Yoga In Uganda: An Interview With Timothy Kasango
Timothy H Kasango, is a yoga instructor in Jinja, Uganda. He became an instructor just over a year ago. We see so many dedicated yogi's and yogini's in Uganda at our Jinja Community Yoga Class. Timothy has been coming for a few years. It was so exciting and beautiful to see him take on this opportunity with such love and passion. I was thrilled to be able to sit down and talk with him about his journey.
LA: Timothy, please tell us a little about yourself and why you became a yoga instructor.
TK: My name is Timothy Kasango, and I am from Bujagali, Jinja Uganda. I am an Africa Yoga Project teacher in Uganda. I have been working as a yoga teacher since April 2015. I decided to be a yoga instructor after experiencing the benefits of the practice. In 2013 I took a few classes with a visiting yogi who set up a class in the shade of a tree. Then in 2014 I started to regularly attend the Jinja Community Yoga class. I noticed after practice that I was more patient and accepting of what the day would bring, yet at the same time able to be true to myself and strive for my goals. After seeing how Leyla (Founder of Jinja Community Yoga and Yoga Uganda) was able to bring people together by teaching yoga, and the fun and laughter in the class I was convinced I wanted to do the same.
LA: Tell us about the connection between yoga practice and community work from your perspective. How do they connect and strengthen one another?
TK: The word yoga means to come together – the community work I do allows yoga to be accessible to everyone, it allows us to come together no matter what our financial background is, what religion we follow; it is good for us no matter our health or our age. In my community the elders worry about educating their children, school fees and many other things. When we practice yoga we are present, not worrying, planning or remembering. We get to leave the past behind and after practice can visualize a happier, more contented future. So yoga brings us together. I see yoga making people calmer and children better focused and able to listen.
LA: What types of yoga do you teach and practice?
TK: I teach and practice primarily Baptiste Power Yoga. Baptiste Yoga is a strong practice that holds true to the spirit of its creation while remaining accessible to anyone. It seems to suit our Ugandan bodies which are used to sweating, bending and moving. Its transformative qualities reach beyond the mat. I also teach some Acro Yoga with the orphans, it helps build connection, trust and is fun. The children love it.
LA: You teach yoga in many different contexts and probably some of the people you meet have perhaps never really heard of yoga. How do you introduce it to them?
TK: Yes, we do meet people who have never done Yoga before. Some people have heard the word Yoga and think that it’s a religion. I focus on the physical part of Yoga, the movements of the body and the physical benefits of the practice. I often hear from a beginner, ‘I’m not flexible enough to do Yoga’ or ‘Once I lose weight I will come take a class.’ I understand their fears -- I felt the same way. There were moments during my first class where I thought I could not continue, I thought I would collapse and faint. But, I didn’t! I made it through the class. I was present in my body and was surprised of what it was capable of doing.
LA: Why do you love doing what you do? And what do you wish more people knew about Uganda?
TK: I love teaching Yoga because anyone, all ages, can do Yoga. After Yoga, I feel so relaxed and calm. I am more patient and more accepting and able to make clear choices and decisions. I also feel present and aware.
I wish people knew how safe and beautiful Uganda is and how friendly the people are.
LA: Where have you been able to travel on your yoga journey?
TK: I have traveled a little on my yoga journey. I went to Nairobi for my initial Yoga Teacher Training. I was part of a group of roughly 90 students from many countries - students were from all over the world. I would love to visit their countries in the future. I returned to Nairobi 7 months after my initial training to attend an “Art of Assisting Course” that Jinja Community Yoga and the Africa Yoga Project paid for and I am thankful for these opportunities!
To learn more about Tim, you can find him on Facebook.