Learning to Bend But Not Break
Yoga in Namibia is growing, the many new studios arriving in Windhoek, Swakopmund, Oshakati and beyond to prove as such. But more than that, schools are offering yoga to students to manage stress and anxiety, different corporations are integrating yoga into their on-site wellness programs for employees, the Namibian Police force are being exposed to meditation training and the Indian High Commission are now offering three free traditional Hatha classes a day. With all the buzz about yoga in Namibia and the launch of a new Namibian yoga website that means yoga teachers across the country are a click away, 99FM’s Heart spoke to a group of qualified yoga teachers in Windhoek to talk about what the hype is all about.
According to Liezel Hoving, a Namibian yoga instructor and owner of the Bodhiroom in Windhoek, “I really believe yoga has the ability to help people heal on an individual level and thus also on a societal level. If we can help people create peace in their hearts, it will spread into their homes and communities.”
99FM’s MYD Heart asked Namibian qualified yoga instructors:
What is Yoga?
“Yoga is when your mind, your breath and your body come together in one space and it creates a feeling of ease. The word yoga in ancient sanskrit means to “pull together” or “to unite”. The practice of yoga involves movement, regulating the breath and focusing your mind. Yoga is often portrayed as a workout for flexible and fit people. The truth about yoga is that it is designed for everyone, regardless of age, body type, disability, cultural background or religious affiliation. If you have a desire to try yoga, it is for you.”
According to yoga instructor, Suzi Seha, “The roots of yoga stretch back almost 5000 years to the Indian Sub-continent. Yoga went through several phases as it grew into what we see as yoga today. About 2500 years ago a sage called Patanjali compiled the Yoga Sutras that provides the basis of yoga that we practice today.”
“Today, there are many different traditions within in the yoga community, all which have their roots in the Sutras. While initially yoga took time to take root outside of India, yoga has now become part of a broader world culture of movement and wellness. Millions of people around the world practice yoga regularly for the health benefits they receive from practice.”
“In Namibia, thanks to an increasing number of qualified yoga instructors, a growing number of classes to choose from and the efforts of different institutions, yoga is slowly becoming more accessible.”
How do I know which style of yoga is for me?
“Even though the yoga community in Namibia is young and small in numbers, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of yoga styles and certified teachers to choose from. Windhoek and Swakopmund have a more established yoga scene in Namibia but there is growing interest and enthusiasm in Oshakati, Okahandja and even Sossusvlei.”
For the newly launched directory for Yoga in Namibia, where you can find a qualified instructor near you, click here
Why would you advise us to start a yoga practice?
“The effects of a regular Yoga practice are long lasting and profound. You can see and feel good results very quickly.”
“Mind – According to Yoga Instructor, Beauty Boois: Yoga works at awakening and firing up the human mind, body and spirit simultaneously. Yoga is widely known for the physical postures (asanas), however what is less known is that the physical practice was designed to still, calm and control the mind. There is a growing body of scientific research that supports efficacy of yogic practices (postures, chanting, meditation and breathing) to create mental well-being. Here are just a few examples of some of these psychological benefits:
- Yogic practices draw us closer into the present moment. This meditative aspect allows us to experience a sense of peace, calm and relaxation.
- The breathing practices are very useful in learning how to regulate oneself emotionally in situations of high stress and anger.
- It can assist therapists and treatments centres in the holistic treatment of Depression, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
“Body – According to Yoga Instructor, Sigi Kolbe: The many health benefits of a consistent yoga and meditation practice has been experienced for thousands of years. The bottom line is that a regular yoga practise is good for you.
Yoga is well known for promoting flexibility, supporting weight-loss, building muscle and bone strength, improving posture and skeletal alignment, reducing injuries in athletes and maintaining a healthy and flexible spine. Perhaps less well known is the fact that yoga is effective in preventing disease and supporting healing and recovery from illness. Yoga helps to calm the nervous system, enhance brain function, promote lymphatic system drainage, reduces anxiety, boosts immunity & mood, drops blood pressure & helps you sleep more deeply.”
“Spirit – According to Yoga Instructor, Seodhna Keown : Runners describe the ‘high’ they feel when they find an ease in their rhythm, pace and breath. Artists talk about the moment of creation when distractions fall away and they become ‘one’ with their piece of art. In yoga, it’s not different. Our practice harmonises our breath, body and mind, allowing us to feel ourselves as part of a greater whole. Although some people do dedicate their lives to following yoga as a spiritual practice, this is not a prerequisite to enjoy the benefits of the practice.”
“Yoga is liberating: Yoga can put you more in touch with your true nature, giving you a sense of fulfilment, inner worth and confidence. By assisting you in reducing egotism and negative thoughts and emotions, Yoga has the power to bring you closer to lasting happiness. Yoga practice builds your willpower and puts you in charge of your own life.”
“Yoga enhances your awareness: Yoga enables you to greatly intensify your awareness; therefore, yogic practice empowers you to approach all life situations, even crises, with more clarity. Most significantly, Yoga puts you in touch with the spiritual reality that is the source of your everyday mind and awareness.”
“Every yogi’s journey is different. We learn things at different times in our life, and in different capacities. The most important thing to remember as you begin your yoga path… Practice, Practice, Practice. All is coming.”
The Science of Yoga and Stress, click here
Through discipline comes freedom by Eva Eichhorn, click here