Pictured from left: Catherine Nyambura, Walter Mugwe, Kevin Owino, Anita Njeri, Catherine Njeri
Think you traveled far for Yoga Journal LIVE! at Estes Park, CO last weekend? Think again. Flying 9,000 (yes, 9,000) miles from Nairobi, Kenya, a group of five Kenyan yoga teachers joined yogis from across the U.S. to practice and play. Dedication at its finest. The teachers are all graduates of Africa Yoga Project’s teacher training and leadership programs, created in '07 by Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga teacher and social entrepreneur Paige Elenson. Africa Yoga Project works to educate, empower and provide job opportunities to youth in Africa, reaching over 6,000 students in 80 locations. In Kenya, 105 graduates of the program are working as professional yoga teachers, with 60 more throughout Africa. Find out more, including how you can get involved in AYP’s service trips to Uganda and South Africa in 2015.
Plus, meet AYP's coalition here—we asked these teachers to share thoughts on yoga and their first experience at YJLIVE!
“At the Yoga Journal LIVE! I felt connection and togetherness, like we were all one. I’m really happy because that is what I’m bringing back to my students and my community when I go back home.”
Catherine Nyambura, 21
Catherine teaches 20-30 homeless street children per day, including a weekly class for kids with special needs.
“One thing I got from Yoga Journal LIVE! was to distinguish between being a teacher and a leader. I experienced being a leader as a space for magic to happen and I’m really excited to go home and make magic happen through this practice.”
Walter Mugwe, 26
This year, Walter became the first Kenyan to lead a 200-hour yoga teacher training.
“During the training at the Yoga Journal LIVE!, I learned the lesson of bold leadership. I’m going to be a role model to my community when I go back to Kenya-- I’m going to spread the message out and give a lot of yoga lessons!”
Kevin Owino, 26
Kevin teaches more than 300 students a week, including special classes for epileptic students.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, yoga is for everybody in the world!”
Anita Njeri, 24
Anita is the studio manager at the Shine Center, Africa Yoga Project’s community wellness center.
“I got to practice being a teacher and a student. It was amazing to be able to be a student and be guided by others and also reversing the coin and leading others was also an amazing experience.”
Catherine Njeri, 28
Catherine is the director of teachers at Africa Yoga Project, and leads prenatal yoga courses at AYP and a women’s empowerment group.