A sense of calm engulf you immediately you enter the all-white room. A petite woman of Asian origin, with striking long grey hair held low in a single pigtail, eases all anxiety with her warm smile.
For the last eight years, the Kamwokya-based Raja Yoga Centre has been 66-year old Jasuvanty Bhikha’s instrument for impacting lives through meditation and self-awareness classes.
BK Jasu as she is fondly known among her students, is considered a spiritual ambassador in the Indian community, a vital figure who facilitates spiritual and cultural ceremonies that promote togetherness and a sense of family.
However, she has since gone beyond her community to reach out to Ugandans and other nationals. Jasu often works with other NGOs such as the Inter Religious Council of Uganda and Nile Basin Initiative to facilitate community dialogue with the aim of achieving peace. Borrowing a leaf from her Kenyan brothers, Jasu launched the Write To God campaign in 2014 that will eventually be published as a book of national prayers.
Having a background in the corporate world, Jasu is more than aware of the stressful environment in the workplace and approaches various companies to allow her give free meditation courses and classes on personal development and positive thinking.
“Positive thinking and personal development courses are perfect for those who are not sure that they are ready for meditation but would like to understand the workings of the mind better, gain greater clarity and learn how to manage their thoughts,” Jasu explains.
What is Raja yoga?
Raja yoga meditation is one of the Brahma Kumaris practices used for almost a century that helps anyone connect with their inner self to help them find life’s true meaning. “Raja Yoga gives a practical understanding of the relationship between spirit and matter, as well as an understanding of the interplay between souls, God and the material world which is very helpful in attaining clarity of mind,” she explains.
“Raja Yoga meditation is the foundation but we also have other classes such as consciousness and self-realisation, connection and relationship with God, the Law of Karma, the Cycle of Time, the Tree of Life among others that facilitate your inward journey,” she explains.
Apart from meditation, Jasu teaches various other courses and practices that lead to self-realisation and enlightenment.
Jasu acquired Raja Yoga knowledge in 1976 while working as a bank executive in Zimbabwe and in 1981; she resigned her job to take up service for humanity.
Starting out her service in her native Zimbabwe, Jasu was sent to Uganda in 2010 and for the last eight years, she has made Kampala her home save for the brief trips abroad for retreats. The centre which is open from 6am till 9pm everyday has a regular following of about 55 students, a mix of Ugandans and Indians, who drop in for meditation and courses at various times during the day. Every year, Jasu facilitates multiple public workshops and retreats featuring world renown gurus and motivational speakers from India and America.
The workshops are usually on the art of stress-free living, becoming a master of your thoughts and feelings, applying the gentle art of self-reflection, tapping into the natural positivity of the mind, finishing negative, energy-draining language and self-talk and developing a constantly positive attitude.
“We do these workshops because we are aware that no matter how successful we may be, almost all of us could do with a self-esteem boost. Being reminded of our power helps us face life confidently and peacefully,” Jasu notes.
Jane Sanyu, one of the regular students at the Kamwokya centre says she was taught how to identify different forms of stress and the effects it had on her well-being, how to identify the triggers of stress and was equipped with practical tools to enable inner change.
These workshops are very popular because not only are they free but also because they are devoid of religionism and are geared at the average person.
It also does not hurt that there are always delicious refreshments and opportunities for networking. The activities are funded by the Brahma Kumaris an international NGO supported by the United Nations as an instrument for world peace.
Jasu emphasises that yoga is not a religion, but a spiritual practice that makes life more meaningful. She believes that it can equip one with wisdom and a peace of mind that will propel one to realise one’s utmost potential.
Tomorrow read about Annet Kajumba, championing against domestic violence.