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by Lynn A. Trombetta
An annual family visit to Nicaragua early this year has turned into a lifelong dream come true for Dahn Yoga instructor, Rebecca Wheaton. “I have always known that I wanted to go international and offer Dahn Yoga in Nicaragua,” Wheaton explains.
Something told her the time was right and, after extending her trip, she connected with an integral health clinic interested in the benefits that Dahn Yoga practice offers. The clinic invited Wheaton, who speaks fluent Spanish, to conduct a few classes and offer a talk about Dahn Yoga.
When a 10 minute Dahn Yoga class was televised and an article was printed in the local newspaper, the enthusiastic response from the community was enough to convince Wheaton to remain in Nicaragua for a three month trial. Wheaton exclaims, “Now, with work coming my way, low rent, reunions with old friends and coming to know new faces, it was irresistible!”
Wheaton put the time to good use, offering outreach classes in two different locations, “My first class was offered to the staff of Casa Alianza (known in the States as Covenant House). The staff loved the exercise and asked me to return for another class.”
Soon, Casa Alianza, which provides social services and housing for homeless youth, requested that Wheaton work ‘in-house’ to offer regular classes geared toward ‘at-risk’ adolescent girls, pregnant teens, and youth with a history of drug abuse, as well as the Casa Alianza staff.
“I eagerly agreed to the series of yoga classes and soon was invited to open an ‘in-house’ massage and healing clinic to work one-on-one with particular cases of young girls dealing with exceptional levels of both emotional and physical stress.”
Wheaton was able to offer personalized advice for stretches best for each of the staff participants and the children and staff alike responded well to the level of emotional calm that she was able to demonstrate to them through Dahn Yoga practice.
She comments, “I had dreamed of this…how do you create a Dahn Yoga center without walls? The outreach that I have been able to develop here is the fruition of that idea, where participants would be drawn in who could become committed to the practice and share the experience and benefits of Dahn Yoga.”
At the second location, Aldeas Infantiles SOS, a foster care village, Wheaton began weekly yoga classes with more than two dozen children ranging in ages from four to fifteen and included one class for the substitute moms or “Las Tias”, (“The Aunts”).
The seeds were planted and when the time came for Wheaton to return to the States, she had already made up her mind to return to her new community as soon as possible.
“During that time (at home) I prepared my things to live in Nicaragua indefinitely, and said goodbye to my family and friends,” she explains.
In early July of this year, Wheaton moved to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, and resumed the work she had begun. (To be continued…)