Nama… WHO???

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Every other week, I have the honor of serving incarcerated youth through the nonprofit organization, Yoga Gangsters. The group of young men I “yolk” with are court ordered to live at a Broward County Detention Center. These young men are still considered “workable” and are provided educational, behavioral and various treatment services while doing their time.

I’ve been practicing yoga fo’ bout a minute now, and at the close of most classes I hear the teacher say, “Namaste.” Peripherally, I knew what that meant. It was not until I had the honor of practicing with souls in search of guidance, literally behind closed doors, that I fully understood the power of the word – Namaste.

Let’s define it! According to master yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala, who was quoted by the Yoga Journal, “The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.”

Each week, as the lead teacher Jess closes our practice at the center with the word “Namaste,’ it catches new yogis’ attention. When they learn the meaning it catches their hearts. Here is some feedback I have received from the boys:

Week 1: (Please note that the “Young Man in Program” each week is a different person.)
Young Man In Program: Nama…WHO?

Me: Namaste

Young Man In Program: What do that mean?

Me: The light in me notices the light in you.

Young Man In Program: So you sayin we all the same?

Me: Yes

Young Man In Program: And you believe that?

Me: Yes

Young Man In Program: LONG PAUSE… “Hmm… I like that.”

Week 2:
Young Man In Program: What dat mean that Nama Nama?

Me: The light in me notices the light in you.

Young Man In Program: What light?

Me: The light that is in every one of us. The Divine light that make us all different expressions of the same energy.

Young Man In Program: Oh yeah. I know dat light. My Grandmama toll’ me bout dat light.

Week 3:

Young Man In Program: What’s that word she just said.

Me: Namaste

Young Man In Program: What does it mean?

Me: The light in me notices the light in you.

Young Man In Program: Tell me how you say that word again.

Me: Namaste

Young Man In Program: I’m gonna say that word to people. That means something. And you know what Miss? I’m gonna find a way to practice this shit when I’m on the outside.

I cannot think of any other single word that generates so much HOPE. Namaste, said with pure intent, expresses CONNECTION and when we feel connected we have hope. Hope to be our best selves, hope to pick new paths, hope to reach new heights.

With love, light and endless well wishes! Namaste!
Franny

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