VISION + MISSION
“Africa Yoga Project educates, empowers, elevates and employs youth from Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Our vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining and leaders in their communities.”
LVY are proud supporters of AYP and are excited to share some of their inspirational words with you. Here’s what they had to say :
What inspired you to launch Africa yoga project?
In 2006, I was on safari in Kenya with my family when I saw a group of young Kenyan acrobats doing handstands. As a yoga teacher, my first reaction was to jump out of the vehicle and do handstands with them. Little did I know this brief connection would forever change my life. We stayed in touch and they asked me to come back to Kenya to teach yoga, after two trips, each one more inspiring than the last, I decided to provide yoga teacher training, which led to the Africa Yoga Project.
I have been inspired by teaching and practicing yoga, and find great joy in sharing that with others. The acrobats I first met, followed by many more students who become teachers, yoga helped build a growing Kenyan community with AYP. In 2007, with post election violence, the need for peace building, community building, and positive employment was very apparent- at a time when Kenya was experiencing sharp divisions along ethnic lines.
What change or difference have you seen so far?
Apart from the community benefitting from physical, mental, health benefits, this program has been able to educate, elevate and empower members of the community by providing employment training and community service opportunities. Africa Yoga Project empowers over 250,000 Kenyans a year through the power of yoga. Our 98 (soon to be more, we just completed another teacher training) AYP teachers see no boundaries of sharing this practice. They teach in prisons, schools, special need centers, HIV/AIDS support groups, deaf schools and rural villages.
Do you think yoga as a lifestyle and practice can solve or help solve many problems?
Yoga means community, service, and well-being to me. I think that embracing the practice, community service, and self-reflection can create hundreds of sustainable jobs and healthier communities.
What is your happiest memory since starting AYP?
Our teachers come from impossibly challenging environments, from poverty and vulnerability that we as people of privilege cannot even imagine. And yet these young people, many of whom lived on the streets and were considered the least valuable members of society, have transformed to become leaders in their communities. By giving them support and training as yoga teachers we have also given them confidence to believe in themselves, to see that they are valued and valuable. No matter what the world throws at them, now they have the courage, and strength, to handle it. Moses, our first Africa Yoga Project teacher, once said ”I used to be the guy that when I was walking down the street, people would cross to avoid me. I was taking from society. I now find myself being followed. People call “teacher., teacher”. I am now contributing to my country.” As eloquent,Walter, whom many of you may know as a Yoga Journal Model said I” used to use my hands for stealing, and now I use them for healing.”
How do you see this project growing in the future?
AYP plans on becoming the biggest and highest quality yoga training academy in Africa, where we graduate the best-of-the-best wellness experts. The potential of a billion dollar wellness industry in Africa still remains largely untapped, but our instructors/graduates are slowly filling the niche. AYP will train and support the leadership of Kenyan and other African leaders for the industry.
What inspires you in everyday life?
I am inspired to working hand in hand with Kenyans to build a world I am excited for my daughter and all of the world’s children to love in.
How do you deal with negativity?
When you say yes to an opportunity and lead with your heart, anything is possible. So we need to just keep saying yes to the opportunities in front of us to make a difference for other people. I focus on the positive change that will come about as a result of my actions and keep going.
Where do you see the project in 3 years?
We plan on being the biggest and highest quality premier yoga training academy in Africa. If you would like to get involved with AYP and show your support, check out their website.