Earlier this year, I said to Insiya that I owe so much to India. Every and every day is full of Indian gifts to me like Masala Chai, Yoga and, of course, my family.
“Let’s do something in your hometown to give back a little,” I said.
Insiya had a great idea. One of her Bombay high school classmates runs a charity called ‘Mumbai Mobile Creches’ which takes care of the children of construction workers in India who leave their village homes for Bombay shanty towns. On a side note, I am always amazed by how opposite modern India is to Ghandi’s vision of strong local village economies. People flock from the villages big cities like Bombay which is growing in population and economically at a massive rate. In the process, so many children from these migrant workers slip through the cracks and are not offered education or nourishment. Mumbai Mobile Creches is making an incredible difference here.
We started our morning with a small glimpse into life in the shanty town. Kids played in the streets, people were showering outside, but the atmosphere seems upbeat and almost joyous. It was great to see how people can create community anywhere, even under unlikely conditions.
When got to the school, we were totally blown away by the joy of the kids and the smiles on their faces. It was an honor just to witness the power of the human spirit. Ananda Lion made some great friends and sang, played and navigated a child’s world of developing social skills interacting with kids in all grades.
There are about 50 kids in the class Insiya and I led. Insiya led most of the class because her Hindi is pretty good and the kids loved it. With the exception of two boys who took “warrior pose” a little too seriously and started a fist-fight in the back row, there were nothing but smiles from start to finish. At points I jumped in a taught a few poses. Crow was a hit as was Triangle and the best was when I demoed Wide Leg Forward Bend, 20 kids crawled between my legs London Bridge style. It was the most fun I have ever had doing a yoga pose and there hasn’t been a time this whole week where I have done this pose that a big, wide smile hasn’t crossed my face.
This lesson reminds me of what the Dalai Lama always reminds us, to make yourself happy, make others happy! It’s the heart of our Blissology Project “Upward Spiral,” as well.
All in all, it was such a positive and happy experience for all of us. A big toast to those smiling kids. On a side note, thanks to all who purchased the blissology poster to raise money for these kids and for those that work everyday to share their light!
To view more photos, check out our flickr page