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Story of a Jamaican Yogi who knows Sanskrit and teaches in China

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His name is Sasi, a Yogi, well versed in Sanskrit and he was born in Jamaica (a West Indian country with the influence of Indo-Caribbean culture). He follows Rastafari faith, teaches Yoga and lives in China. Well, let us meet an interesting globetrotter: Sasi Mair.

A divorcee and a language enthusiast who calls himself “a citizen of the world”, said “I still attract the same attention today as I did upon arrival a decade ago. There are not many black people in China. Certainly, not others who have hair looking like mine,” he laughs.

He was named Sasi by his Sanskrit master, Dr Ram Karam Sharma. “SASI” means: rabbit in the full moon’, reflecting the majestic and brilliant qualities of the lunar cycle.

Mair lives in one of the most famous cities of Chinese culture and history, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

Telling about his move to China he says, “I was recruited to teach yoga in China after a fellow yogi and friend also moved there to teach. I seized the moment because of my lifelong love affair with Eastern philosophies, culture and history. I also find the Chinese language a very fascinating aspect of their culture.”

Interested in learning Yoga? You might like this DVD on Yoga.

Mair has been studying Sanskrit past 10 years and has been teaching for three. Explaining about his love towards yoga he said, “The opportunity to teach yoga in China gave me the opportunity to verbalize Sanskrit in Chinese. Sanskrit is the language of yoga and it goes a long way back. It is an ancient spoken word.

Years after my initial interest in Sanskrit, I began to learn Sanskrit is also the root to many other Indo-European languages. My desire to study the yogic ancient text and exploring life and different approaches to speech all became a part of the influence on my life’s journey which led me to China.”

“Many people have wondered how I have learnt to master this language as a Jamaican,” said Mair, who also speaks French and Spanish. “I really wouldn’t say I have mastered any language, including English. I just have a passion to communicate and learn, so if learning another language gives me access to knowledge or allows me to arrive at a deeper understanding that is the path I will pursue. Learning the naked language is sometimes not the most acceptable way, but I find it’s the most effective way to get an understanding of culture.”

Having taught yoga for more than 20 years, he revealed, “I started yoga at age 15, growing up in rural Jamaica, so I guess you could say yoga found me, and since our introduction, we have never separated.”

“Everything goes back to the self, and yoga is about self-discovery. Ultimately, the older I get, the wiser I become. When I was a teenager, I wanted to save the world, but you soon realise that if you work hard on yourself, you can really make a difference. Self-awareness is a constant journey. Yoga is about transformation and a spiritual journey.”

Referencing the similarities of Rastafari and yoga, Mair concludes, “I have an inter-relationship and interconnection between my understanding of Rastafari and yoga. There is no clash, they complement each other. I embrace Rastafari as a constant evolution, a constant journey into self-discovery. An ongoing of creation, it’s not something that was created and then put down; it is a constant engagement, which is evolving, so there is no need for any dogma or any ‘isms’. Yoga and Rastafari are both focused on finding inner peace, and I have peace practicing both spiritual lifestyles.”

Telling about his 2016 resolutions, he said he has no time for monkey business.(Source-jamaica-gleaner.com)

Interested in learning Yoga? You might like this DVD on Yoga. 

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Tibetan Activist Sentenced to 5 Years of Imprisonment in China

A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence "unjust" and urging his immediate release.

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A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence “unjust” and urging his immediate release.

The main evidence against Tashi Wangchuk, who was sentenced by a court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province, was a 2015 video by the New York Times about his campaign for saving the Tibetan language, according to his lawyer.

“Today’s verdict against Tashi Wangchuk is a gross injustice. He is being cruelly punished for peacefully drawing attention to the systematic erosion of Tibetan culture,” AI East Asia Research Director Joshua Rosenzweig was cited as saying by Efe news.

Before his arrest, the 31-year-old activist had expressed concern over the fact that many Tibetan children could not fluently speak their native language, contributing to the progressive extinction of the Tibetan culture.

Representational Image: Tibetan Teachings
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Tashi must be immediately and unconditionally released,” demanded AI, pointing out that the activist had already spent two years in detention without access to his family.

Rosenzweig claimed that Tashi Wangchuk “was a human rights defender and prisoner of conscience who used the media and China’s own legal system in his struggle to preserve Tibetan language, culture and identity”.

In the New York Times video, the activist had highlighted “the extreme discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression that Tibetans face in China today”.

Also Read: An Attempt to Preserve Ancient Tibetan Literature

Non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized the prison term for Tashi Wangchuk, whose “only crime was to peacefully call for the right of minority peoples to use their own language”, a right safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution.

“His conviction on bogus separatism charges show that critics of government policy on minorities have no legal protections,” said HRW China Director Sophie Richardson. (IANS)