This week we are looking at Yoga in and around Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Grassy Park. There is no point to pussy foot around the topic. Yoga in general is more readily available to those living in the more affluent parts of Cape Town and the surrounding suburbs. When I started doing my research on Yoga in these less well-off areas about 3 years ago I struggled to find even one teacher doing classes in these areas. I regularly get emails or phone calls from mainly working parents in the Grassy Park and Mitchells Plain areas asking if I know of anyone, (please, please, please), offering Yoga because they really would like to do it to help them with their stress and health. And I’ve come across hardly anything over the years, even though it seems like the demand is there.
I asked Yoga teachers and personal trainers why they don’t offer Yoga in these areas, (there is apparently only one Yoga class at the Virgin Active in Mitchells Plain), and the main answers I got were that the community is not committed, that it’s a struggle to find a safe, reliable and clean venue that is willing to be open after hours. So these factors, (safety, security and unreliable student numbers and hence income), play a major role in why there is such a lack of Yoga in these communities.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of organisations that have established over the last 5-10 years to introduce Yoga to the less well-off communities and townships, (especially local schools for children and teachers), but if we are honest with ourselves we need to acknowledge that Yoga and the physical practice as most of us know it, is still mainly accessible to the middle and upper strata of society who are able to pay for classes.
However, with a bit of prodding and poking on the internet I have come across the following that may shed some light on Yoga in the Grassy Park, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha suburbs.
The EarthChild Project has Yoga classes for children and teachers at a number of schools in the Khayelitsha area. However, they are already stretched to their max with the massive requests they receive on a weekly basis and hence regularly need Yoga teachers willing to travel out into these locations to help with teaching. This is a great thing for new and experienced teachers to get involved in.
Another fabulous organization is SevaUnite. They also run a lot of workshops and classes and are more readily available to set up classes for larger groups if a location or venue can be secured.
Apart from these two organizations I have found nothing, nada, zip, zilch on Yoga in Grassy Park, Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. If you know of any teachers or studios teaching Yoga in these areas, please share with us, because there is a massive request and we would love to spread the word.
Nina & Juanita