Bolivia and Rwanda in female form

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Bolivia and Rwanda in female form were first on the yoga mats at our first ever session inHackney City Farm‘s cosy straw bale room.

The room has an earthy feel, high ceilings and a wooden floor.  Light falls through the two big windows, that look out onto the trees and farm garden, and at the front of the room, there’s a wood-burning stove that provides warmth, glow and, now and again, a gentle crackling as a log shifts in the grate.

Then you pin it to a door, lay out the mats and make the room cosy.

In the background you could hear the traffic from the road outside the farm, and when it lulled there was spring birdsong.  There are lots of very old trees around the farm and lots of very tiny birds.

The women who attended Hackney Yoga Project’s first session were referred by theBritish Red Cross’ Refugee Services unit and the Medical Foundation for the care of victims of torture.  We also look forward to welcoming women who are part of Room2Heal, an Islington-based healing community for refugees, those seeking asylum, and others who have suffered human rights violations.

Where there is life there is hope.

After yoga, we ate seasonal vegetable soup and homemade bread in the strawbale room at trestle tables, decorated with sweet pink hyacinth, daffodils and bluebells, in pots borrowed from the farm garden.

The sweetness of the scent reminded one of her mother, whose favourite flower had been white hyacinth.

The woman talked in varying proficiency of English, about the difference in pronunciation between ‘bread’ and ‘breath’, as in ‘to breath’ (we chalked the words up on the blackboard), and we laughed lots.

The women talked about how it was to have no friends at all, no one to talk to, no family in the same country, and how it was to learn English when you’re frightened to go out of the house because of flashbacks to the events that had led you to leave your country and everything you knew, to seek asylum in a foreign country – through no fault of your own, just the unpredictable circumstances of life.

In the pipeline: sun swineutations, assisted tail stretches, snout warm-ups, etc.

And there was lots of smiling, and people’s eyes were bright, and we talked about making new friends, and how good the soup was, and how to pay money onto an Oyster card when you don’t have a bank account…

And after lunch we went out to the farmyard to look at Larry the donkey, the orange Tamworth pigs, slumbering blissfully in the mud, with the golden hairs of their ears and snouts catching the light; the Indian runner ducks and goats and sheep, and the visitors enjoying them, young and old, and I thought, how very lucky we are to live in peacetime in this country.

Hackney Yoga Project looks forward to welcoming with open arms all those who have yet to step across the threshold to practice yoga and have some lunch.

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