Yoga Without Borders

I’m fascinated by the wonders of travelling and I believe that it definitely changes you life. There are trips that touch the deepest fibers of your soul and today, I want to share with you some thoughts about one of those trips that have touched me a great deal:   Israel & Palestine.
I don’t want to go into details about how, let’s say… interesting it was to arrive to Tel Aviv carrying a Colombian Passport with an Arab middle name (Mom, I have to tell you I didn’t like you so much during those moments at the border controls! And still nowadays I’m unable to fully understand WHY, why on earth did you give me that name! hahahaha).
Instead, I prefer sharing what was really important about that trip besides the happiness of visiting my dearest friends Sergio & Andrea!
So, in an atmosphere that was absolutely new to me geographically, socially and culturally, I discovered a truly surprising and contrasting reality. I walked the streets that Jesus walked, and saw the waters that Jesus also walked (I wish I could tell you I walked them too, but no, I couldn’t!), I sensed the hallucinating antigravity of the Dead Sea and even ventured “across the walls” to discover beautiful markets filled with the most warmhearted people ever. It was like travelling inside a tunnel of time, where I could see all the remains of the different civilizations that have passed through that territory leaving indelible marks.
I was quite shocked by so many guns not linked to camouflaged uniforms but to teenage backpacks and civilians. I felt shivers when I saw kilometers of walls that just keep on growing and growing long, tall and gray on one side and full of graffiti screaming for freedom on the other side.
But one of the things that had the biggest impact on me was to feel the permanent “peaceful tension” that people live in; I can not even put it in words; it felt like a prefabricated peace as fragile as glass.
And it was right in the middle of this turmoil of contrasting emotions that I was asked to teach a fundraising Yoga class as a little contribution to a very beautiful cause: Farashe.  Farashe is the Arab word for butterfly and at that time, it was still an idea of a community Yoga center that a courageous group of dedicated people (among them my friends) wanted to open in the Palestinian territory to help people have a better life through the practice of Yoga.
So, on a cool late afternoon, in an open terrace, in the middle of Ramadan, in the very heart of Ramallah I taught a very special class that will stay in my memory forever.
It’s been almost a year now since Farashe, thanks to the contribution of many, could spread its wings improving the quality of life for many people in the area.  It is so rewarding to witness Yoga as a universal language with no boundaries, the way this world should be!
Will this ever be possible? Why do we think that we own the Earth? Isn’t it the other way around?
Well, as John Lennon wisely sang: …Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too, imagine all the people, living life in peace…

… You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!!!

Ah! And regarding my middle name, I have to admit that I learned to love it after I discovered the meaning of it during this trip (so Mom, don’t worry, no hard feelings!)

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