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Having heard about Cyclone Thane that hit the ICYER (International Centre for Yoga Education and Research) Centre in Pondicherry, India, where yoga teacher, Sonia Allen-Wall, once studied, our own local guru decided to put her money where her mouth is, and undertake a sponsored silence to raise money to help those affected.
The cyclone hit the coast late December, bringing down walls and power lines and killing at least six people in the region as rain and gale force winds lashed at anything standing. In the aftermath, the ICYER ashram lost electricity and water supplies for over 2 weeks, an entire wall on the ocean side which was torn down, 75% of their trees uprooted, 10m of land was lost to the sea and the Kutirs (thatched huts) that housed the students were destroyed, leaving the ashram devastated but luckily no students were harmed.
To help, Sonia, of Mere Syke, Shap, undertook a sponsored silence to raise funds to give hope to the centre.
“Yoga is about so much more than performing exercises; the fundamental goal of yoga is a ‘joining together’ and it is in times of hardship that this is most important. Yoga is a community as well as a practice, and although it may be easy to ignore those issues affecting others so far away, we should treat each and every hardship within the community with the same respect and determination, regardless of international boundaries. “
Two of Sonia’s students, Helen Jones of Tebay, and Sonia’s youngest student Corrie aged 9 of Shap, were so inspired by the story that they joined in Sonia’s sponsored weekend silence for 24 hours showing their great compassion and support. Together, they raised over £500 to go towards helping rebuild the ashram.