Africa Yoga Project to celebrate ‘Ten years of Unity’

Africa Yoga Project (AYP) performers rehearse their routines
Africa Yoga Project (AYP) performers rehearse their routine.

Africa Yoga Project (AYP) will celebrate ‘Ten Years of Unity’ with an open invitation to its AYP Day on November 25th at The Alchemist.

The event will feature a ‘silent yoga class’ led by certified Level II Baptiste Yoga instructor Rufus Ngugi. Ngugi, who is deaf, leads classes using movement and eye contact to energize and inspire his students and batting the floor when it is time to move to a new pose.

Known for teaching powerful free yoga classes to over 6,000 people in marginalized communities each week, AYP instructors talents extend far beyond yoga as they range from dance, acrobatics, juggling, acro yoga, beatbox, martial arts and contortionism.

While the performers represent different backgrounds from across Kenya – along with performers from Uganda and Tanzania – they rehearse as one community excited to share their talents with an audience of all ages.

“It doesn’t matter where we come from, when we perform acrobatics together we have to trust each other more than anything, that the person who is supposed to catch you will not drop you. No differences can get in the way,” said Catherine Njeri, AYP Director of Teachers and acrobatic performer.

AYP has trained teachers from 15 different African countries and other regions of Kenya. Saddam Yusuf Shariff who hails from Mombasa earned a scholarship to the annual 200-hour yoga teacher training with the organisation last March. He is now part of the three year AYP Academy, which offers a wide range of instruction in employability and life skills, such as health, nutrition, marketing, and communications, alongside further yoga instruction.

“Yoga means connection and the practice has helped me to connect with others, to inspire and be inspired, to build understanding of my inner self and each other,” said Shariff who will be performing as a contortionist.

“Since I finished my teacher training, yoga has been a tool I use to reach youths who are vulnerable to joining gangs, using drugs, or being involved in unlawful activities, which are likely to destroy their future,” he added.

AYP performers rehearse their routines
AYP performers rehearse their routines.

Peace building, civic engagement, and civic leadership are central tenants of AYP’s activities, built around a three-pronged model that also focuses on youth employability and on developing the yoga/wellbeing market across Kenya and the rest of Africa.

Over 300 people gather every Saturday at AYP’s Shine Center at Diamond Plaza for a free 2-hour community yoga class.

To be eligible for the AYP Academy, youth must come from marginalized communities, and to receive the training, they must return to these communities as role models providing free wellbeing support and an example of what is possible for others.

Partner yoga, acro-yoga, arm balances, and yoga stretches that can be done during conferences or work meetings in normal street clothes round out the AYP DAY program, which will feature both afternoon and evening performances of the Talent Show, followed by a dance party.

This event is suitable for all ages and participation in workshops is included in the entrance fee! Kshs. 500 Adults, Kshs. 250 for Children. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Africa Yoga Project Shine Center or at the door.