Marseille was a massive challenge

 

The Phocean city was the first step of our journey. What was our experience? What were our biggest challenges? our greatest successes? What did we learn? What happened to the programs we initiated? Here are some answers, our feelings, and some pictures of our daily life.

Callanque de Callelongue, in the south of Marseille.

Callanque de Callelongue, in the south of Marseille.


It feels really good to help others!

Nasera and Zineb during a sharing circle. Both live with psychic disorders. At the end of all our classes, we give to the participants the opportunity to share their thoughts and emotions with the rest of the group. In the above session, we talked about grounding and asked them to draw a tree that best represented them.

Nasera and Zineb during a sharing circle. Both live with psychic disorders. At the end of all our classes, we give to the participants the opportunity to share their thoughts and emotions with the rest of the group. In the above session, we talked about grounding and asked them to draw a tree that best represented them.

It is not easy to measure the impact of what we do because we do not always receive signs of appreciation. That being said, we realize that giving does not necessarily mean offering a complete, perfect, or original yoga class. Above all, it means being present, caring, and respectful to our students by being on time to our workshops, holding space for compassionate listening, and sharing our enthusiasm. These intentions make what we do purposeful and urge us to go further! "To give is to receive" said Abbé Pierre.

 

Working as a couple is not easy every day :)

Carrying yoga mats for our weekly class with refugees! That night, it was cold and raining, and no one came to class. Some days were more difficult than others, but we tried to uphold each other to better face them!

Carrying yoga mats for our weekly class with refugees! That night, it was cold and raining, and no one came to class. Some days were more difficult than others, but we tried to uphold each other to better face them!

Running this project with your life partner and so much autonomy has undeniable advantages: we work from wherever we want, whenever we want to, and our work sessions are generally lively and friendly. Valuable qualities which cannot be appreciated without a dash of discipline! Our first weeks in Marseille were quite chaotic and we sometimes got off balance regarding our professional responsibilities, our couple life, and our individual growth. At that time, it was not rare to debrief about our classes during dinner, or to find one of us opening his laptop to work over the weekend. Since then, we have established some ground rules that have helped us maintain a healthier harmony!

 

But living this adventure together makes us stronger

Last November, in the train from Marseille to Paris where we facilitated two workshops for incarcerated men in the detention center of Reau - Sud Francilien.

Last November, in the train from Marseille to Paris where we facilitated two workshops for incarcerated men in the detention center of Reau - Sud Francilien.

We learned a lot about ourselves. Embarking on a social mission with vulnerable populations exposed us to unexpected experiences and heartwarming, yet sometimes overwhelming, encounters. Certainly, there was joy, crazy laughters, and lovely surprises but also discouragement, worry, and frustration. Some of these emotions were not always easy to catch on the spot but we took our time to observe them and talk about them. It helped us grasp them better. Such situations have revealed new facets of our personalities. Today we have a clearer idea of our strengths and our weaknesses and feel we can better face the rest of this adventure.

 

We understand better the challenges of the populations we work with

Lola and Charlotte at La Timone Children's Hospital in Marseille. Every Wednesday, we visited Lola and the other children to share meditation, visualization, and breathing practices. The enthusiasm of this little girl was edifying.

Lola and Charlotte at La Timone Children's Hospital in Marseille. Every Wednesday, we visited Lola and the other children to share meditation, visualization, and breathing practices. The enthusiasm of this little girl was edifying.

What is the daily life of a child fighting cancer? How does a sex worker take ownership of her body? How does a convicted offender apprehend his next years of incarceration? Our specialized trainings have given us effective tools, but experience on the ground remains the best teacher. Spending time with all of them has taught us so much about their lives, their stories, and their struggles. Now, we have a better sense of how to adapt our classes to our audience: A 12-year-old child diagnosed with cancer is not sensitive to the same practices as a 60-year-old woman living with a mental illness.

 

All our partners wish to continue the programs!

We are proud and happy to let you know that all our local partners have shown a keen interest in continuing the classes after our departure! We are actively working with them as well as with local yoga teachers to sustain the programs. We will keep you informed of the progress in the next letters!

Najoua, her daughters and Madeleine during one of our classes at the residence Le Moulin.

Najoua, her daughters and Madeleine during one of our classes at the residence Le Moulin.

 
Ludovic Baussan