The first Canadian Handstands, Hugs & Happiness Tour
Africa Yoga Project (AYP) spread the Baptiste Yoga Practice - infused with lots of AYP style handstands, hugs and happiness - across Canada from May 22 to June 19. We had the pleasure of getting to know amazing people, practicing in beautiful places and truly transforming from the inside out. Read about the HHH 2017 Canada tour in this special personal reflection by AYP teacher, Millie Weke
by Millie Weke
For more information about our upcoming tours, please see - we can’t wait to meet you on the mat, wherever you are!
NAIROBI— When I first heard that I was chosen for the Handstands, Hugs and Happiness (HHH) tour, I was full of happiness and excitement. But I was also a little bit overwhelmed - this was the first time the tour was happening in Canada! Last year, we took the HHH Tour to the US and it was a great experience. Remembering those moments, I began the journey with my mind relaxed, ready to do my best, teach as many classes as my schedule allowed, inspire people with my story, make my Africa Yoga Project family proud and grow as much as possible!
We departed Kenya on May 21st, arriving in Vancouver, Canada on May 22nd, where I was greeted by two familiar faces from a previous tour and our most recent 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Kenya, so I was instantly content and comfortable. Together we toured around Vancouver and I even visited the Lululemon headquarters, where I arranged to teach some some yoga classes and met with the Lululemon crew who came to Kenya last year to shoot a documentary. If you haven’t seen it, make sure to click here!
From Vancouver we discovered vibrant cities, unbelievably beautiful countryside and friendly towns across Canada including Whistler, Elphinstone, Banff, Kelowna, Medicine Hat, and Toronto with a final US stop in Minneapolis.
Everyone at each stop welcomed me with open arms and huge smiles! What they say about the friendliness of Canadians is true! When I found myself in a new home, I went with the rhythm of the place and discovered new things about yoga, Canada and myself.
The whole trip was full of classes and our schedule overflowed with amazing experiences! One of the most impactful was camp yoga ‘a unique yoga retreat that unites your inner ‘way-back, play-back camp-life-kid’ with your ‘adult-yoga-and-wine-matured-self’ — that’s right; this yoga camp has wine, as well as canoeing, SUP, campfires, hikes, food, live music, dance, and more’ in Elphinstone. I remember hoping that I would only have to teach yoga and I was a bit nervous for my first camp experience. But, I unexpectedly fell in love with it. Camp yoga was such a magical place - I felt like it was a place I truly belonged.
Camp Yoga Photo credit: Ben Owens
While I was teaching yoga in the studios across Canada, I often had to share my personal story. Sometimes, I felt like I didn’t want to share who I am because I felt so different from everyone else in the room– and also so tired. But I came to realize that people aren’t tired of listening to me and these people came to this class because of me - and so, I should let them feel whatever they will feel when I’m with them. I learned to find strength by letting other people in.
By teaching and speaking a lot about Africa Yoga Project and my beautiful country, Kenya, I also realized that yoga has helped me accept myself. There once was a distressing voice that used to tell me I wasn’t good enough, but for now that voice has been silenced. And that’s a major change. I learned that everyone has a story to share and it doesn’t matter where you come from, whether you’re rich or poor, whether you live in the slum of Nairobi, or somewhere in Paris, your story is your story and we should all practice to focus on the future, rather than let the stories of the past define us.
To all of the hosts, friends, students and family who support our HHH tours, thank you!
And for the first Canadian tour, we could not have done this tour without our very special friends of AYP who are also now great friends of mine!