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Afrikan Yoga: What Is It And Where Does It Come From? Some people think that the yoga only comes from India, and they get surprised when they hear about Afrikan yoga. This type of yoga is similar to the Indian form of yoga – in theory. However, the details vary greatly. The origins of Afrikan yoga come from Egypt, Ghana, East Africa and even the UK, which combines the tribal dances of the different African tribes with Hudu, which is also known as African tai-chi. Afrikan Yoga and Its Roots In ancient Egypt, there is a practice similar to yoga called Smai, and this is a predecessor of Afrikan yoga. This is an ancient tradition that has been practiced even centuries older than the type of yoga done in India. The similarity between the two is that it also involves postures and meditation along with mantras. The history of Afrikan yoga is best explained by Pablo Imani, an instructor and guru. He has written a whole book on the subject, explaining the practice and its history. According to him, the historical origin of yoga is not in India, contrary to popular knowledge. It actually stems from Africa. He explains that Herodotus, a Greek historian, has documented that the ancient Indians and the people of Ethiopia were one of the same people. Ancient India was the colony of Ethiopia before, and the people of India were once referred to as Dravidians, who were Kushites. It also helps to remember that ‘Kush’ was the name of a kingdom in ancient Africa. Difference from “Western” Yoga How is Afrikan yoga different from western yoga? To be clear, what Pablo Imani calls as “Western” yoga is the type of yoga which originated and is practiced in India. The main difference is that this yoga type has fewer postures. They only have twenty-four to thirty-six posture positions. Likewise, it also incorporates dance and tai-chi. There is also a great question on why “Afrikan yoga” is spelled with a ‘K’ – Imani explains that the letter of his choice contains the word “KA”, or spirit. Also, Afrikan yoga does not use the Sanskrit; rather, it makes use of Medu Neter or Nuwapic, which is the ancient language of the Egyptians. Uniqueness of Afrikan Yoga Afrikan yoga is ‘smai tawi’ – the union of two lands. This refers to the union of the body and the spirit, the balance between the masculine and feminine side of the body’s energy – which we can relate to the yin-yang symbol of the Chinese. There are also several health benefits from Afrikan yoga. Imani says that Afrikan yoga helps improve the energy levels, mental alertness and peace of mind. It can also help normalize the breathing, strengthens the muscles and tones the body. It is also more dynamic since it does not involve postures but also dance-like movements. Afrikan yoga is an excellent form of exercise which can also give you peace of mind, increased levels of energy to go through the daily tasks, and form a balance between the different aspects of your life.
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