As director of Global Village School in Ojai, California, I recently had the opportunity to host Nepali teacher and visionary, Chintamani Yogi. Yogi Ji visited us as part of his six-week tour around the U.S. He shared chanting, stories, and reflections; told of his work in Nepal; and left everyone with much food for thought. His presentation truly did take place in ‘sacred space.’ There was such a special loving feeling in the room. It was a magical evening.
Yogi-Ji has had ample opportunity to reflect on educational strategies during his 25 year tenure at HVP, during which time enrollment has grown from seven students to 1,200 students. He has come to the conclusion that the kind of education a child receives matters a great deal. Truly engaging and informative education needs to value culture. Education that does not address a student’s culture takes learning out of context, which makes it difficult for the child to relate information to their daily lives or to value their own traditions.
Yogi Ji also reflected on how his perception of the US has changed during his trip across the country. He spoke of how he saw a different America – very different from the way most Nepalese see the U.S. So many dream of coming to the U.S., imagining that life is like what they may have seen in movies: money and Manhattan. Yogi Ji said they would be amazed to see people practicing yoga in places like the Sacred Space Studio.
Mr. Yogi also met with staff at Krotona and the Ojai Foundation, where he found many parallels to his own vision of service, sustainable living, and creating community mindfully. He stated that, “All the good people whom I met here have touched my heart. I feel a great joy and satisfaction. All the good people have broadened my vision and energized me a lot; their love has become like a blessing for me.