Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pakistani yogini...

This is Aisha Chapra. A young Pakistani woman who is trying to bring peace in the life of woman prisoners in Karachi by teaching them yoga.

I have never met Aisha, only spoken to her on the phone and exchanged emails, but I am thoroughly impressed with her work.

It was Aisha’s idea to approach authorities to let her teach woman prisoners. Fortunately for her it was smooth sail and she is doing her bit to help them live. In the past two years, she has taught 30 to 40 prisoners in the age group of 20 to 40 and some prisoners’ children too.

It is optional for prisoners to join her class. She teaches these women for free, but their “warmth and genuine happiness recharges her battery”.

Chapra discovered yoga as she was trying to tide over a bad patch. She was, as she puts it, depressed, disoriented and directionless and it was yoga that gave her peace.

Her first class in prison wasn’t easy but her experience as a social worker helped her pull through. She had scores of women and children watching her, some ridiculing her and few participating.  However, as the days passed, she became friends with the prisoners by listening to their stories and even massaging their sore muscles. “Soon I was their friend, listening to their woes and counseling them,” she says.

Chapra's stint at the jail has been a great lesson in life. “I get as much from them as I give them. I admire them for being strong and having faith, despite their circumstances.”

For Chapra, the connection with these women is special. “It is this desire to access freedom from within, to liberate in a way that inspires, moves and lifts me outside of myself.  I know it is their strength, their incredible compassion that I feel at the end of the class.”

“Weeks and months have gone by and now these women and their children have become a part of my life. A part of the answer which I was so desperately searching for.  And every week they give me something to smile about, a new story to share, and a new lesson to learn, while giving me a consistent dose of inspiration,” Aisha posted on her blog.

But women will always be women and they can't stop nagging Aisha about this: how do get rid of the flab on the stomach!! 

17 comments:

  1. Nice. Good to see you back in action.

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  2. Yoga/meditation is a good thing

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  3. Rupa, thanks :)

    Shabbir, yes!

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  4. really nice initiative i'd say

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  5. we might cover her as a story in a magazine

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  6. Feels really good to know at least Yoga (which is btw a sanskrit word) is not treated as 'Hindu' Indian propaganda to brainwash Pakistani Muslims or destroy their culture. Good to know that it is just treated as a form of exercise in Pakistan. :)

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  7. Anon, I know what you mean....fortunately it is popular with many here :)

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  8. Whoaaa Yoga in pakistan!!!
    Wat's next ,masala dosa??

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  9. Pichkari, yoga has been popular for years here....
    Dosa available too!! :D'

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  10. :D dosa too!!But its not common right,as most of the pakistanis I've met online dont have a clue wat it is.

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  11. Yoga is hindu...its Kafir...down with Aisha, shez spreading KaFIRISM

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  12. There are insane elements of society like the last Anon who has commented about Yoga being Hindu. I want to ask him does Islam offer something similar to yoga? Such insane elements who represent a Taliban/Al Qaeda mindset must be weeded out for Pak to survive.

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  13. @Anonymous: U're A Hypocrite & An Extremest. By no means it's Kufr. It's only for the peace of mind & body. If it by any means harm any human, then it should be banned. Otherwise Knock Yourself Out..
    Websites:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_as_exercise_or_alternative_medicine

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  14. @AUTHOR: That was a very meaningful & informative article. Good to know that an Indian Lady is teaching Yoga in Pakistani Jail to the Women Prisoners.

    Best of Luck.

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  15. Yoga is a product of Hinduism .. The first step to tantra.. No doubt about that. But it's good to see the new generation of pakistan embracing all things good from other cultures and religions..

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