Bolivia - A Breeze of Hope - Child Survivors of Sexual Violence
Tara, Hannah, & Magi jumped on a plane (ok 4) and headed to Cochabamba, Bolivia and partnered with A Breeze of Hope sharing the healing power of yoga and photography therapy sessions with a community of children who are survivors of sexual violence.
"'Being of service' can get thrown around a lot in the yoga world. To serve is to do a noble act, to give unreservedly for the benefit of others. There are many professions where people that are of service never get to see the power of their acts and witness the deep impact they have on people. On my most recent service trip, I had the privilege to give myself fully and witness the power of yoga, connection, and community as a way to heal.
Each day we taught 3 yoga classes, in Spanish. In the morning we were with the local school children and in the afternoon we taught at C.U.B.E which is an interdisciplinary center for children who have experienced sexual violence. The first day at CUBE we had probably 12 children participate in the trauma sensitive yoga class and by Friday we had over 30 and we had to move outside to a local park to practice!! From a four year old boy who just loved to move and play to the young girl who's perpetrator left her with an STD and daily physical reminders of her trauma , everyone sweat and laughed together. Experiencing your body in a healthy and positive way again after that was stolen from you can be a catalyst for real and powerful change. At the end of the week the hugs we got and tears that were shared were a testimony to the power of yoga and work we had done. One girl shared that she had never felt such love before, another said she felt happy in her body for the first time in her whole life.
At night I taught a workshop to the employees of CUBE and other community members on the effects of trauma on the body and the use of yoga in healing that trauma. Combining my knowledge of the Baptiste Power Yoga methodology and integrating my therapeutic work with trauma survivors, I was able to share knowledge and tools to support them on and off the yoga mat. I had no expectations for the week besides sharing my love and knowledge of yoga with them. On the fourth night, after a 30 minute guided meditation, one of the participants shared that for the first time since her daughter had passed a way she had been able to think about her in a positive way. Throught the asana, pranayama and mediation she was able to experience memories of her daughter as light and see her daughter's presence in her life as a gift, instead of her death as a curse. She was able to reflect that she had been hindering her son from experiencing the flow of life and stopping the flow of her own in the process and that, she said, was not living. Each participant left with a nugget of inspiration and empowerment and we ended the whole experience talking about how they would be integrating a yoga practice into their life and community.
I might have spent a week in Bolivia, being of service, but I was the one that left with the gift of friendship, community, and love. I am blessed to do this work every day at Grow Yoga and take my experiences and share them with our larger global community. Thank you to everyone that donated to this trip, the healing, and the cultivating of the Grow Community world wide."
-Tara, Owner of Grow Yoga and Founder of The Grow Collective
*To protect the safety and privacy of the children, no photos are being shared.