to prison, if not for their previous experiences in growing up in alcoholic, aggressive family, impersonal orphanage etc, isolated from the celebration of their human nature and deprived of possibility to experience care and loving relationships. Every day we do encounter those families, children, strangers in need, yet not do much to celebrate our brotherhood and ability to assist each other in finding more joy and happiness around.
Every crime shown in TV is represented as unexpected surprise and showcase. But I do strongly believe that most of those situations are very foreseen, yet ignored. Everyday I do meet many people disconnected from their bodies, unable to sense the long exciting diseases in their bodies, recognize the mind-body connection and influence on their overall wellbeing. We keep running in our lives in the big cities looking for things that in the reality we can find only deep within ourselves, in forests, in high mountains, in conversations with our beloved people or strangers passing in and out of our lives. And here I don't pretend to have the right theory on how to live and what is the right way to be. But I do get very scared on seeing these disconnections increasing in many of the World countries, and in me. Even I do feel much harder to connect with people fully with my heart and presence, searching for some distractions and easy way out of the problems.
Thus I feel that numerous transitions and transformations are happening with me due to unique experiences in the world of prisoners. Recognizing more and more the value of creating peaceful, trustful and accepting environment around me, connecting with people I meet everyday, encountering for the very first and maybe also very last time in my life, appreciating their presence and simply celebrating the different perspectives everyone brings into my life. Looking and seeking for the moments that celebrates our humanity and humanness towards each other. Because there is loads of it in each of us, and we are so ready to share it at these very challenging times. I am sure.
I was indeed very surprised how eager and motivated were the prisoners to work with affirmations. Every morning and night reminding themselves of the possible wonderful and positive world they can create in and around themselves.
"Every thought you think every word you say is an affirmation All of our self-talk or inner dialogue is a stream of affirmations. We are continually affirming subconsciously with our words and thoughts and this flow of affirmations is creating our life experience in every moment. Affirmations are short positive statements targeted at a specific subconscious set of beliefs, to challenge and undermine negative beliefs and to replace them with positive self-nurturing beliefs."
Choosing the postcard from the pile of cards and writing down 3-5 affirmations on the others side. I suggested them to hand them somewhere very close to bed, so that before the start of the day and towards the end of the day, they can remind themselves of the power we have to create the world we want to live in, transform the way we behave, the way how our conflicts resolve, the way we see ourselves and the way our health regains power over existing diseases.
I was delighted to hear ex-drug addicts passionately repeating the affirmations on freedom from drug addictions, willingness to be loved and learn love, ability to deal compassionately with their families, daughters. There was even affirmations on wellbeing of cats that have stayed home and probably missing their owner. Willingness to get closer relationships with their loved ones, hope to go out of prison sooner and relate better to their inmates. We have had many empowering discussions of our divine power to make choices of how we want to live our lives and rebuild our realities.
In recent weeks one group responded of lightness and ease they have regained on the issues concerning their affirmations. Like freeing them from emotional baggage that has been carried since they have come into the prison, or since much earlier in their lives.
"When you affirm your own rightness in the universe, then you co-operate with others easily and automatically as part of your own nature. You, being yourself, helps others be themselves. Because you recognize your own uniqueness you will not need to dominate others, nor cringe before them".
Stretch your body&transform your mind!
This Project is funded by Louis August Jonas Foundation, creating a holistic training experience for 50 young women from Ilguciems women prison and Maras Crisis center. Young women are learning simple peacemaking practices including yoga, non-violent communication, mindful awareness, conscientious social action and good-doing.