Tuesday 31 March 2020
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newtimes - 6 days ago

Meet Luiza, a yoga teacher giving free lessons during the lockdown

With the Prime Minister’s order to remain indoors as part of the measures to stop the possible spread of the new coronavirus, one has to find ways to keep busy and avoid boredom, while making the most of time at home. There are a couple of fun things one can do at home, alone or with the family that can also benefit one’s health. For yoga enthusiasts, this is the time to make use of that mat, as Tori Luiza, a certified yoga teacher and birth worker, says. Luiza says anybody can do yoga and for those who want to try it, this is the time. You don’t have to be super flexible or strong. “Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline which includes breath control, meditation, and adoption of different postures and is practiced for mental, emotional, and physical health. It is great for all ages, religious backgrounds and athletic ability. You don’t have to be super flexible or strong to practice.” The 25-year-old is a certified yoga teacher and birth worker. Originally from Upstate NY, USA, but now living in Rwanda, Luiza is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher who has started an online yoga class on Instagram to help people as they stay inside their homes. “Right now people around the whole world are affected by COVID-19. Many are forced to stay inside their homes and are looking for ways to connect with others, relieve stress, anxiety and stay healthy. I was thinking of ways to provide yoga classes during this time and decided to teach my first live online yoga class on Instagram this past week. I saw that over 80 people were watching my class live from Rwanda, the U.S. and even Ireland.” “I teach vinyasa yoga as well as meditation classes. Vinyasa means ‘movement on the breath’. Each movement is done on an inhale or exhale,” she adds. She became certified through the Yoga Alliance in May of 2019 with Jai Yoga School in Upstate NY and has been teaching ever since. “By teaching this live class, I realised how powerful social media can be. Social media, like anything else, can be used to spread negativity and fear, but if you use it right, it can also be used to connect people in positive ways that we could never imagine, “I plan to teach more online classes so I can better serve the global community as well as make yoga more accessible to everyone,” Luiza says. Having been impacted by yoga herself, she believes people’s lives and health can be made so much better by making the practice a routine. She started practicing yoga to manage her anxiety. “I was experiencing general anxiety as well as full blown panic attacks that even sent me to the hospital a few times. Once this started happening to me, I realised I needed something to change in my life. I then began to practice yoga regularly, as I had done in the past and noticed how great it made me feel,” “Once I began this journey of yoga, I noticed my anxiety and panic attacks slowly started to fade away and today I can say that I haven’t had a panic attack in almost two years,” she recalls. Since then, Luiza has never looked back. “This is why I decided to become a yoga teacher and why I dedicate myself to it regularly. Even though I had never thought I would be a yoga teacher, my passion has turned into my career,” she states. She disagrees with people who think yoga is merely a sport like others, because she thinks practicing yoga is a lifestyle, not just about losing weight and gaining flexibility. “If practiced regularly, we begin to feel more energized all of the time, we think more positively, we are calmer, more rational and our perspectives and mood change. We start seeing ourselves and the world differently in the best of ways,” she adds. “The word yoga literally means “to yoke” or to combine. What we are combining in yoga is our mind and body. In daily life we don’t take the time to focus inward because we are always focused on outward things such as going to work, running errands, being with friends and family and planning for the next day,” she explains. She says that practicing yoga allows people to bring their awareness and attention inward so that we can find a deeper connection with ourselves. Luiza usually teaches public classes weekly at Waka Kimi, Waka Town, and Heaven Fitness (The Retreat). She also does private groups and one-on-one sessions. Sometimes she teaches in Gisenyi for different business events and wellness retreats. Some of Luiza’s students doing yoga. Luiza is also a birth doula and is currently working on her childbirth educator certification. She supports pregnant women and their partners with educational, emotional and physical support during pregnancy, labour and delivery. Her plan is to start teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga very soon. Luiza teaches yoga and meditation. You can follow her Wednesday and Sunday yoga class at 6pm, live on Instagram: @wowe_wellness and make use of your quarantine time.


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