I’ve lived in the Northern Territory twice. It is the sort of place where you can feel other people’s dreaming pulsing in the air. The dreams of Afghans trading, far away from home. Aboriginal peoples’ dreamings. The dreams of people new to the frontier.
I quickly discovered in the Territory was how hard it is to make things happen in a sometimes deeply divided community. I had gone there for work. Sometimes I felt like I had been part of something that had changed people’s lives for the better. Other times, it was as if I had never been there. Those failures sat heavily with me and I wondered if there was a better way to help people in struggling communities.
Yoga was the other big discovery of my first stint in the shadow of the MacDonnell Ranges. It has been a part of my life ever since. Whenever I’ve felt tired, sad or lonely I’ve pulled out a mat It was almost inevitable that I trained as a yoga teacher.
Taking class at an inclusive yoga school in Memphis, Tennessee reactived these old memories. I was impressed by the team’s dedication to take yoga to a sometimes divided community. When I got home to Australia, I talked a community centre into trialling a yoga class. More than a year later, it’s still going and it’s still free. Helping to heal a struggling community.
The success of that class convinced me to start teaching yoga to Middle Eastern – primarily Afghan – women in nearby communities. It’s become increasingly important in recent times. My classes cannot change the world but, for an hour at a time, yoga brings people together and eases all manner of pain. Who knows, it might even help to keep peoples’ dreams alive. That is enough of a difference for me.