Tseya yoga brings African themed yoga to Credo Mutwa Village, in Soweto, in efforts to inspire people in the township to live more healthy and balanced lives.
By: Blacklight writer
One day, while browsing through Facebook I came across an interesting flyer about an African drum beat yoga session in Soweto. I knew I had to be part of the experience; especially considering that Yoga is infamously confined in suburban areas, for an exclusive elite class, which consists of mostly white people.
I walked through the Credo Mutwa Village on a rather warm Sunday to find a beautiful forest in the middle of Soweto. Alluring African sounds slowly draw me as I get closer to the centre where the session takes place.
It’s surprisingly full with an audience which compromises of white and black women, and a couple of men. As Tumi Pasha (the instructor) leads the session, a few stunned people pass by to witness this rather foreign and unusual activity.
The hosts admit that they have to fight for the silence in the area that is synonymous with commotion.
“We have to fight for silence because there is a lot happening in township and around the space,” says Azah Mphago, the music co-ordinator.
“We hope that we will get to a time when what we are doing can also attract attention in midst of all that’s happening in this space and people can see it as light, just like church or any other healing space.”
The Credo Mutwa Village is situated in Jabavu and was created by the iconic African artist and traditional healer, Credo Mutwa. The village is an outdoor museum with sculptures and paintings that Credo curated himself while living there from 1974 – 1986.
Walking into the space is like walking into a fantasy spiritual world and the electric energy it possesses is magical. Tumi Pasha, reveals that the space inspired the theme African drumbeat, because of its rich African history.
“The African Drum Beat takes us through the journey of who we are and if you look at this space it is a true demonstration of who we are as Africans,” she explains.
“This space is perfect because it holds such timeless history of the great Credo Mutwa and the music is tuned in such a way that it takes you there.
We need to use spaces like these positively and that’s why it’s perfect for what we do.”
We are threatened by some sort of negative force and it takes a great deal of dedication to maintain a peaceful existence. Peace begins within and so we need to first bring it back to who we are.
Tumi facilitates the ninety-minute session while Azah plays indigenous African music for healing, which he has composed. He describes the marriage between the yoga and the music as essential, especially in a space that is bombarded with noise.
“The amount of noise we get in our societies contributes extensively to our anxieties and frustrations. We need silence in order to be present and silence is a discipline too. Bringing in the sound is a way for us to elicit a positive response which is also part of alternative healing,” he explains.
Tseya yoga is founded on the Kemetic principles from ancient Egypt and infuses disciplines such as Roma and Hatha yoga. The practice is founded by Pitsira Ragophala and Tumi who are also the instructors.
The pair says they are inspired by the idea of bringing peace to places like Soweto and other local spaces.
“We are threatened by some sort of negative force and it takes a great deal of dedication to maintain a peaceful existence. Peace begins within and so we need to first bring it back to who we are, where we come from, question our existence, until we get to the point where we can say, ‘All that I am, I love’, before we can begin to love or help another person,” shares Tumi.
Pitsira adds: “We are truly in the times where love is needed because generations and generations of our people have been in pain. I believe we are responsible for the next shift for our generation, and looking at us, the youth, I would say the shift is more urgent now. Tseya yoga is there to bring that space of healing.”
I would highly recommend the Tseya yoga, especially if you are a beginner. The session is also followed by a tour around the magnificent Credo Mutwa Village, a truly educational adventure filled with many spectacles.
Tseya yoga sessions are held at Emmarentia Park (Every Saturday morning), Lebo’s Backpackers in Soweto (Every Saturday and Sunday morning) and the Credo Mutwa Village (Every Sunday 3-5).
For booking and times contact Tumi Pasha (084 266 9478) or Pistira Ragophala (072 479 4996)