Yoga for a Peaceful Jamaica.

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photo: Sabriya Simon

‘With yoga, all things are possible.’

In honor of International Peace Day, celebrated globally on September 21st, recently, a community of thoughtful, committed yogis and yoginis came together at the Waterfront, in downtown Kingston, Jamaica, in the name of peace for our country and our people.

Jamaica is a paradise and a paradox, a nation riddled with polarities of darkness and light.

Our beauty shines through our music, our athletes, our beaches…and so much more.

Yet, we remain notorious for our murder rates and homophobia; children and women are increasingly coming under attack through sexual violence and abuse, leaving the vast majority of society horrified. Socioeconomic woes, not exclusive to Jamaica, wreak havoc on a daily basis.

peaceful demonstration
photo: Sabriya Simon

With rising costs and equally high unemployment, people are afraid—and this fear manifests itself as anger and rage in such heinous criminal acts. Unresolved trauma pervades the society and rather than being dealt with, is being swept under the proverbial carpet of shame and silence.

Committed to transformation on a global scale, many years ago, I realized that unless—and until—I confronted my own issues, I was incapable of being a forerunner for humanity in the name of peace.

How does one remain silent amidst such atrocities? Am I not a part of the problem if I allow myself to be paralyzed with inaction and suffocated by my own silence?

Twelve years ago, I was led to the path of yoga. Who I am today is a direct result of my commitment to being on the path; if yoga has been such a catalyst for me, then in the name of service, I am prompted to share its gifts with others so that they too may be healed and transformed.

Downtown Kingston, surrounded by volatile and violent communities is also the hub of Jamaica’s culture—many of our renowned musicians and artists were born in this hot, bustling, vibrant city. It is also home to the oldest synagogue in the Northern Hemisphere; the heart of Jamaican culture is alive in the city of Kingston and it is crying out for guidance and help. Boasting the eighth largest natural harbor in the world, beside the Caribbean Sea while facing the cool, serene Blue Mountains, was the perfect scenario to begin a journey towards healing and peace.

Yoga for a Peaceful Jamaica
photo: Sabriya Simon

‘Peace within, peace without, peace throughout’ was the mantra that we set for this auspicious event.

With over thirty persons breathing and moving together, passersby, as well as residents of the local community, looked on with curiosity while others chose to join in.

Even members of the police force, more accustomed to dealing with crisis in this section of town, were deeply moved, by simply bearing witness to our enactment of peace, demonstrating that indeed through yoga, all things are possible.

Indeed, Out of Many, We are One.



Editor: Bryonie Wise

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About Nadine McNeil

Yogini. Humanitarian. Spirited. Compassionate. Storyteller. All of these words conjure up aspects that make Nadine McNeil the person she aspires to be: an evolutionary catalyst committed to global transformation. Now fully devoted to expanding the reach of yoga through what she refers to as the “democratization of yoga,” she designs and delivers workshops to a wide cross-section of communities who ordinarily may not be exposed to nor reap its benefits.To join her mailing list and to learn more about her work and receive special offers, please click here.


6 Responses to “Yoga for a Peaceful Jamaica.”

  1. Ana Catalina says:

    Congratulations Nadine! As you well said, Jamaica is a paradox. But despite the violence, what surprises me the most is the lovely human beings that I have met in that beautiful island. So full of love, and so proud of their country and their heritage. Please continue with your efforts, because I truly believe jamaicans have the potential to embrace the spirit of yoga. Irie!

  2. flynnsamya says:

    This is beautiful and eye-opening, thank you. I too believe deeply in the connection between yoga and non-violence, so thank you for writing about your experience.

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