YGB Ambassador Anouk Prop has been supporting YGB from her hometown Maastricht in the Netherlands as YGB Ambassador for a few years. Being a psychotherapist with a successful private practice and a therapist at a clinic, treating trauma and addition related issues, as well as being an avid Ashtangi and yoga teacher, Anouk wanted to do more than just host a fundraiser class for YGB. This summer Anouk launched her own fundraising campaign "Expedition Kili" as part of YGB's "Thank You Mother India". As the first step of this pioneering effort, Anouk came to volunteer to Deenabandhu Children's Home in October to offer her psychotherapy counseling for children with trauma related issues, as well as offering Yoga for all the children and teachers at this home and Denabandhu Elementary School. It has been only two months, however I was so impressed to witness a solid regular counseling sessions created by Jayadev, Anouk and Mahesh Kumar, English teacher at Deenabandhu Elementary School. Anouk and Maneesh meet with children with learning problems, dyslexia and trauma related issues on a daily basis.
I sat and filmed through two sessions, each lasting 1.5 hour at a very slow pace so that each child has a chance to feel deeper within their heart and express their feelings in their own words. Anouk patiently asks questions and Maneesh translates carefully to convey the children's words back to Anouk. Jayadev is very inspired with this program's success which already brought out a lot of new important information about each child.
This afternoon, this 13 year boy started to describe about his continued nightmares with unidentified scary faces. In reality, he was at his parents' death scene but never saw their faces after the death. He does not know what really caused their deaths, though he was in the next room watching TV. "Did somebody come in and kill them?" "Why wasn't I able to help them? " All complex issues are still within him haunting him on a daily basis. He is going through a lot of confusion with deep sorrow. Anouk continues to talk with him and suggests to Jayadev and Maneesh that it is a positive step forward that he is opening up and feeling safe to talk about these deep feelings. As a team, she proposes that they need to guide him to focus on the present and any happy feelings he has. The boy also disclosed that citing Ganesh mantra when scary faces appear in his mind, seems to be helping. Anouk counsels that these small but positive tools should be encouraged to use whenever needed. Anouk also suggested to look for some tangible objects to hang onto when bad moments happen to him, it can be a small ball, smiley face doll, anything.
I was truly inspired how Anouk's work is adding so much to children and teachers at Deenabandhu. Jayadev is very happy how Anouk has brought in this program "Psychology and Yoga" for children. Jayadev believes that "the reality of mind" needs objectivity to be understood, the mechanism of mind. Western psychology is very helpful as it believes that every behavior has a reason. Jayadev had psychological approach since 1990's but having an expert Anouk on the ground for 4 months has definitely shed light to the importance of this approach again. Anouk and Jayadev believe that this approach will be able to bring out self esteem in children.
Anouk's action and commitment is the best example of how one person can take Yoga Gives Back to a totally different level. By making real commitment to make a difference, she is already making a difference in many children's lives. If we tap into our potential and share with others, we can bring out such incredible positive changes in this word. I am so grateful and happy that Anouk has shown this powerful precedent to us .
As the final step of "Expedition KILI", Anouk will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise more awareness and funds. What so special about this is that her father and two other friends will also join this incredible endeavor!! To this date, they already raised over 6000 dollars!! Anouk continues to get up before 6am to run 45 minutes and practice Ashtanga Yoga for 1.5 hour every morning as a training for this last big Climb! Thank you ANOUK for this amazing and empowering effort.