When she first did yoga, Aline Mazimpaka thought the practice would be like any other body relaxation exercise.
After a few days of practice, she began to realize how much she transforms; she discovered herself, she healed and learned to connect with her mind and body.
She wanted more, but also wanted more people to learn about the practice.
At the time, she was still a student at the former National University of Rwanda. Her lecturer, who was a social worker, also served as an inspiration to practice yoga, she says.
âShe would encourage me to do it, thinking that as a person you can burn yourself out, so you have to rejuvenate yourself. And this yoga could do it, ârecalls the 35-year-old.
After graduating in social work, she continued to acquire training and certifications that would enable her to become a professional yoga instructor.
She obtained 200 hour certification from Africa Yoga Project, 200 hour certification from Zanzi yoga, 300 hour Jivamukti certification, 40 hour prenatal yoga from Shanti Uganda and also completed meditation training in Thailand. .
Currently, Mazimpaka is working as the director of the Ituze Center, a center entirely dedicated to teaching yoga and other mindfulness practices such as meditation, Qigong Tai Chi, as well as breath-body-mind workshops. .
It was then that she decided to make yoga her profession. âI discovered that there is something special, profound and miraculous about yoga and the practice of mindfulness about self-acceptance and non-judgment,â she says.
Since practicing and teaching yoga, Mazimpaka has expressed satisfaction with the support that her efforts and that of the center provide to all who strive to live a more connected, grounded and fulfilling life through the practice of yoga.
A journey of acceptance
The yoga instructor reveals that she has learned just how much exercise can provide for someone who practices it consistently.
âI have learned that the practice of yoga and mindfulness is a journey towards acceptance, forgiveness, healing and happiness. Happiness, love and acceptance all start with you. Asking other people to give it to you won’t work until you realize that you are responsible for it in your life, âshe notes.
She also recommends anyone who wants to improve their balance in all aspects of their life to consider practicing yoga.
âThe practice increases self-awareness, it calms the mind but also has other benefits such as the ability to build strong bones,â she adds.
Giving back to the community
Mazimpaka says that because of the effects of the pandemic, people need all the emotional and mental support they can get.
She believes that at a time like this everyone really needs a strong immune system and yoga can do it.
Yoga has the potential to support the immune system by lowering stress hormones that compromise the immune system, while conditioning the lungs and airways, stimulating the lymphatic system to flush toxins from the body, and providing oxygenated blood to the body. different organs to ensure their optimal function, she explains.
She also points out that yoga and mindfulness practices have many benefits, such as increasing flexibility, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, lowering stress levels, relieving anxiety, and improving lung capacity through to breathing exercises.
âThese exercises also promote resilience and improve brain function,â she adds.
For this reason, they have decided to offer free online mindfulness and yoga classes to anyone who wants to start doing yoga.
âSo far, we all face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why it is important that we all support each other. Because we are no longer able to provide in-person classes at the center and in the community, we currently offer them online via zoom. “
These classes are offered Monday through Sunday and are donation based.