Photo: Seane Corn
The highlight of this day was when one of the men on the crew, the tall, lanky son of a local midwife, came up to me while I was laying bricks and asked, very shyly, "What this yoga thing was that we do?" He said that he and the other men on the crew were curious and could we show them what it was? I said, "Better yet, would you like to try it?" Smiling, he said yes and called the men over. So I gathered all of us, the women on the challenge and the men in the crew, their mothers, their wives and their kids, and together we practiced yoga on the grounds of the birthing center. They were tentative at first as we went through the different poses, awkwardly arranging their bodies, but soon they got the hang of it and you could see the self-confidence rise as they realized that this was not so odd or foreign after all. I put them through standing poses and arm balances, and was blown away by many of them, their strength and flexibility inspiring. We all laughed as they fell and cheered as they tried again and again until they got it. I balanced the group in tree pose, and they became quiet and serious when I had them hold each other by the arms and look up to the sky. Black and white arms overlapping, we were all connected in a circle, gripping and using each other for balance and support. It was a beautiful and symbolic sight, as we stood there, rooted, linked together like a multicolored chain. We all smiled and laughed at one another, not wanting to let go and break the beautiful connection of bodies and spirits joined.
Sitting down on the earth, I asked them to place their hands together over their hearts in a prayer position and to take a deep breath in. Together, in a mighty exhale, we sent an "Om" vibrating out over the village. With eyes closed, we blessed the center, the families, the unborn children and each other. I thanked them for their friendship and for their hard work in building this center. We prayed for their health and happiness and for the continued peace and safety of their people, especially for their brothers and sisters up North. I closed the blessing, saying "Namaste" and explained what it meant, hoping my translation would be understood. "The supreme sweetness that exists within me, honors that same divine light that dwells within you." One of the mothers translated and together the men nodded and conferred with each other. They put their hands back in prayer, bowed their heads to us and said in unison, "Tulle-Ume". One man looked up, smiled, and translated. "We are one." It was a very good day.
Seane helps deliver a baby
How Seane came to believe in God
The lessons yoga has taught Seane
Seane Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher known for her impassioned activism, unique self-expression and inspirational style of teaching that incorporates both the physical and mystical aspects of the practice of yoga. For more on Seane Corn, visit SeaneCorn.com.