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Nigerians and Yoga – 3 Yogis speak with African Health Magazine

Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

The number of Nigerians interested in Yoga has increased in recent times as the pursuit for fitness has gained grounds among the populace. Why is Yoga a preferred form of exercise? What are the challenges Yogis in Nigeria face? We spoke to 3 of them and asked these 5 questions:

1. Why are you a Yogi?

2. Who introduced you to Yoga?

3. What are the challenges especially practicing in Nigeria?

4. What benefits have you gained?

5. What advice would you give an enthusiast, starting out?


First, we spoke with Afope Ojo, a programmer and writer who lives in Lagos.

– For me, yoga is a form of meditation.

– Not sure but I think my friend, Tomiwa. I’d always known about it but started doing more seriously after she shared a 30 day challenge with me.

– Nothing for me, I have a mat at home.  And I use videos from the internet. But I guess the usual things like sometimes there will be no light, and my laptop will be dead so that means no yoga or my modem will be dead so no internet.

– Time to meditate and be present and let go of tension. It’s great.

– Just do it.

Then we spoke with Chinny Ezeoke, who writes a blog and also writes code in Lagos. She said:

– I like being in control of my body, seeing how it can be stretched. I like how it challenges my mind and my body in one sweep. I love how limber I feel after a session
– I think officially Stephanie Unaeze. We were in our first year of University and she was interested. Her interest spiked mine.
– The challenges for me include the ignorance about yoga and well as not having a community. When my dad first found out I did yoga, he made a funny comment about me now changing religions to Buddhism. I know!! What level of reaching is that? He isn’t the only person that has alluded to something like that when I mention yoga
 I also wish I had a yoga community/crew. I know there’s one in Abuja. I’m yet to find one here in Lagos. Maybe I’m not searching hard enough.
– The benefits for me include the relief and strength for my bad back and improving my posture. How amazing my core feels and how energised I feel after. Plus the toning of my muscles
– Just starting out? Don’t give up. You’ll figure those complicated poses out. All you need is consistency and a good spotter.
Inemesit Udoh loves yoga so much she had a yoga-themed wedding party with her husband Alex. Here she speaks on the questions above:

– I started yoga in 2014 right after I had some mild health issues. I realized I had to make a conscious effort to be healthier and the first thing that came to mind was yoga. I had dabbled into it on and off a few years earlier but I didn’t really commit to it till I had that experience.

– No one really, i’d come across it a few times on the internet, read about the benefits and I decided to give it a go.
– There a quite a few of them in Nigeria, there aren’t a lot of experienced and qualified teachers to guide you, in fact, when I started I couldn’t find a teacher near me so it took a lot of willpower to remain consistent and practice daily. As a matter of fact, a lot of people tried to discourage me from it because they didn’t understand it.
– Since I started yoga, i’ve developed a lot of patience, not just with others, but myself as well which I think it’s very important. I’m more capable of dealing with stressful situations, more flexible and more accepting of different situations.
– Consistence is key, even if it’s just 5 to 15 minutes a day, try to practice. Consult with good books, videos, teachers both online and offline if you can find one. It always helps to have guidance.
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