Ashira Jessica Greenbaum, Yoga Teacherby Ashira Jessica Greenbaum
My name is Ashira Jessica Greenbaum, and I’m a yoga teacher. I’ve been traveling in India and Nepal for the past 7 months studying and teaching yoga.
I contacted GoodWeave to see if I could teach yoga to the kids saved from child labor at Hamro Ghar. My experience with the children there was amazing. They were so excited to be practicing yoga. They were so quiet and disciplined, and yet able to let loose and have fun in the class. They were just such beautiful children; it really touched my heart to be with them.
I specialize in teaching kids yoga, but I also teach classes to anyone to wants to learn. Kids in America often play around and don’t really respect their teachers. But these kids were just so present and open with me in the class, and really engaging fully in the yoga poses and in some of exercises and in the chanting.
Yoga is a practice of uniting the body, mind, and spirit. It opens one up to the present moment. I have found that children who have lived in really hard conditions benefit greatly from yoga. It gives them time to be in their bodies, to be in the moment and focus on their breath.
I taught traditional yoga poses at Hamro Ghar, but also integrated a lot of fun activities. These kids have lived in really hard conditions where they weren’t really able to play and to experience much joy. So part of my goal was to bring out the joy and laughter, have some fun and liberate their creative expression -- by jumping around, making sounds, being cobras on the ground, and pretending we’re flying away to different countries as butterflies. Those movements bring imagination and laughter, but also stillness. People who are abused or trafficked learn to not listen to their bodies because there’s so much pain in them. I try to bring people back to their bodies and realize “Oh we have feet. Thank you feet for walking around!” or “Oh my belly -- that actually kind of hurts, I didn’t notice that before.”
I left Hamro Ghar so grateful, and with the desire to bring awareness to their situation and help them in any way that I can. I felt a bit sad that I couldn’t do more, but I know that they’ll remember the time we spent together for the rest of their lives. Maybe they’ll carry the practices with them or just the sweet remembrance of the fun times they had with the crazy girl from America.
You can help us end child labor and transform the lives of the thousands of children trapped in carpet work by making a tax-deductible (USA only) donation today. Every dollar makes a difference.
At the age of five, Manju was already working on the rug looms. While she has since been found and freed from illegal carpet work, some 250,000 children throughout South Asia still toil in obscurity. Through GoodWeave nearly 3,600 kids like Manju have been rescued, rehabilitated and educated, and thousands more deterred from entering the work force.More Stories »
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