What is Kamili Yoga®?
Kamili Yoga® is an Afrocentric system for Black holistic wellness. From the African Swahili word for “complete” and the Indian Sanskrit word for “union,” Kamili Yoga® is born of the need for more systems of Yoga that center and celebrate cultures of the African continent and diaspora. Kamili Yoga® consists of three structured core tenets, each of which is rooted in the exploration of Pan-African knowledge and traditions, from the African ancestors spread across the Motherland to the Black descendants dispersed around the world.
Kamili Yoga® is about creating complete union. Specifically, we work on:
- “Personal Principles” for Union with Self
- “Social Principles” for Union with Others
- “Spiritual Principles” for Union with Spirit
Together these three categories of principles create the KANUNI TATU. This is the first core tenet of the Kamili Yoga® system. The KANUNI TATU, KiSwahili for “three principles,” are rooted in Black psychology, African community philosophies, and universal elements of African spiritual traditions. There are 21 total principles in the Kamili Yoga® system, and each one is necessary for complete union with Self, with others, and with Spirit. For a lost connection with one can mean the lost connection with all.
Complete union with Self by focusing on your individual growth and development through each dimension of soulful being: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and universal.
KANUNI za KIJAMII
Complete union with others focusing on your community connections and healthy relationships with others through the African philosophies of Ubuntu and Ma’at.
KANUNI za KIROHO
Complete union with Spirit by focusing on your connection with the Divine Source through alter work, prayer, and sacred disciplines based on your personal faith and belief systems.
“The Complete Ritual”
Most colonized Yoga practices use motion solely as body-focused exercise. In Kamili Yoga®, we go deeper. We use motion – along with sacredness, breath, energy, and meditation – as a wholistic ritual of soulful expression that honors our connection to the Divine. IBADA KAMILI, KiSwahili for “the complete ritual,” is the second core tenet of Kamili Yoga®.
Originating in West Africa, Adinkra symbols represent proverbs and philosophical concepts, and are culturally used for decoration on clothing, pottery, and other items. In Kamili Yoga®, they are used as visual and verbal affirmations to uplift the soul, as well as to focus the mind and heart during meditation and prayer.
ELIMU NA HEKIMA
“Education and Wisdom”
Part of the global struggle of the African continent and diaspora is having our oral traditions destroyed by colonizers and being kept from our histories by slaveholders. In present day, we must choose to seek out lost knowledge to reclaim our personal and collective power. We must connect to more of our rich and diverse Pan-African cultures, both ancestral and modern, through the intentional study of our Black legacies and African heritages. This conscious pursuit of “education and wisdom” is expressed in KiSwahili as ELIMU NA HEKIMA, which is the third core tenet of Kamili Yoga®.
Throughout history, Black queer folx have been a cornerstone in social movements, and despite homophobia from their own people, continue to support and uplift their communities. Kamili Yoga® is an inclusive and affirming system, and honors the contributions of LGBTQIA+ Blacks and Africans to the struggles of liberation, from Civil Rights organizer Bayard Rustin to Marsha P. Johnson of the Stonewall riots to co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors.
One of the most widely spoken languages of continental Africa, KiSwahili is used to translate key terms of the Kamili Yoga® system. Doing so helps Black practitioners embrace one of their many ancestral links to the Motherland.
The Kamili Affirmation
My body bears strength, solid and firm
I am earth
My heart burns pure, a passionate flame
I am fire
My mind flows freely, calm and clear
I am water
My spirit breathes gently, a sacred breath
I am air
My being is empty of ego, yet encompasses all
I am space
My soul is a reflection of all existence
I am life
And I am complete
Written by Eternity Philops. Copyright © 2020