Beyond the Monastery

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We left the Monastery at 4:30 am to make a 6 pm flight to Bagan, a mecca of temples and spiritual energy with an indescribable number of Buddhas.

As we departed, Marni posted on Facebook, “Exhausted but blissful yogis heading to Bagan for some R & R after a week of intense yoga and meditation…. We are so happy!”

It was funny when a friend of hers replied, “OMG! A week without kids, and yoga and meditation would have left me the opposite of exhausted.” Little did she know that we’d just been with 300 “kids,” and we didn’t practice the yoga as much as taught it, over 4 hours a day.

So, yes. We were exhausted, blissful yogis, in amazement at the week we’d just shared, brimming with ideas on “What next?” The next day as we drove an hour or so to Mt. Popa, an ancient volcano housing the mythic temple of the Nans, ancient spirits, we brainstormed. Actually, Carly needed to focus on her thesis presentation just a week away. She will be receiving her Masters in Yoga Studies in a few short weeks! We all have so much gratitude and thanks to Marni for organizing her first “Om and Roam” Seva Project that far exceeded expectations. This is just the beginning of “Om and Roam”. Wendy, was headed back to Red Dragon Yoga, to create a curriculum for her first teacher training, but what would that be like given this experience. Is there a way to combine a 300 hour with training for Seva projects such as these?

And me. I’ve searched for years to find this. I thought I would find it in South Africa, when I went in 2012, but it wasn’t time. I did learn that I wanted to find some type of service, or Seva, that is replicable with a ripple effect? The initial thoughts about creating a model for yoga teachers to take their yoga off the mat to girls and young women in countries where they are at risk: Poverty. Child labor trafficking. Sex trafficking. Yoga empowers, and we saw that in a few short days with the nuns.

So each of us has our own path, but more importantly we see ourselves as spokes in a wheel, with our common goal in the center. Bringing yoga and Seva together in a new and progressive way. We may find resistance bringing yoga into more nunneries, in a traditional Buddhist country like Myanmar, but it doesn’t mean we won’t try.

In the meantime, “Saya’s Nunnery” is our heart. First and foremost, we plan to support the girls and young women in a multitude of ways. A scholarship fund, a plan to provide visuals with the sequences so they can practice on their own, some Asian Elephant pants, in their red skirt color, to be worn during yoga class (Yes! We have permission), and a promised return trip later this year.

I can’t wait to bring you all along as our plans continue to unfold… Stay Tuned!