The East Vision

Namaste with Nairobi AYP Instructors

Margaret Njeri and Victoria Wangari teach yoga and share the story of their careers

Lauren Vanden Bosch, Staff Writer

With the arrival of the African Yoga Project (AYP) to our school, yoga has become not just a method of relieving stress and getting some much-needed exercise but also a means of connecting with and learning about a different country across the world.

The AYP is an organization that seeks to bring about economic change and greater access to well-being services in Kenya through the practice of yoga. The program was founded in 2006 by Paige Elenson when she taught a class of five teenage girls. Now it has expanded to impact over 6000 people in 80 locations and 13 African countries. Additionally there are now over 200 yoga instructors certified through the AYP. In September Elenson was awarded with Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship for her work.

Students will have a chance to meet with AYP-trained yoga instructors Margaret Njeri and Victoria Wangari during their 2nd hour physical education class or during both lunch hours on Tuesday Nov. 7 in the Auxiliary gym for a short 20 minute yoga session.

The Yoga Club presidents Jonathan Yepez ‘18 and Emma Bowman ‘18 are excited to promote and participate in this unique opportunity.  

“Come with comfortable clothes, a lunch, and a yoga mat, but it’s okay if you don’t have one,” said Bowman while publicizing the event. “I promise it will be loads of fun!”

The women are being hosted by Dana Lee, the founder of a local nonprofit organization called EmbodyGR, and are visiting as part of a national fundraising tour called Handstands, Hugs, and Happiness. The event is free and open to participation for all students.

“The AYP mission is to educate, empower, and expand,” said Wangari. “We want to educate people and empower them so that they can have jobs. In Nairobi there’s a huge facility where 350 people practice yoga on Saturdays. Our founder Paige Elenson provides a free meal, clean drinking water, and free wifi. This is a huge deal because there are slums in Nairobi where there’s drug dealing and people commit crimes because that’s the only way they can provide for their families. I also teach five free yoga classes a week since there are some people who cannot afford to pay for a class.”

Wangari’s dream is enabling more African people in Nairobi and beyond to obtain higher quality lives for themselves and their children through learning and practicing yoga. Interested students or community members can help her and Margaret with their mission by attending the hour long yoga session at Fountain Street Church on Wednesday, Nov. 8. In return for an optional donation snacks and sangria drink will be provided. Doors open at 6:30 and the session begins promptly at 7.

More information:

African Yoga Project

Paige Elenson


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