I just returned from a Karma Yoga Service Trip to Nicaragua. My friend, Elizabeth, and I led a group of 10 people through 6 days of community service, yoga, connection, and relationship building in a small Nicaraguan town called Jiquilillo. It was incredible on so many levels. What was amazing to me was all the connection that occurred over the 6 days.
On the day we were traveling to the airport, I came down with a “bug.” It was a pretty severe stomach virus which caused me to have to use the bathroom about every ten minutes. We had a 4 hour drive to the airport some of it on a bumpy dirt road. My stomach was reeking havoc the whole time. What was amazing to me was the way the group was able to “take care” of me. We joked, we talked about the funniest movies we ever saw, etc… Every time I was focused on the group and laughing, I didn’t experience distress even though I was sick. Once it got quiet, I started to notice the nausea and stomach cramping. Now I know those feeling were there the whole time I just wasn’t focusing on it when I was engaged in the group.
This is what it is like in a yoga class for me. Even if a pose is difficult or causing me some physical distress, I look to the group, listen to my neighbor breath, and the distress disappears. This is also how I saw a lot of our time in Nicaragua. At one point during the trip, we went to cook and serve lunch at a garbage dump where thousands of people live. While the food was cooking, many of us played with the local children. We were blowing bubbles, playing soccer, and face painting. The kids were over joyed because the focus was on having fun and not on what they did not have.
We had a lot of jokes and laughs on the Karma Yoga Service Trip to Nicaragua. A big take away is what we focus on, we give energy to and that laughter is one of the best medicines for really anything!