fukishima yoga project
posted: April 25, 2013
People may think the road to success is a straight and linear path. What our Oakridge ambassador Ingrid Nilson discovered on her first trip to Japan to teach yoga with the Fukushima Yoga Project and rock star yogi Will Blunderfield is that the path to realization is a wild and winding one with many train transfers and a high chance of getting lost along the way…
It was just two years ago when a powerful tsunami devastated the Fukushima area causing a level 7 nuclear meltdown, leading to massive evacuation zones. Imagine for a moment being evacuated from your home and told that you could not return for 60 years, not even for a photo album. This is the reality for many surviving residents of the area.
Our own way of giving back to a community that has lost so much was through sharing the universal language of music and yoga. Will and I designed classes to delight for both children and adults full of movement, music (much from his album Hallelujah) and even a little confetti! What we established had the pizzazz of a live performance complete with costume changes and a grand piano (when space allowed) combined with the playful, peaceful and powerful nature of yoga.
Leading up to the tour a lot was done to prepare for the Fukushima Yoga Project. Many yoga classes and even a raw, organic cooking class were set up in Vancouver to raise funds and awareness. However, nothing could have prepared us for what was to come. Upon our arrival in Japan we were greeted by the stunning red sun and sakura (cherry blossom) season. And on March 11th at the crack of dawn, we had the great privilege to link hands with thousands along the ocean’s edge to honour the memory of what was lost and what lives on.
When struggle occurred, I took a deep breath and reminded myself of the intention fueling the whole trip to put a moment’s anxiety into perspective. Our intention was manifested through our mission:
- to uplift the human spirit
- to promote joy and togetherness
- to inspire the whole of humanity!
As students thanked us after each class, I became more and more humbled by the resilience of spirit possessed by these people. We were warmly received and made to feel welcome by a community that has experienced great loss. With each smile, hand-shake and hug, gratitude filled me as I witnessed very directly the impact of a powerful intention made manifest. As the visionary behind this project, Will has reminded me many times on this trip that anything is possible and after teaching in Fukushima, I can say that the people there helped me realize this to be true.