Yoga Unites was officially founded in 2014 by Fazilah Bazari, a fully-qualified yoga trainer and life coach; and Allan Mogerema, a yoga teacher, artist and acrobat. Our mission is simple: to bring yoga to areas populated by at-risk youth and instill lifestyle strategies which can positively impact their communities.
We have seen how yoga transforms lives by healing from the inside out. Yoga is one of the most powerful therapeutic practices in the world and improves not only physical health but mental and spiritual well-being as well. We have seen yoga profoundly impact many different individuals regardless of the their social background.
We use yoga and acrobatics to bring lasting change to the lives of youth and to encourage them to live a life that is responsible, respectful and resourceful.
Before Yoga Unites was set up, Fazilah worked with CPL Limited who sponsored a Youth Empowerment and Transformation Project. The project worked with a similar mission for at-risk youth in the urban settlements of Papua New Guinea.
Allan was one of the young men totally transformed by this project. The philosophy we have is similar in that we are using the transformative power of yoga to bring change inwardly, and then express it outwardly.
The program also trained and mentored many youth and other individuals. These youth had zero chance of going back to formal education or being hired in formal employment. Among the youth in this program, four went on to be qualified and certified as Yoga Unites teachers within a period of just two years. Our teachers are encouraged to be the change they wish to see in the world so we inspire them to lead this change in their own community. All of our teachers adopt the yogic philosophy and live a life of service to their community whilst also generating income for themselves.
The population of at-risk youth in Papua New Guinea is escalating at alarming rates. More and more youth are finding it harder to find a job. They grow up in poverty, without any role models to guide them in environments that are abusive, corrupt and without any basic resources to channel their energies positively. As a result, crime escalates as youth join gangs that lead them to negative lifestyle habits.
Youth are full of energy and vibrancy and are a wonderful asset to their communities if they are nurtured in a way that promotes positive lifestyle choices. We offer our free yoga classes as a form of awakening.
We target settlements where at-risk youth live. We piloted our first program at Paga Hill community where Allan is from. We also offered classes in Port Moresby Technical College and at a Secondary school.
We did this so non-school going youth can interact with youth already in school. Having a mix of individuals greatly improves our team-building activities. Some youth were trained in acrobatics and showcased their creative talents in art and performance.
We like to have all-age groups during our community events to expose youth to the feeling of working together with people from all walks of life and to the joy of giving back and helping one another.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, yoga is known as Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodaha. The basic definition of Yoga is to “eliminate the fluctuations of the mind”.
The word 'Yoga' has its root in the word 'yuj', which means union, letting the drop fall into the ocean. 'Chitta' is the one of the four aspects of our mind concerned with thinking and worrying. A 'Vritti' is a distraction or a temptation that wants to lead us astray. Vrittis are fluctuations of our mind; they are trying to pull us in all different directions at the same time instead of aiming towards the same goal. 'Nirodaha' means mental calmness, to bring peace.
To bring about balance of mind and body, it is the fluctuations of our mind that are to be extinguished. And yoga helps us to do that.
The physical postures or “asanas” were specifically developed to help a person create stillness in their body and bring purification to allow the energies in the body to be regulated in an efficient way. Millions of people across the world are practicing some form of yoga on a regular basis. The health benefits of yoga are well documented and far ranging. Yoga increases flexibility, muscle tone as well as an overall feeling of wellness. It is both physically and mentally beneficial. Yoga is also used therapeutically to address stress and fatigue, depression, trauma, anxiety and it also helps to manage addictions, which is very important for youths in PNG.
Yoga Unites work with Correctional Services in PNG. Our goal is to work with inmates at the juvenile prison and help them to find healing and educate them in some of the yogic principles: At the BPYP, we teach youth to adopt a more holistic lifestyle by teaching them the principles of Non-Violence (Ahimsa), Truthfulness (Satya), Non-Stealing (Asteya), Self-Control/Moderation (Brahmacharya), Non-Egoistic (Apigraha), Cleanliness (Saucha), Contentment (Santosha), Self –Study (Swadiyaya), Willingness to undergo Self reflection and Purification (Tapas) and an attitude of Surrender to the Divine and to the Love of all (Iswara Pranidama).
Our goal is to work with the prison system to establish a daily yoga practice as part of the inmates’ routine. We hope that through yoga, they can find their own peace and place back in society and to bring healing to their minds and body. The valuable lifestyle habits they learn from this practice will then hopefully be adopted in their life after prison. The program is currently being held once a week in Bomana Prison. We are also hoping to offer the youth a Teacher Training Program while they are inside so they can come out as agents of change upon their release and help them integrate back into the wider community.
We identify at risk young people for our program, and then use the transformative power of yoga as a tool for change. We also incorporate acrobatics and team-building activities into our sessions. Our approach is towards mindfulness so our youths can take what they learn during our sessions and apply it to their own lives.
We teach youth in settlements, prisons, detention centers as well as areas where youth are particularly at-risk, under-educated, under-employed or living on the streets. Our teachers also have basic training in trauma healing and counseling.
Yoga Unites welcomes Yoga enthusiasts from all over the world to join us in our community classes as well as support and mentor teachers through community workshops.
We need yoga mats, blocks and props, we need yoga books and any relevant reading materials that our teachers and students can use. We also need financial support to pay salaries to our teachers, administrative costs (printing t-shirts, making banners, printing brochures). Donations can be made to our Bank Account: to be updated.