By Millie Weke
Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on March 22, 2017
Story and photos by Anamaria Guerra Forero
Everybody arrived on time that day, full of motivation and smiling. They were proud of themselves for discipline to wake up early and attend to yoga class in their community, Kangemi, a neighborhood in an informal settlement in Nairobi. It takes courage to grow, and people here are always open to any opportunity life offers. You can see hope and excitement in their eyes.
It was Friday morning. We had the chance to join a class in the “Humble Youths community center”, where AYP teacher, Dylan Maina, has taught outreach classes for the past 3 years. The response has been powerful, people connect through yoga with themselves and with the whole group, transforming life's obstacles into possibilities.
They have created a vibrant community - Kaptagat - and every Friday they weave together their spiritual beliefs and strengthen them through the practice of yoga. The flow of Power Vinyasa Yoga, was heating the communal room, while the participants from 18 to 58 years old were keeping their thoughts quiet and trying not to worry about daily life, at least while the class goes on.
When the session starts, all of the participants reset their minds to the present moment. In the words of Stella, one of the participants, “yoga is healing”. For others it is the unique moment to be with themselves and to be conscious of their breath while they workout. The waves of the flow pushed us to work hard and while it was physically challenging, everybody showed a grateful attitude, sometimes sharing smiles to show support to each other.
The cycle of the flow takes us to Savasana, the final pose, that comforts us and allows us to visit and feel our whole body and spirit. Breathing in and breathing out, you could see through the eyes of some of the participants the benefits of this powerful practice, to connect within and without, and to spread connections through communities. To take a moment to breath deeply... simply allowing you to be.
This sacred space closed with a circle, a place for everyone to introduce themselves and share their deep thoughts with the rest of their partners. No matter how different we are, the color of our skin, the diverse beliefs, the socioeconomic background, WE BREATH AS ONE.