Yoga4Alex was born out of the desire to address the physical and mental needs of at-risk youth in Alexandra. Using yoga as a tool, it has given the program a bridge to a community who welcome upliftment, opportunity, and intervention.
Between 2011 and 2016 Yoga4Alex held yoga classes after school at two high schools in Alexandra, Realogile High School and Minerva High school, two community centres in Alexandra, Afrikatikkun Centre and Thusong Community Centre and 4Living Guesthouse in Waverley. In 2015 470 youngsters from Alexandra each attended at least five yoga classes. Many more attended classes only once. Yoga4Alex works with youngsters who attend more than one class.
In October 2015 three young female Yoga4Alex youngsters started the two-year Kundalini Yoga teachers training programme. In 2015 a young lady, who lives Alex returned from being at a boarding schooling in India. During her schooling she qualified as a Kundalini Yoga teacher.
In October 2016 a young male Yoga4Alex youngster started the two-year training. So by the beginning of 2017 Yoga4Alex had five young yoga teachers who all had grown up or spent time in Alexandra.
In 2016 they became the teachers giving all the yoga classes in Alex. All the yoga classes occurred after school and the number of students attending were always less than 20 in a class which was ideal for trainee teachers.
At the beginning of 2017 we approached all the high schools in Alex and they were receptive to our giving yoga classes during the Physical Education (PE) period for the Grade 12 and Grade 11 students. Each of the five teachers was assigned a school, Realogile, Kwabhekilanga, Alex High, Minerva, and Eastbank High School.
Yoga4Alex has a good relationship with Mitzvah school which offers matric to 30 young matric students from Alexandra. Mitzvah staff has accepted at least one student each year from the Yoga4Alex programme who’s past academic performance suggests he or she may not achieve a matric pass.
Since 2017 Yoga4Alex gives weekly yoga or meditation classes at Mitzvah School to all the students. The students attend a weekend yoga workshop at 4Living Guesthouse and during the end of year week long study break Mitzvah students are welcome to study at 4Living from 8h00 to 16h00. they start the day with yoga, eat a vegetarian meal at lunchtime and benefit from quiet study environment with wifi access.
In 2017 Yoga4Alex piloted a programme for teen mothers to become qualified Kiddies Yoga Teachers. They gave classes at Gordon Primary School during school time in the second term and after school in the third and fourth terms. Two qualified Kiddies Yoga teachers ran the programme and 6 teen mums in training participated.