Teaching yoga in Nepal

After experiencing significant challenges to many things I believed to be true, I realized my life needed a change. During a time of great personal challenges, I deeply immersed myself in yoga classes. My yoga practice helped me regain my health after a near fatal car accident that left me bed-ridden for months and dependent on many prescription medications. The techniques I learned helped me reconnect with myself after circumstances forced me to end my engagement two weeks before the wedding. Yoga helped me heal and make my way through the financial strains of my unexpected single-income household. I sobbed my way through yoga classes and breathed my way home as my mother valiently fought and ultimately lost her four year battle with uterine cancer, during which I was her primary caregiver.

My experiences with the amazing calming, healing and supportive powers of this ancient practice led me to want to share it with others. In 2010, I attended a 200 hour yoga teacher training course at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, learning  about so much more than just the poses and sequences.  The deeply personal changes I experienced as a result of that program led me to leave my job teaching at a great public school in the United States and move overseas.

Teaching in Bangkok, Thailand at Ruamrudee International School was an amazing experience. I worked with some of the greatest teachers and staff I'd ever met and taught some of the hardest working and enthusiastic students I'd  experienced in 12 years of teaching. But, I soon realized my true love was yoga.

In 2014, I returned to the Kripalu Center for a year as a part of their  volunteer program. Living and working in the name of karma yoga taught me not just about the physical practice called asana, but also what we can take away with us when we step off the mat. I believe we truly, as human beings, have an obligation to help others whenever we possibly can.

I used to believe my efforts as a classroom teacher exempted me from any additional service to others. I now realize, that's not true. Nobody is exempt when others are in need. What I did as a classroom teacher, I did as a job, for pay. I realize that now. What I am doing today, is for those I can touch selflessly and compassionately.

Last December, I came back to Asia to further my studies in yoga and  completed a 500 hour teacher training program in Akhanda Yoga. After traveling the country and seeing parts of India, I know I will return. At the recommendation of a dear friend, I came to Nepal to volunteer at the Kevin Rohan Memorial Ecofoundation (krmef.org), an amazing non-profit run by dedicated people.

Here, I am learning so much more about karma yoga than I'd ever believed possible. The foundation was originally a haven of bio-dynamic farming founded in 2008. Today, it has expanded to be an integral part of the village of Khahare, outside Kathmandu. The foundation aims to create a healthy, sustainable environment that embodies eco-friendly practices for the well-being of local communities. The founding principles of respect, integrity, dignity, productivity, trust and inclusiveness have enabled the initial farm to expand. Today it includes a guesthouse, a volunteer program, local and sustainable fuel production, the use of local resources for crafts, ecological architecture, training and education for handicapped, old aged, and leprosy affected people, a free medical clinic, a Waldorf-inspired school, and now daily yoga classes.

I teach three classes a day to volunteers, the women who are part of the sustainable jewelry workshop, foundation workers and the school teachers and helpers. Soon, I will teach weekly classes at the leper colony and offer workshops to these groups as well.

Unfortunately, it costs the foundation money to keep me here. With this campaign, I am hoping to offset the $14-20 per day it costs them to feed and board me. I am also hoping to recoup some of the funds I lost on the return flight I had to cancel in order to come here. Any extra money I may raise will be given to the foundation. Please help me support the amazing work they are doing here.

Thank you so much,


Mary Hammerstein
Buzzards Bay, MA

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