June 2021, by FAZILAH BAZARI

In my line of work at the Active City Development Program, I meet some very interesting people. They are like the David’s trying to survive Goliath – the people deemed underdogs, misfits, weird, don’t belong to society at large or often labeled or rendered rats of society. Most have behaviour problems, are dyslexic, some can’t read or write and have never been to school. They are just short of being apprehended either by police or by bullies or by further torment by the toxicity of their families and harsh environments and the people who see them as kanaka’s or assholes who destroy, deface, pick-pockets or are just general nuisance and a liability to developing cities. 

They too are  trying to survive in this big, multi-tribal society, amongst corporate and society’s expectations or church compliance or just having to live and conform amongst the giants. Yes they are amongst us everywhere everyday whether you notice them or not. 

They have studied the art of survival and the art of adaptation as they navigate their lives – although in a non-conformist shy way, they have learnt the art of battling society’s expectations. 

I have been privileged to discover these labels place on them are not entirely true of them. People often live up to the labels we give them and a person’s behaviour is NOT the person. 
In my view, they are the most courageous enquirers, curious, risk-takers, gentle and warm and creative and artistic and somehow has made their way towards my program. 

They love yoga because it gives them the freedom to explore them no matter – whether they are graffiti artist, street sellers, breakdancers or rascals or ex-inmates or drug pushers. 

Unlike competitive sport, that is exclusive, time bound and limited to the lucky few who made it to meet the requirements of fitness, discipline etc, Yoga is non-competitive, it’s inclusive and can be practiced even when you are old. In fact like wine, it gets better with time. It is accessible to everyone. You don’t need to be in a certain physical condition, fitness level, neither do you need to be in a particular attire or shoes or equipment. 

Yoga is an art of movement that is timeless, ageless and boundless. It meets you where you are and together we flow with the breath on a journey to self-discovery. Guided by a nourishing, loving and kind environment that sees the divine in all beings, the very same difficult person blossom and manifest into someone new, someone that can be balanced, different, unique and still have a place, a voice and a face in this emerging fast growing city. 

Non-competitive sports like yoga and other forms of creative movements truly has the ability to inspire and re-educate young people and adolescents who are lost to come back to a path that can transform them as agents of change. It has the ability to rewire the brains and make both the IQ and EQ work in harmony with the actual body movement. They have the ability to attract and mobilise more of them to come out to live productive lives that are healthier, more informed and still be non-conformist if they choose to. 

These young people and old alike have learnt that through yoga, the same difficulty they have can be channeled positively. The strength and resilience of these people are extraordinary! When you have nothing to loose, every small gain is a win it itself. Something we, the educated society struggle to appreciate. 

My team and I meet hundreds of them daily and every time, seeing them beyond their physical, mental and emotional capacity, I feel blessed that this one (many) person have chosen to be here today with me than anywhere else! It’s like destiny.. A sacred date with each other’s soul. 

Yoga has given them a reason to wake up and have somewhere to go. A sense of purpose and to be part of a community of kindred spirits. To be here, now, in this moment. To have their hearts  open and their minds silenced. 
With every deep breath, we move as we heal and release and we heal more as we move and release more and together we keep peeling layer after layer holding each other in a place of universal silence, love, kindness, acceptance. We see each other grow, smile a little deeper, laugh a little louder and feel the doubt, fear and judgements fall away. 

It is quite an enriching experience to meet people at the level of the soul that do not discriminate or judge simply to know as you are, I am. 

Today most of them have developed skills that are insanely daring. They have become performing artist, actors, jugglers, yoga teachers, kick-boxers, social activist, community champions and they are earning an income through them. 

If I find the time, I will introduce one of them weekly and share with you their stories of courage and change. In my eyes, they are champions, who dare to be different and dare to give to the world their arts of arts. 
They are an industry in itself and they will soon change this country and bring back the magic of arts, performance, music, dance, peace, love and kindness back as a fashion. They will be the New Normal that we wish to see in our society and in the world. Just watch this space.

Fazilah BazariNLP Trainer and Life CoachYoga Unites Youth Empowerment and Transformation Program (Yu Yet PNG)