Once a week we turn this space over to news for and about our alumni, who are such an important part of life at Liggett.
“What we achieve inwardly will change our outer reality.” This is a quote by Plutarch that alumna Charlotte Waldmeir ’09 has been reciting in all of her yoga classes.
Charlotte, who graduated from DePaul this summer and whose aunt, Maureen Zamboni, teaches in our Liggett Lower School, has been teaching yoga full time in Chicago. She says that her journey to inner peace has roots in her Liggett education.
“I believe that the path to my career is very much connected to Liggett and the amazing community I was a part of there for so many years. I was involved in the athletics program where I played field hockey, soccer, basketball and volleyball. I was also involved in the arts, painting and drawing every chance I could get in Mr. P’s art studio. The reason I gravitated to yoga post high school was because personally, I saw yoga as the union between being in the physical world and in the creative world that I had created while at Liggett.”
When asked why she loves the Plutarch quote, Charlotte explains, “The world starts with our own inner selves. In a way, we paint our experience with a brush dipped in our own character. Inner conflict, depression, self-doubt, anger — all of these personal burdens affect the outside world and the reality that everyone lives in. And that’s where yoga comes in. When you walk into a yoga studio you instantly dedicate yourself to inner peace. You remove disturbances and listen to your own breath. You focus on the truth of your senses and ignore your thoughts. Breathing through challenging postures, you practice patience, self-awareness, and compassion. Your newfound peace then radiates to those around you, creating genuine connections and a universal peace.”
Through this work, Charlotte is now embarking on a new endeavor to spread peace and provide support to those who need it most. She has teamed up with a unique nonprofit, the Africa Yoga Project, to use the teachings and practice of yoga to educate and empower people across East Africa. Charlotte will be travelling to Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2014 to work on service projects and participate in yoga classes with local Kenyans. She is also raising funds for the organization to directly aid the Africa Yoga Program.
The organization, founded in 2007, offers 350 outreach programs a week that reach 6,000 people. Activities on a weekly basis include: yoga practice, meditation, self-exploration through inquiry, performing arts as a vehicle for empowerment, health education (HIV/AIDS), relationship building and community activism. In addition, the organization trains locals to become yoga instructors and then hires them to teach many of the courses. More than 200 people have been trained so far.
Charlotte is so excited to join this amazing group on the upcoming trip, and we will follow-up with her early next year to find out more about her time with the program. Interested in more information? Visit the Africa Yoga Program’s site here and Charlotte’s own website about the trip here.
By Savannah Lee
Are you an alumnus/alumna involved in a cool project like Charlotte? We would love to share your story! Contact Savannah Lee, Alumni Relations Manager at 313.884.4444, Ext. 415 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your information.