“My name is Shugu and I am a yoga enthusiast. I am passionate about all things to do with the human body, health, nutrition and fitness.”
I enjoy being out in nature, walking and hiking. I love to decipher words and enjoy poetry and learning new languages. I also dabble in a little bit of photography. All are a way of capturing moments, feelings and life. I run a business called Yoga Fitness
Growing up in Nairobi, my childhood was fun and lively. Although I enjoyed swimming I wasn’t sporty and I think I was always looking for some form of exercise that would keep me fit and challenged, and one that I would genuinely enjoy.
Looking back, I know if there was a yoga class, I would definitely have attended, especially when I fell and hit my coccyx (tailbone) at the age of 12.
I studied Computer Science at university and previously worked as Business Intelligence Analyst for a multinational company. [Yes, it’s a world away from what I’m doing now (teaching yoga) but bizarrely it was very good for my analytical mind. Part of my job involved travelling and teaching other people on how to use BI tools.. I realized I’m very patient and enjoy passing on my knowledge to others and empowering them. I also enjoy researching and solving problems.
How I developed an interest in Yoga …
When I first tried a yoga class at the gym, I remember thinking that it was not for me until my mum bought this yoga DVD a couple of years later. I loaded it, pressed play and the rest is history. I was hooked.
There were modifications for each level. Yoga spoke to me in a way no other form of exercise had before. I enrolled on a beginner’s course with a wonderful teacher who has been teaching for over 20 years.
I did have moments when I thought I wasn’t good enough but when I started being able to do postures that I hadn’t managed before I was amazed at how I felt; flexible, stronger, more toned with a beautiful feeling of lightness. I found myself researching, reading and subscribing to all things yoga.
No more retail therapy after work because I was either rushing back to my flat to do some yoga or attend a class. I tried out different types of yoga and learned so much, my practice has been growing ever since. I can choose from a physically strong demanding practice to a restorative one, depending on how I feel.
Yoga complements other forms of exercise perfectly. Having breath and body awareness increases longevity in the body as it improves skeletal balance and good alignment. I love that yoga is a work in progress. I am continuously learning new things about my body and my life in general. There’s always room for improvement, and when I fall I can pick myself up and start again.
What Yoga means ….
By definition, Yoga essentially means to yoke or bind. It is the union of the mind and the body which happens using ones breath. Yoga means many different things to many people. The breath is our greatest teacher, and we often hold our breath when we are stressed without even realizing it. Mind connects to body, breath feeds the pose, body lets go of tension. Each breath that you pull mindfully into a pose is a powerful breath. It frees the body, heals the body, bringing in nourishment and wellness. Each pose has a purpose and benefit. For example twisting is good for digestion and elimination and helps tone the abdominals.
I think yoga has steadily been developing a presence in Kenya. There’s still more to be done to educate people on the benefits of doing yoga. The first ever International Yoga day held at Nairobi University attracted 6000 plus, this was a really good endorsement
There have been a lot of misconceptions about Yoga; some say it is a form of idol or cult worship etc. I understand people’s concerns and worries. Yoga has a lot of metaphors which lead to misconceptions about what it is.
Far from a religion or cult, it is a beautiful practice that anyone can take up. The poses are literally designed to just melt away those aches and pains. For instance, I am working towards demystifying yoga by helping pregnant women, people who want to get into better physical shape, back issues, tight hips, strengthening the core and the shoulders.
We store a lot of tension in our bodies. Yoga is a great way to get rid of all those thoughts that rush around our head that clamp out our lives and give us tension when we really don’t need it. We just want to feel the freedom of our lives and be happy and enjoy it.
I currently teach beginners and improver’s courses, stronger dynamic yoga flow classes and pregnancy yoga. I also teach office yoga and private yoga.
I started my business Yoga Fitness towards the end of 2014. The idea started about 3 years ago when I had an epiphany that more people need to know about the benefits of yoga. I couldn’t believe something so incredible exists and very few people around me seemed to know about it.
I finally got the confidence to quit my job and go for yoga teacher training at Camyoga, Cambridge. It is a highly reputable registered yoga school offering accreditation with the Yoga Alliance UK. The course was very intense, with extensive reading on anatomy, physiology, human systems, kinesiology, biomechanics, body reading, health and fitness, yoga fundamentals and asana teaching techniques, history and philosophy of yoga and professional practice.
I also had exams and continuous assessments. I prepared to start teaching and got all my books, resources, teaching props (blocks, straps, mats etc) ready. When I finally qualified, I was elated and made the move to teach in Kenya. Once I settled down, I began teaching. Continuing professional development (CPD) as a yoga teacher is important as it ensures a high standard of teaching and keeping up with the latest techniques and developments. I also recently completed my pregnancy yoga teacher training at Yoga Mama, London in conjunction with the Putney Clinic of Physiotherapy. The course was very thorough and the facilitators included a midwife, physiotherapist, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist.
Practicing pregnancy yoga can help women adapt to the changes in their body in a positive way, through safe and effective yoga poses, breathing techniques and relaxation. Yoga is a wonderful and valuable asset in pregnancy empowering a mother-to-be to have the most conscious birth experience. If you’re pregnant you can start classes from the second trimester.
It’s never too late to practice pregnancy yoga. Whether you’re a gym addict or new to exercise you will find that yoga brings a calm strength and inner balance that enables you to overcome whatever challenges lie ahead. Pregnancy yoga promotes a healthy birth, develops stamina and strength, keeps you and your baby fit while the deep breathing and relaxation greatly empower you from within helping you to listen to your body, stay centered and respond calmly.
These benefits can continue long after birth when deep breathing is used to tone the pelvic floor into peak condition. In addition to helping you recover your figure and muscle tone it helps to keep your energies in balance as you draw strength from within to adjust to the demands of caring for your new born.
My family has been very supportive; my life partner Georgie has been a champion in supporting me throughout this process. I would say he is the wind beneath my wings.
My sister practices yoga regularly, she is featured in my blog – 10 Minutes with Jox. My mum attended my teacher training beginner’s course – I even did a case study about her! Both my parents recognize the benefits and do their yoga stretches every now and again. They lovingly keep yoga articles and information they come across for me.
Some of the challenges I have faced include finding good venues, convincing people that yoga is not a religion and that one can actually keep fit and healthy with yoga.
How to start doing Yoga
Here are a few pointers to get you started
- Identify your health and fitness objectives. Understanding your reasons , will help you identify the most appropriate class.
- Choose the right style for you and pick a convenient class. You want to minimize all possible excuses not to practice. I recommend going for a beginner’s class for an introduction to the classic body of yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing practices), where personal attention can be given in a safe and productive environment.
- Think about how you can build yoga into your day e.g. taking deep yogic breaths at the traffic lights or consciously relaxing your shoulders and arms when driving. Or even doing tree pose when brushing your teeth. A few rounds of alternate nostril breathing can be very beneficial in the office if you’re feeling anxious or stressed.
- Set a realistic home practice, even 20 minutes will make such a difference to your overall wellbeing. If you miss a day, no worries, start again afresh tomorrow with a clear conscience. Yoga is not a competition, listen to your teacher but more importantly listen to your body.” ‘
Want to Get in touch and learn more about yoga?
Contact me on 0701603995 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Class Locations: The Academy of Dance and Art, Rhino House, Karen Plains
Karen Country Club