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Interviews with the Childline students

October 3, 2011
I have had the best opportunity through yoga and I have to do my best because I’m even a yoga teacher trained into the ‘Yoga Capsule Program’ to teach other foster children and even my friends at school. I have to be the role model for the other kids that are following me, because I’m the one who had the opportunity and I have to also give others the tricks that I have learned.
When I started yoga it was difficult for me because I didn’t know what I was doing, but then I realised that yoga is the what is pushing me and it is also what gives me passion and gives me the best choices of my life.
I thought that yoga is a religion, but when I had more information about yoga and more explanation then it was easy for me to understand what yoga really is and all the benefits that come with yoga.
I just want to thank Swami Kamalavidya for what she has done for all of us in ‘Sunlight Safe House’ and we also appreciated the Retreat that the school sponsored for us teachers to be trained at the Good Shepherd Retreat Centre . We hope that Swami Kamalavidya will not stop helping us with our lives in this difficult wide world.

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Yoga for Life

Yoga came into my life so unexpectedly and although I knew just a little about it I didn’t really know the power that lies in this practice and the strength it would hone in me, not only physically but emotionally and intellectually.
We as ‘Childline’ started Yoga in 2009 at Bara – Chris Hani hospital in a small space in the ‘Childline’ offices. The more we learnt the more we looked forward to the yoga sessions every Thursday!!!!!!  We made the most of that small space and indirectly healed, grew and learnt while we thought we were having fun. One Saturday in each month was put aside to go to Swami Kamalavidya’s South African School of Yoga and on those days we knew we were to be spoilt. They will forever remain treasured just like the yoga practices that has made me who I am today!!!!
This year we were blessed with a larger space to practice yoga on Constitution Hill at the original Childrens hospital in Parktown. And the leisure to do it longer than the limited hour we had at Bara. This brought more activity in me and motivated me to do it more and more!!!! We went on a retreat and that taught me a number of things but most of all showed me the love Swami Kamalavidya and her teachers and students have for us all.
Swami Niranjan from the Satyananda Yoga Universities India spoke words that I consider the most wise I have ever heard, he said “The greatest yoga is standing up straight with both feet on the ground”, I think that for me is the posture that I will forever need to hone to become the greatest yogini I can be. Yoga makes each and every part of me strong, humble, forgiving and more loving. Yoga has given me the guts to accomplish all I set my heart out to do. Yoga is my life!!!
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I have come a long way, yoga has taken me through a long journey and I have become a better person. I am not a scared person anymore and I am not as bitter as I was before. My name is Dimpho Makgotlho and this is my story.
I met Swami Kamalavidya in 2009, I was this shy little girl who was very lonely, bitter and scared. I was very impatient and I felt alone. Finally when Swami Kamalavidya introduced me to yoga I felt like my prayers had been answered. Yoga has helped me become who I am, it has changed me and now I am a very happy person, even at school I have improved. My marks are very beautiful, wow, yoga has changed my life. I am writing this article with a smile and every time I see myself in the mirror I see Swami Kamalavidya’s work of art. Thank you Swami Kamalavidya, I am proud to be who I am today and I am willing to change a life of another person just like you changed mine.
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I started yoga in 2009 in Soweto.  Thought it was a religion but now I understand that is a science of healing. I got used to it and now I understand it is so important and helping because of the postures, there is no need to spend money to go to the doctors.
Yoga is not for Indian people, it is for everyone and I have learnt so much about it!!!!!!  It has also helped me with my studies to be more focused. The postures that I learnt are; Greeting the Sun (yoga movements), Pranayama(breath control) and Yoga Nidra( relaxation).
Greeting the Sun:
It is the first 24 postures that I learnt when I started yoga. We start with it because it stretches your lungs and massages your spinal cord.
Breath Control:
To strengthen our lungs and balance out the hemispheres of the brain and is a good vehicle to control the mind.
Relaxation:
This is the most important posture for me because it trains the body and the mind to be still and heals me on many levels.
Hari Om
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I’m 17 years of age, I’ve been in Satyananda Yoga Tradition for over 2 years. Through my practices of yoga I’ve discovered self discipline as much as I’ve developed it.
In yoga one might think we are taught how to stretch or how to stand on our heads, ——-well that’s not what they teach us. Swami Kamalavidya and her teachers and students teach us how to live our path and to walk it.
In 2006 I lost my mother and through my loss I thought I had lost myself completely as I just knew that losing her is the end of my world. This selfish thought changed enormously when I came to the South African School of Yoga; I had lost my mother but then again I got so many loving mothers at the school.
The school works with ‘childline’ teenagers like me who are interested in yoga and in changing their lives. ‘Childline” is amazing to change the lives of young South Africans through yoga. “Brave Survivors” come from all over Soweto and the Yoga School is trying by all means that we meet on Saturdays. By meeting on Saturdays we get motivational talks from our yoga teachers as well.
Young people like me are the ones with a powerful technique of living a powerful and happy life. Young people like me are the ones who need to be noticed to change our world.
Hari Om Tat Sat

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I’m a 20 year old male from the South Western Township. My teenage years were not a good experience because I was raised in an inebriate’s home (home for drunks) with a disadvantaged background and a very abusive extended family.
Time was moving fast but life seemed slow. At the age of 16 I developed a habit of smoking. I couldn’t contain myself from the negative things said by my peers, plus my parents were not around so this was the life I had to live.
When I was in Grade 11 I lost my best friend in an accident, so I had to drop out of school because I was the only one left to look after my siblings. I had to do odd jobs to provide for them.
In 2009 I couldn’t keep on living this lifestyle so I looked for something to keep my mind at ease. I joined a local church which helped me, but the more I learnt the more curious my mind became.
Last year I met a new friend. He told me about Yoga – its gift and experience. I was interested and it taught me a few yet important things about life, to love people close to me, respect my life and have patience with everyone!!!!
I’d like to thank Swami Kamalavidya and the rest of the yoga team for the opportunity.

Due to the Children’s Protection Act, names have been omitted to ensure their privacy and protection

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Reflections on teaching at Childline

When new children join us on Saturdays for Yoga practice it is very noticeable the difference between the regular children and the new ones.  Yoga has given the children focus, self-confidence, self-discipline, calmness, a sense of purpose and their eyes shine.  The new little ones have a more vacant and empty look in their eyes and they often seem bewildered and less able to cope.
The trauma and the feeling of loss is still there, but the yoga gives the children tools to deal with life as well as a sense of hope.  The Saturday’s are also community building and whenever new children come into the group, there is a real sense of empathy and total acceptance and support from the regular children.

Sent in by Vandana ( Stayananda Yoga Teacher)

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If you wish to find out more of would like to get involved or give a donation towards this project please contact Kamalavidya at the South African School of Yoga | Tel (011) 645 2000, Fax (011) 645 2020, www.yogasa.co.za
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