Regional Origin: Egypt, East Africa, Ghana and UK
Founding Seba: Pablo Menfesawe-Imani
Mainstream Popularity: Growing from the early 21st Century
Practice Emphasis: Attention to flexibility and the use of rhythm with a focus on the elements.
Derivative Forms: Kemetic Yoga, Egyptian Yoga, Smai Taui, Tamare Smai Tawi
Related Schools: Smai Tawi, Egyptian Yoga, Yoga Skills, Kemetic Yoga Association
What is Afrikan Yoga?
Afrikan Yoga founded by Pablo M Imani Khonsu Sekhem Ptah is a form of yoga known for its use of rhythmic movements, to the sounds of drums which aids in heating up the body in order to perform Sayunaats/Postures. Adequate natural body heat and energy generation minimises the risks of injury or strain when doing static postures.
There is an emphasis of elemental body awareness and breath. The development of flexibility, mobility strength, and endurance are emphasized through dance and postures. Afrikan Yoga is firmly based on the movements of the Neters/Neteru as found on the temple walls at The Temple of Luxor, The Temple of Horus at Edfu and on the scientific methods as mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus Edwin Smith Papyrus Rhind Papyrus the oldest books in the world known as The Pyramid Texts.
Egyptian Philosophy of Maat as expounded by the Egyptian Book of the Dead known as the 42 Precepts or commonly refered to as the ‘Negative confessions’ or ‘Declarations of Innocence and the Ten Virtues of the Initiates’, the wisdom texts include:
Non-violence (Philosophy of Imhotep and Akhenaton)
Balance of mind: right thinking, right reasoning
These are comparable with the Noble Eight fold Path of Buddhist Dharma. The teachings of Amennakht, Ptah Hotep, Kagemini, Tehuti/ Hermes Trismigistus and Seti I as found in the Tomb of Seti I (1350 B.C.E) predating the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (200 B.C.E).
The yoga sutras yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana and samadhi are integral within the teachings of Seti I and so is established within the disciplines of Afrikan Yoga.
Afrikan Yoga has 9 main disciplines:
Smai science of the breath
Steadying of the mind or meditation
This form of Egyptian Yoga, focuses on energy development and emotional cleansing of the physical and emotional body through the development of movement and postures.
Through the practice of a system of Sayunaats/Postures commonly called Asanas, its use of Hanu movements Raagus African Dance and Hudu African Tai chi aims to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being. This discipline is considered a powerful tool to relieve the stresses of modern-day life which in turn can help promote total physical and spiritual well-being.
Afrikan Yoga is characterized by its attention to rhythmic movements and precise focus on breath. Menfesawe-Imani pioneered the use of affirmations, drums, stretch-bands, sticks, crystals and stones held in the hands and the elements Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Ether, which function as aids for combining body and psycho-spiritual awareness allowing beginners to experience movement and postures more easily and fully than might otherwise be possible without several years of practice.
An emphasis of co-ordinating movement, dance and awareness of muscles, internal organs and emotional effects of movements are emphasized in Afrikan Yoga. They are said to release emotional blockages, increase vitality, improve circulation, libido coordination and balance, ensuring a strong foundation for meditational poses.
Unlike the Western and Indian approaches where students are fixated to static movements of the body and suppressed emotions an Afrikan Yoga class is verbal and lively with precise instructions and corrections to movements and postures. A typical class encourages freedom of movement in the hips, torso, arms and legs.
How do you become an Afrikan Yoga Teacher?
Afrikan Yoga Teachers complete at least two years of rigorous training to reach Level One. This is requirement for teacher training known as Seba Set where training is intensive after which further training is required for another year or two to reach Level Two Seba Ptah. A requirement of a teacher is to undergo Insight/Sia Meditation training known as Vipassana amongst Buddhist, this along with Noble Silence from seven to nine days for inner transformational work performed annually. Another requirement is to training in a chosen alternative therapy to obtain greater sensibility to the human condition.
When you have studied practices other than yoga it makes you more of a rounded teacher and it’s simply another service you can offer at any given time
Teachers may complete subsequent intermediate levels and senior levels of certification.
In Egyptian yogic tradition followers of the Nebertcher or Neteru are known as the circle of Semu or Shemsu incarnated Neteru priesthood, teachers are known as Seba or Sebai, doctors Sunnu and Masters Nub, Neb or Nebu. Nebu meaning lord or master another meaning is golden, in alchemic terms one who as transformed himself from base metal in to gold.
This is symbolic of the work required to develop oneself in to a better person through the system of Maat.