Last night I went to watch “Lion” whilst my own little lion cub was sleeping soundly.
I tells the miraculous true story of a little Indian boy “Saroo” who steps on to a train at four years old whilst waiting for his older brother to return from his night work. Saroo becomes trapped and accidentally travels 16,000km to Calcutta. Lost and displaced and unable to speak Bengali it is a terrifyingly vivid nightmare to behold on screen. The pure innocence of his face as he is faced with an increasingly hostile world. He is eventually adopted and raised by an Australian couple. At twenty five he manages to piece together his own broken memories to search for and find his missing family.
It was incredibly sad and a beautifully poignant reminder of family and a sense of belonging. It touched me on many levels, I felt an initial affection towards the small boy living poor but happy in rural India. There was the sheer horror and fear for a vulnerable baby all alone in Calcutta without his loved ones to protect him. It was heartbreaking at times, to see him curled up at night all alone knowing that his family would be desperate to find him.
It got me thinking about the thousands of street children in India and all over the world. Saroo was one amongst many whose experience of the world is something that no child should have to endure. I felt a real sense of helplessness, what can I do? My immediate reaction was to do something to help and protect other children like Saroo. Although it all feels pretty hypocritical sat in a warm cinema eating popcorn feeling sorry for those less fortunate. Any donation to a charity feels like a drop in the vast ocean in helping alleviate the pain for these lost children. I’ve been thinking about it and have decided that one thing I can do is partake in “Yoga Stops Traffik” which is a charity event to raise money and awareness against child trafficking. As yogis we will complete 108 sun salutations (which is a lot!) breathing and flowing together in unison. Last year, the funds raised helped provide a roof over the head of 95 children at Odanadi Seva Trust rehabilitation centres. Yoga Stops Traffick participants helped pay for food, electricity, running water and contributed to the salaries of 22 social workers, psychotherapists, administrative and educational staff.
This amazing event will unite yoga practitioners across the globe to take a stand against human trafficking. For the past 8 years thousands of individuals come together to raise awareness and financial support for Odanadi India, to support their work rescuing and rehabilitating victims of human trafficking, exploitation and abuse, and educating and empowering vulnerable communities. We will take an easy pace as we complete 4 rounds of 27 sun salutations per round, taking rest in between each of the rounds.
Sun salutations, called Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, generate heat to cleanse the body and mind. As a moving meditation linking movement with breath, this flowing series of poses gets your heart pumping, increases circulation and takes your body through a full range of motion, working every major muscle group in the body. Physically you’ll feel amazing afterwards, like you’ve just climbed a mountain! At least that’s what I’ve been told! Namaste. x
“For the Odanadi residents Yoga Stops Traffick means a sense of belonging. They feel they have relatives and friends across the globe who love them and want the best for them. When the name of Odanadi is taken to countries across the world, it starts a healing process. It gives us the energy to carry on”.