Santa Cruz’s only regular AcroYoga instructor is putting the finishing touches on her African travel plans. Amy Impellizzeri (elementalbalance.org) and fellow Santa Cruz yogi Rachel Sattinger (lovetokenya.org/about) have raised more than $10,000 for the Africa Yoga Project (africayogaproject.org), and will travel as ambassadors to Nairobi, Kenya next month. In Kenya they will embark on a five-week adventure full of teaching, learning, and traveling, as well a half-week walking safari to visit a school funded by the Africa Yoga Project.
Impellizzeri knows the trip won’t be all fun and sunshine. She describes the uneven dirt floors of one of the yoga studios where she will be teaching, with bullet holes in the walls from the not too-long-ago violence that rocked the city of three million.
When asked why she got involved with the Africa Yoga Project, Impellizzeri holds out her necklace, with the words “Unity/Possibility/Peace” written on it, and simply says, ”I believe this is possible.” One special connection for her is that another Acro Yoga (acroyoga.org) teacher, Paige Elenson, started AYP. While at her Acro Yoga teacher training, Amy saw a video about Elenson and AYP, and when her teachers asked, “Who wants to help her?” Amy’s hand went up. She was just as surprised as anyone else in the room to see her hand in the air. Now she is getting ready to teach yoga to students who live on less than $2 a day, many of whom are living with HIV/AIDS.
For the uninitiated, AcroYoga is an acrobatic form of yoga. Impellizzeri teaches weekly classes in Santa Cruz and around the South Bay. Practitioners hold one another in the air, balanced on each other’s hands or feet, and a lot of time spent upside down, allowing gravity to undo the pressures of the day. Impellizzeri hopes to bring the transformative power of AcroYoga to her students in Kenya, and expects that her time there will have transformative power in her own life as well.
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