Yoga in Africa

I enjoyed this interview and photo essay with photographer/artist Robert Sturman, who’s documented the practice of yoga in Africa:

Q: Are there differences in the practice of yoga in Kenya and the United States?

A. In Kenya, people walk out of yoga class feeling great, just like they do in New York. The one difference I loved, however, was that the children who took the classes always broke out into a spontaneous song or dance right in the middle of class. Then they would go back to the yoga postures.
Q.Speaking about the children in the photos, several of your most striking photos were taken in orphanages. How do these children benefit from yoga?
A. Through the practice of yoga, the children are given the opportunity to express themselves, be creative and open up physically and mentally. It was most apparent to me that by the time their hourlong class is over, they feel loved.
yoga_africa
You can learn more about the Africa Yoga Program here, a nonprofit organization that teaches and employs more than 70 local yoga teachers and conducts up to 300 free yoga classes for more than 5,000 people weekly.

On Being Swallowed by a Hippo

Paul Templer recounts a very scary experience of being swallowed by a hippo in Africa:

I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo’s snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.

I wriggled as hard as I could, and in the few seconds for which he opened his jaws, I managed to escape. I swam towards Evans, but the hippo struck again, dragging me back under the surface. I’d never heard of a hippo attacking repeatedly like this, but he clearly wanted me dead.

Hippos’ mouths have huge tusks, slicing incisors and a bunch of smaller chewing teeth. It felt as if the bull was making full use of the whole lot as he mauled me – a doctor later counted almost 40 puncture wounds and bite marks on my body. The bull simply went berserk, throwing me into the air and catching me again, shaking me like a dog with a doll.

Then down we went again, right to the bottom, and everything went still…

Read the full account here.