A Pan-African Perspective
Kamili Yoga® is a 21st century Afrocentric system meant to connect Black practitioners to their African roots and educate non-Black practitioners on African knowledge, all through Yoga. Kamili Yoga® does not claim to be the teachings of an ancient African Yoga system that has been practiced for thousands of years. Neither does it exist to assert that the origins of Yoga are solely in Africa. This contemporary Yoga system is an exploration and celebration of cultures, traditions, and histories of not just the African continent, but of the African diaspora throughout the world.
This is done through various simple yet significant methods: incorporating East African Swahili terms and West African Adinkra symbols; upholding community through South African Ubuntu and North African Ma’at philosophies; encouraging Self development through Black psychology frameworks; learning about historical Pan-African ancestors and events; and engaging in physical Yoga practice as a sacred ritual. Space is also held to address social issues that impact Black lives in order to find healthy, practical Self care techniques in the face of globalized systemic and racial oppression.
Yoga is Universal
Though the literal term “yoga” is of South Asian origin, the concepts within Yoga belong to all of humanity. Civilizations all over the world and throughout time have developed their own ideas and methods of reaching enlightenment; “yoga” is simply the systematization of particular ideas and methods from a particular society and era. Now “yoga” has spread and evolved, and the creation of yoga-labeled systems is no longer limited to India and South Asia.
This is why Kamili Yoga® is a genuine Yoga system. Its purpose, like all true Yoga systems, is union. The pillars of Kamili Yoga® are union with Self, union with others, and union with Spirit; this union is simply sought through Pan-African cultural knowledge rather than Indian or Western. And unlike many colonized forms of “yoga” that focus mainly on perfecting body poses, Kamili Yoga® follows in the inspirational footsteps of its Indian and Kemetic predecessors by emphasizing a holistic practice that addresses not only the physical being, but the emotional, mental, and spiritual being as well.
Kamili Yoga® is an answer to numerous needs. The need for more culturally diverse Yoga systems. The need for more Yoga systems that de-center Whiteness. And the need for more Yoga systems that recognize the beautiful depths of Black and African being.