Bending tradition one handstand at a time: Africa Yoga Project comes to Steamboat Springs |

Bending tradition one handstand at a time: Africa Yoga Project comes to Steamboat Springs

As part of their U.S. West Coast Handstands Hugs & Happiness Tour, the Africa Yoga Project will make its way to Steamboat Springs thanks to their host, Rakta Hot Yoga.

In 2007, two American yoga teachers established a nonprofit organization in Nairobi, Kenya.

Their goal was to use the transformative influence of yoga to empower communities and change lives. The result is known today as the Africa Yoga Project.

The project will make its way to Steamboat Springs this weekend as part of its U.S. West Coast Handstands Hugs & Happiness Tour, thanks to its host, Rakta Hot Yoga.

A community dinner and dancing event was help Friday, and today’s events will feature a one-hour, all-levels, all-ages flow yoga class at 10 a.m. at Olympian Hall. Africa Yoga Project instructors will be available after class to talk about their work, mission and impact. Suggested donation is $10, cash or check only.

During the tour, two Africa Yoga Project instructors from Kenya lead classes and events, while learning about a new town and community. The two teachers traveling to Steamboat are Nicole Lekky and Kevin Ogutu, as well as Africa Yoga Project team member Sarah Hill.

"It's a program that takes young people who would be neglected and empowers them through yoga," said Grace Tennant, local Rakta Hot Yoga instructor, who also serves as a teacher-mentor for the Africa Yoga Project. "In this way, yoga has the ability to break down barriers such as education, language and different places people hold in society and looks past that to give people new opportunities and provide a connectedness to communities."

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The idea of the program, Tennant said, is to provide a scholarship-based, 200–hour teacher training course to residents 18 to 35 in Kenya, giving them an opportunity to spread health and well-being throughout their communities, while also providing them with a sustainable income.

According to AYP's tour news release, more than 200 local AYP trained instructors teach approximately 300 classes and reach 6,000 people each week in Kenya.

Baptiste yoga, Tennant said, is a form of power vinyasa yoga that also involves the practice of self-transformation through leadership and community service.

Africa Yoga Project retail items will be available for sale at all events, and all proceeds benefit Africa Yoga Project. For more information, visit @raktahotyoga.


If you go

What: Africa Yoga Project Community Yoga Class

When: 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 3

Where: Olympian Hall, 845 Howelsen Pkwy