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Yoga can help improve mental health, and international studies have shown its benefits for those living with HIV or TB


Ten years from now, I’d love to see yoga happening regularly in every township in South Africa and its neighbouring countries. That would be amazing


from drugs, so an outdoor yoga studio at his house will be a wonderful thing for that community.


What can health club operators learn from your experience? The main reason the Township Yogi Project works is that yoga is brought into the heart of the townships. If more health clubs went out into their communities, they would engage people who, after a few sessions, might be more inclined to make the effort to attend classes at the clubs. It’s also about making things


accessible and relevant. When our volunteer teachers take people through the yoga poses, they often relate them to activities people do in their everyday lives. For example, Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) is something women working in the fields do all the time, so


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teachers can teach this pose by referring them to what they do all the time – but showing them how to do it correctly.


Where would you like to see the Township Yogi project in the short and longer term? One of the principles we’ve always followed for the Township Yogi Project is letting things happen naturally: we try not to be too prescriptive, letting the growth of the project happen organically. But ideally, a year from now, I hope


the Township Yogi Project will be well-established in townships in major provinces in South Africa, and that we’re constantly training new yoga teachers from within the townships, giving them a new skill and the chance of employment. Five years from now, I hope the


Township Yogi Project will be running in countries bordering South Africa, and


that the power of yoga will be spreading throughout southern Africa. We’re already looking at Namibia as the next country into which we’d like to expand. Ten years from now, I’d love to see yoga


happening regularly in every township in South Africa and its neighbouring countries. That would be amazing.


Would it work outside Africa? Definitely. It’s a simple principle and one that can work anywhere. There are similar townships in countries all over Africa, as well as in South America and many other Third World countries, which would certainly benefit from a similar model. Wherever we take the Township Yogi


Project in the future, I hope to be able to impact families, neighbourhoods and broader communities and bring about lasting, positive change. ●


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 37


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