This week, we are sharing a diary post from Emily Tsay, Grace of Giving Scholarship recipient, from her second 2 weeks of yoga teacher training. Zobha awarded the Grace of Giving Scholarship to Emily Tsay to study in the Pure Yoga Teacher Training at Equinox in Summer 2011. Over the next several weeks, Emily will be sharing her experiences with us.
A few months ago, I thought I would be spending the next year traveling between the mountains and cities of Taiwan. I would be doing research on the various tribes of the Taiwanese Indigenous People (TIP) and working with a non-profit to provide support for these people, who face many economic and social barriers. I was so excited to receive the Zobha scholarship because I wanted to share with the TIP everything I could, especially yoga. I was a finalist for the Fulbright Scholarship, which would have allowed me to carryout this mission, and when I passed the US selection round, I really hoped Taiwan would choose me too. I just felt so passionate about it and there was a real sense of urgency in providing support for this marginalized group.
The day I found out I was not chosen for the program was also around the first day of yoga training. I had spent a year planning what I would be doing in Taiwan and organizing ways to channel aid from the US to Taiwan, so when I walked into the first day of yoga training, I had such mixed emotions. I was incredibly excited to start the yoga program, yet I was feeling a little bummed about the news of the Fulbright Scholarship. The first day of yoga training, my teachers gave me something that helped me release this mental uneasiness I was feeling. I felt this incredible sense of connectedness to be part of such a long lineage of yoga teachers of this ancient practice. Also, my teachers taught us about the 5 yamas or abstentions, which is part of the 8 limbs of yoga. It was a good reminder of my own ethics code, which gave me confidence to continue on my journey despite setbacks. The 5 yamas include:
Brahmacharya: abstinence or moderation in intimate relationships
Aparigraha: non-hoarding or letting go
I had been so invested in working in Taiwan that remembering aparigraha, letting go, helped me move on to the next page in my life. So I started thinking about what I would do next, which I am incredibly excited about! Since I had been a high school teacher through Teach for America and am also passionate about teaching and working in under served communities, I thought it would be great if I could share yoga with these students. My students faced a lot of stressors in their life, which definitely affected their academics, so yoga could help them with their physical and mental well-being to reduce the affect of the stressors. I remembered seeing on Zobha’s website an organization that was a perfect combination of these passions of mine. Headstand, founded by Katherine Priore, is a non-profit organization that integrates yoga into the classrooms of economically-disadvantaged communities. Currently, Katherine and I are working on raising money to start a yoga program at a school in Los Angeles for the 2011-2012 school year. If we can manage to raise enough money, these students in LA will be doing downward dogs and pigeon poses along with solving math problems and writing stories (not at the same time of course, they will have their own special yoga classroom!). What I love about Headstand is their belief that just as important as it is for the students to learn how to solve math problems and write grammatically correct sentences, teaching them how to do asanas and to calm their minds can truly give them a holistic educational experience.
For more information on Headstand, please go here.
Zobha also supports Headstand with 10% of sales from the Zobha Grace Tank. Buy a tank and send a child to yoga!
Zobha is now accepting applications for candidates in the Pure Yoga Teacher Training program this Fall at any participating Equinox or Pure Yoga through August 5, 2011.