Research 2013 - Susan Russell

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The impact of yoga on my life constantly evolves, as if I was in a high jumping event of my youth. The bar keeps being raised ironically by me, and I somehow manage to gather the strength, courage and sprit to ascend over any height that is set. I have grown more than I could have ever imagined as a result of constant practice. Surrounding myself with people who want to be empowered and knowing that what we choose today and each day impacts the whole world, has created an environment which continues to prove that our dreams can really happen. I am extraordinarily motivated to help, to teach, to train, to practice, to grow, to learn, to create, to evolve, to share, to give. The practice of yoga has changed my life. I want to spread the word that even in the darkest moments of one's path, there is light and for me that is the practice of yoga!

Africa Yoga Project was an idea and an inspiration of a person I so admired, Paige Elenson, I first heard her speak of this idea in 2008. AYP was in creation and inspiration mode. Paige stood in front of a group of people to make her intentions known and also to get clear with what was about to explode. In hindsight, I am sure that what is now created is bigger than she imagined, as is the case with most of my dreams. That initial conversation has inspired me to send and support the journeys of 5 people to Africa to support this cause as well as contribute to the travels of the first teacher trained with AYP. Now it is my turn to see first hand, grasp and then bring back to my community the AYP magic. Prior to this, I thought I would be the armchair traveler, not this time!

The inspiration for this research mission is how we bring about a new way of being to all who have struggled and who are not able to meet their day to day needs in our own city. I truly believe that researching how AYP has worked and creating qualitative and quantitative evidence will allow our team to create projects in Buffalo, NY, as well as show the world that this can happen wherever and whenever a city, state, region, or country is in need of positive and sustainable change. I now have a tremendous opportunity to help grow the AYP success on an even grander scale with so many other dedicated and special people. Together, we will raise the bar higher and soar.