- It is widely practised for health and relaxation which involves meditation, breath control, and body postures.
- Many different interpretations and styles have been developed which portray liberation from suffering as the ultimate goal of yoga.
Yoga has been practised for thousands of years and is still ongoing to date.
This activity originates from ancient India under a spiritual and ascetic discipline.
It is widely practised for health and relaxation which involves meditation, breath control, and body postures.
Many different interpretations and styles have been developed which portray liberation from suffering as the ultimate goal of yoga.
A 29-year-old, freelance Yoga instructor, Grace Mwihaki Ranji, shares her history, experience and benefits of yoga.
Mwihaki began practising Yoga in January 2016 while she was still on campus.
At this time in her life, she was stressed and was looking for a solution to better handle this situation.
After three months of consistently engaging in this activity, it changed her life and her issues became easier to handle.
She felt general body changes in her mind, body and soul.
Mwihaki decided to learn more about the activity that was gradually making her life better and in 2018 she joined Africa Yoga Project which is a yoga community based in Parklands.
She engaged here for two hours a day, the following year they announced that they were offering training for a yoga instructor.
She signed up and after did a 200hr teacher training.
Additionally, she has done several other certifications that include a 50 hr Yin yoga at Trauma Informed Teacher Training, Thrive 365 one-year online course at the Ascension Academy of Light, YOD ( your own determination) which is a combination of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises with yoga.
While doing this, she started up an outreach programme with a children's home called Morning Star at Gichocho, Kiambu.
Mwihaki is currently in a 3-year academy that runs through this year.
She gradually elevated her profession and it peaked in 2020 when there was a surge of the Covid virus.
This is where she became a hiking guide at Let's Drift company and in-cooperated offering yoga classes to hikers in nature.
Her love for nature and yoga became something she could share with the rest of the world.
Her clientele expanded through hiking and she began hosting events such as Yoga Adventure and Art, Plants and Yoga.
"Practising Yoga with a community builds up a connection. I love bringing people together through my work," she said.
"I must say that most people think Yoga is for ladies but that's not true. It cuts across all genders and I am happy that I have male students as well."
She said that it is not limited to age, anyone can do it, from children to adults.
She finally opened her own Yoga company called Explorers Yoga where she trains clients in private and in groups.
The group classes occur every Friday at JK and M dance studio at Ridgeways along Kiambu road and charge between Sh500-1500 per person per class.
She offers private sessions in the comfort of clients' homes for Sh1500 - 3500 per hour and the price reduces with consistency.
Through her personal experience over the years and instruction, the young and vibrant yoga instructor gives the benefits of this activity.
1. It gives general mind and body wellness
Mwihaki said that this refers to the balance of the physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of a person.
"This is what saved my mental health when I was in a stressful season. I was in a very bad place but yoga gave me a chance to feel better mentally," she said.
2. It opens up the physical aspect of the body
The Yoga expert said that this activity not only helps improve the body's wellness but also helps in gaining mobility, agility, body strength, balance, flexibility, toning and general fitness.
Deep breathing and slow movements could increase blood flow and warm up muscles while holding up a yoga pose could gradually build strength.
“Instead of going to the gym, you could opt for a Yoga routine,” Mwihaki said.
“I noticed significant body changes a few weeks after I began practising Yoga, my body became toned and I gained body strength. This gave me the courage not to mention the confidence to continue pursuing it.”
3. It enhances mindfulness
This refers to being present in the current moment or rather being conscious and aware of something without judgement.
It increases both inner and outer awareness of thoughts emotions and surroundings.
“Yoga enhances awareness of the present moment and this aspect helped me deal with my issues better, without judging myself or the situation I was in,” she said.
4. Helps you get in touch with nature
“Most times the beauty in nature is assumed and ignored nonetheless, yoga helps you get in tune with nature by creating a deeper connection to it making you appreciate it more,” the yoga expert said.
5. Yoga helps you relax and sleep better
A consistent yoga routine especially before going to bed can help you get in the right mindset.
This could also prepare your body to fall asleep and contribute to better sleep.
“When I experienced sleepless nights due to the stress I was going through, Yoga helped me sleep better. A few poses made me relax,” she said.
6. It could brighten up your mood and increase your energy
Most people think Yoga is for ladies but that's not true. It cuts across all genders and I am happy that I have male students as well," she stated.
“They experience fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practising yoga,” she said.
7. It increases intuition
This is the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning.
“Yoga helps in boosting our intuitive instincts which help us get through life better,” Mwihaki said.