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About Time You Met: The Africa Yoga Project
Paige Elenson is the lady behind Africa Yoga Project, a new initiative that helps educate, empower, elevate and expand employability with youth in Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Their vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness and become self-sustaining leaders in their communities. We sit down with Paige to discuss her latest partnership with lululemon, and more about how we can all benefit from a little yoga in our lives.
Read on here.
BBC World Service: Disability in Africa: Nairobi's Yoga Classes
Yoga Journal 2016 Good Karma Awards: Catherine Njeri and Walter Mugwe
Two Kenyan yogis are bringing mind-body practices to child soldiers, at risk youth, and aid workers in Africa.
Faith Ituru, Kenyan and visually impaired who teaches Yoga
Featured by Gama TV
[Gama.tv] How did the idea and the project to give yoga classes for visually impaired people?
[Faith] After finishing the course, I began teaching classes and things start to happen naturally. My friends with visual impairment began to appear and others as well. Soon the classes grew and the number of students rose sharply. Then everything happened naturally and when I saw people of various types were attending my classes. I was very happy when I saw this mix of students and all the integration that happened during the classes.
Read full interview here.
CNN Africa Voices (Video)
The man who beat a drug addiction with yoga
(CNN)Yoga mat in hand, James Njuguna walks around the neighborhood he grew up in: "When I wanted to go buy drugs, I'd go to one of these houses behind here and get... like anything I need", he reveals.
“It was a funny story,” she told me. “I think the practice discovered me.”
Read full artcle or listen to podcast here: http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-12-17/when-we-were-doing-yoga-they-forgot-their-differences
Africa Yoga Project was chosen as one of the 10 global nonprofits in the #UpgradeYourWork initiative!
When He Says Yoga Saved His Life, He's Not Exaggerating
August 2015 on NPR Daily Life
Read full Article here
Yes, it's a cliche: "Yoga saved my life." but...
By the time he was in his early teens, two of his friends had been "killed by a mob," he says. "I knew I was going to be the next person to die."
And then, yes, yoga saved his life.
ASHOKA INNOVATORS FOR THE PUBLIC
THE NETWORK JOURNAL
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Yoga's popularity has increased in the United States in recent years. Indeed, a 2012 study from the magazine Yoga Journal showed that the number of Americans practicing yoga has soared from 15.8 million in 2008 to 30.4 million in 2012. This means that more than 8 percent of U.S. adults... (read more)
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
The slums in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, are among the biggest in Africa. There is crushing poverty, high unemployment, poor sanitation and rampant crime. It is not the kind of place where you'd expect a burgeoning yoga scene to take root, but that's what reporter Jill Craig found.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOGA SESSION)
UNIDENTIFIED MEN AND WOMEN: (chanting) Ohm...
JILL CRAIG, BYLINE: Twenty-four year old Sophia Njoki has been a yoga instructor since Kenya's post-election violence of 2007 and 2008. During that time, she witnessed horrific acts being committed right outside her door in the Kariobangi slum - one of the hardest hit areas.
SOPHIA NJOKI: Here in Kariobangi, I was seeing people were cutted on their head, they were killed.
CRAIG: Njoki says that people were being wounded and killed by men wielding machetes.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOGA CLASS)
NJOKI: Inhale. Exhale slowly. Find a sitting position.
CRAIG: Today, she is teaching yoga on the crowded rooftop of a friend's apartment building. One of the 71 instructors in the Africa Yoga Project, Njoki gives five free classes per week in the slums. The project started six years ago and its instructors now teach thousands of people every month.
As Njoki's students do their moves on ragged mats, women doing chores step over and around them to hang up their laundry in the scorching noontime sun. Cars and motorcycles honk from the streets below and babies cry - not exactly the typical yoga experience in the West.
Yoga may seem a luxury for people living in the slums. But Njoki says that yoga was exactly what she needed to deal with her stress, and to help her stop using drugs and alcohol.
NJOKI: Because I see yoga has changed many lives.
CRAIG: Changing lives is precisely why Africa Yoga Project's co-founder Paige Elenson brought yoga to Kenya in 2006. While on safari the year before, she met some acrobats performing at the resort where she was staying. They lived and practiced in the Nairobi slum of Kibera and were eager to learn yoga, after Elenson taught them a few poses.
At their request, Elenson returned to Kenya to teach yoga to kids in the slums. She and her own instructor, Baron Baptiste, soon began training young people as teachers so they could earn a living while giving back to their communities.
Elenson began the training program at the end of 2007, which coincided with an explosion of deadly ethnic violence following a contested presidential election. She said yoga was healing.
PAIGE ELENSON: We said, wait a minute guys, get in the same room, get on your mats, and let's do yoga. And, you know, when you have a prejudice like that, if you're put in some intense challenging physical situation, after about 10 minutes, you pretty much forget that the person that's next to you is from a different tribe.
CRAIG: Sadick Kachisa is an instructor who agrees that yoga transcends exercise.
SADICK KACHISA: When you're practicing, on your mat, that is yoga. So, like, you have to apply yoga off the mat, whereby you have to do all the things like preaching peace, being humble, being there for each other, helping others when they need you.
CRAIG: For instructors like Njoki living and working in the Nairobi slums, yoga is what helps them stay positive.
NJOKI: For me, I know yoga is all about peace and love.
CRAIG: And she says that's what she's trying to preach when she's teaching yoga.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOGA CLASS)
UNIDENTIFIED MEN AND WOMEN: Namaste.
CRAIG: For NPR News, I'm Jill Craig, in Nairobi.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: This is NPR News.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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