FORT LAUDERDALE — Relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques combine with the continuous motion of the body into an invigorating workout.
The exercise develops mental as well as physical strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Yoga is rapidly becoming a widespread practice for many African Americans in South Florida.
Under the sway of instructor Aunkh Aakhu, who has taught Kemetic Yoga on the beaches of South Florida for several years, the African-based technique is helping to meet the fast-growing need.
“Many people are totally confused about what yoga is,’’ said Aakhu, who leads a yoga exercise session on the beach every New Year’s Day. “They believe that it is a strange practice from other countries that twists and turns your body in abnormal ways and has nothing essentially to do with us. When we talk about yoga we are talking about unifying the body, the mind and the spirit which is the building block of your health.’’
To announce its presence in the community, the Natural Brilliance for Life African Holistic Center will host a grand opening celebration on June 26 at the African Bookstore, 3600 West Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.
Kemetic Yoga appeals to African Americans for two reasons: Unlike gyms today, which usually offer yoga classes with conventional methods that only target the body, Kemetic Yoga teaches the union, balance, harmony and universal order of the body, mind and spirit. Second, its followers believe that yoga originated in Africa.
“For us, what’s important is that it comes out of an African tradition, which means, as descendants of Africa, it has a more cultural alignment to us. And when we look at it, it’s as if it was designed to deal with the issues we are facing right now. It’s uncanny,” Aakhu said.
According to Kemetic teachings, ancient Egypt (then called Kemet), had a notably developed system and understanding of yoga. Wall drawings depicted figures in yoga positions and ancient Kemetic texts contain the principles and techniques of physical and spiritual excellence that are the basis of yoga.
“Yoga originated in Africa. When you go back three, four, five thousand years, you’ll see systems of yoga being practiced all through the land. People moved into other regions and they took that science into India, Nepal, China and those sciences became indigenous to those places,” Aakhu said.
The Natural Brilliance for Life African Holistic Center is dedicated to teaching this ancient art to African Americans so that their lives and eventually society in whole will be transformed, Aakhu said.
“We have the power to transform ourselves at any moment,” Aakhu said. “It just takes a decision to take control of our health. And if you make the decision, we’ll do the rest. We’ll give you the tools, the skills and the knowledge.”
Photo by Khary Bruyning. Aunkh Aakhu
IF YOU GO
What: The Natural Brilliance for Life African Holistic Center grand opening celebration
When: Friday, June 26, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: African Bookstore, 3600 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
Cost: Adults $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Children 12 years and under are free
Contact: For more information call 305-651-4020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org