The Power of Om

The Africa Yoga Project transforms lives through yoga

May 2, 2012

Practicing yoga in Kenya. (Image from the upcoming documentary about the Africa Yoga Project)

Namaste and downward dog are not words usually heard in Eastern Africa, but the practice and love of yoga is quickly spreading to the eastern continent thanks to the Africa Yoga Project.

Q&A: Meet The Woman Who Brought Yoga to Kenya

Yoga enthusiasts believe that yoga not only supports physical and mental well being, but also has the power to change lives; it’s this notion that spurred Paige Elenson to mastermind Africa Yoga Project (AYP) in 2007. AYP offers free yoga classes to over 4,000 students a week, while busily working on other projects like building schools and funding educational, health and environmental initiatives.

Local AYP teachers are personally trained by Baron Baptiste, a prominent figure in the yoga industry, and show an incredible dedication to the practice in addition to spreading the benefits of yoga to their communities. 

Most of the beginner yogis hail from the violence-stricken and impoverished slums of Kenya, surviving on less than $2 a day. Yet according to the project’s patrons, practicing yoga breaks down barriers and is a unifying force in the community. “I can really see a change in my students, since starting yoga they have really become strong, “ says Margret, who teaches yoga with AYP. “They don’t have the fear that they’re going to die anymore, now they think about what is next in their life, they think about the future.”