By Hadeel Hegazi
Yoga, the famous Indian sport, is a performed by people from various ages and genders to unite the spirit with the body.
The sport is still quite new in Egypt, but it is quickly spreading. Some people might think that yoga is merely a set of stiff postures, but it is, in fact, more than just body positions.
Yoga is different from any other sort of exercise because it aims at training the body whilst putting the mind in a meditative state. It is a spiritual practice as well as an intense form of exercise. The sport depends on warming up the body using steady and continuous breathing while stretching. Many people do it as a means to lose weight. Furthermore, it plays a psychological role in improving the mood and decreasing anxiety.
Yalla Yoga is an Egyptian yoga centre, which opened in September of last year in Heliopolis. The centre does not only offer yoga classes with all its different types, but it holds events about the practice and also offers massage services.
“We organize yoga workshops and classes; we run yoga classes for children and pregnancy yoga as well”, said Nadia Carolina Ismail, the centre manger.
The centre was established by Sandra Shama Kaur, a yoga trainer,” I started the centre with my friend Ahmed; he is my friend since school”. Shama Kaur and Ismail are the current yoga instructors and they hire yoga teachers from all over Cairo for yoga courses. “The yoga classes go through three phases, the breathing exercises which work on calming the brain; the yoga poses, and the deep relaxation”, Shama Kaur explained.
Shama Kaur affirmed the fact that there are different types of yoga, as well as medicine, and that each type has its teacher. Shama Kaur recounted how yoga is essential and beneficial, she said “yoga is all about attaching the breath to the body; it is like the traffic signs, if you are angry you need to take a deep slow breath, and so on”. She explained that people tend to deal with tension the wrong way like eating too much, and that’s why yoga is important for clearing the mind and regulating breathing.
Shama Kaur explained how yoga is stereotyped in movies, “yoga is not about the half lotus pose and deep breaths; meditation for beginners is very boring as they have tons of ideas in their heads. It is an advanced level of yoga, where you can stay quite a long time meditating with a clear mind”.
Yalla yoga in addition to classes, organizes workshops on a weekly basis. “Every weekend we have workshops about yoga, they lasts for two to four hours; they are more of awareness sessions and a good chance for beginners to learn in depth about yoga”, Shama Kaur said, “We had workshops about team building and yoga, as for next week we are having the workshop about vegetarianism.”
The centre offers events for yogis from time to time; the last event they held was a retreat during the New Year, “we did yoga practices besides meditation at El-Fayoum last year, we are organizing the same event for the coming New Year too”, said Shama Kaur .
Shama Kaur finally added that the centre works on training teachers as well, “we have begun with nine students, Nadia and I gave classes for training the teachers last February and we still give it for the coming December.”
The centre is a pretty, comfortable place in Heliopolis; their slogan is learn, laugh, live.