AcroYoga - A Language of Perfect Union

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 13:43 p.m. EDT, 3 February 2014

Acro Yoga, Partner Yoga, Photo by Greg RobertsThe mission and focus of this website informs the presentation and dialogue about stories on gender relations with a particular emphasis on women’s’ rights. Consequently, we report on stories from around the world in which women are not allowed to realize their full potential either through force or circumstance.

Unfortunately, most of this aberrant and abusive behavior is perpetrated at the hands of men, though in some cases, like Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) or Leblouh, women also participate in abusing their daughters in an effort to make them conform to inhuman societal norms.

But, not every man is bad, nor every woman abused. In fact, the state of mankind is not as dire as it seems despite all our bad behavior, and millions of men and women across the globe experience healthy and loving relationships.

Balance in reporting is as important as it is in life, and the video below featuring a husband and wife practicing AcroYoga or partner yoga is a beautiful illustration of the best in us as humans. Though this is demonstrated through yoga, one need not be a practitioner to achieve the highest ideals of harmony and peace between all people as there are many paths to this destination.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL4kfGpa5E8] For some people, the path toward peace and enlightenment is achieved through religious observance and a belief in a higher power. For others it is meditation or actively living consciously by being aware of our impact on the world and other people so that we don’t accumulate negative Karma.

For others, it is a combination of all of the above and yoga. I fall into this category as I regularly practice yoga. In Western societies, most practitioners use yoga as a form of health and fitness similar to pilates which is an exercise created by Joseph Pilates to strengthen and stretch the body to achieve a strong core.

However "the traditional purpose of Yoga, has always been to bring about a profound transformation in the person through the transcendence of the ego," (Feuerstein, Georg. The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice. Boston: Shambhala, 2003)

According to the Levy, “Yoga in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism means "spiritual discipline”…..It is an activity that has been practiced for thousands of years, and it is something that has evolved and changed overtime…..the exact history and origins of yoga is uncertain; however……the earliest signs of yoga appear in ancient Shamanism. Evidence of yoga postures were found on artifacts that date back to 3000 B.C.

Evidence of Yoga is found in the oldest-existing text, Rig-Veda. Rig-Veda is a composition of hymns. Topics of the Rig-Veda include prayer, divine harmony, and greater being. Yoga originally focused on applying and understanding the world. Its focus later changed to the self. Self-enlightenment became the ultimate goal.”

Though many may take umbrage, at the end of the day “When all's said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it's not so much which road you take, as how you take it.” ~ Charles de Lint

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xECiTdgy9nE#t=93]

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The Cap of Prostitution

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 16:35 p.m. EDT, 19 April 2010

AFRICA - The practice of female genital mutilation entails the partial or total cutting away of external female genitalia. Traditional healers, birth attendants, or elderly woman usually carry out the procedure, usually in septic environments.

The clitoris is excised with crude instruments such as knives, razor blades and broken glass without anesthesia. During post surgical healing the girls are at greatest risk of infection, and the agony they suffer is exacerbated by the lack of access to pain medication.  In lieu of this herbal solutions or poultices are applied to check the bleeding and lessen the pain.

This crude and hazardous procedure is grounded in and surrounded by various myths, misconceptions, and superstition nonsense. For instance, the ritual is performed as a rite of passage to prepare young girls for womanhood and marriage. The belief that it prevents a woman from giving birth to a stillborn child is also quite prevalent. In some parts of western Nigeria it is regarded as a taboo for the head of a child to touch the mother's clitoris during delivery. Some of the proverbs that support and underscore these mythical postulations include:

  • "The clitoris is a cap of prostitution which the vagina wears from heaven."
  • "If we don't clip the clitoris, it is going to be asking great sacrifices of the penis when it grows."
  • "The fortune gathered by the penis is taken up by the vagina."

Even though these beliefs predate the coming and spread of Islam, traditional African practices have subsequently become closely related and allied with radical Islamic teachings, traditions, and customs. Africa is a deeply patriarchal society. Men dominate the socioeconomic and political machinery and organizations. Men are regarded as natural leaders who are superior and born to rule over women.

Women are considered weaker vessels who are merely extensions of men and secondary human beings. The pride and dignity that women feel in these societies is derived from and dependent upon men. Hence, African societies attach more value and importance to a male child than to a female child. Ten daughters are not worth a son. No woman is regarded as complete or real until she gives birth to a male. Delivering a son gives a woman pride and a place at her husband's home.

It is said that every married woman stands with one leg in her husband's house until she gives birth to a male child. Like the many traditional societies in China, India and the Middle East, the traditional African value system is fundamentally biased against women and is gender insensitive. Thus, in many parts of Africa, girls as young as seven are married to men old enough to be their fathers, and in some cases their grandfathers. Parents often marry their daughters off before they are old enough to decide for themselves. When the issue of dowry comes into play, the girls are literally treated as chattel that can bought and sold, thereby becoming the property of the purchaser who can then use her as he deems fit. This usually culminates in rape, physical abuse, abandonment, or murder.

Women are further diminished through the practice of Polygamy which is another traditional custom that prevails in Africa. Men are licensed to marry as many women as "they can afford" to support. Therefore, theoretically the number of wives a man has can infer his level of wealth or business acumen. However, as with any "status" symbol, many women are acquired as wives by men who are ill-equipped to care for them or the offspring that are borne to him. As part of this tradition, upon the death of a woman's husband, the eldest man in the family inherits the woman and she is evicted from her husband's house while her children and property are confiscated. Source: Excerpted from text written by Leo Igwe. Mr. Igwe is director of the Centre for Inquiry in Nigeria. He can be reached at nskepticleo@yahoo.com.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDJyZIPvExY]

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