How kids in Khayelitsha are stretching their minds with yoga
School is stressful. Learners have to attend lessons longer than their attention spans, absorb a profuse amount of information, complete research projects, take tests, participate in extracurricular activities, shine at sport, make friends, be leaders, and succeed. It’s a lot to expect of a child. To be the best version of themselves, they might just need a breather. Nokuphiwo Jada is introducing children in Khayelitsha to the philosophies of yoga to help them slow down and reconnect with their inner self. “I want to equip our youth with tools to take into the future, because they are the future,” she says.
Jada leads yoga classes for over 700 primary school children. “Some of the things I like the kids to practise are breathing, exercising, eating healthy food, and thinking positive,” she says. Developing different perspectives and mindsets is as important as the physical aspects of yoga. “A lot of kids don’t realise how flexible their futures are,” Jada says. By also running art classes and teaching music and drama, she reveals their potential across a wide spectrum. “I’ve seen so much growth in the children since we started to bring this into the schools,” Jada says.
To pass on the values of yoga, she hosts classes for teachers and parents as well. Jada has also featured in True Love and Women’s Health magazines as an instructor. But it’s in schools that she’s determined to have the greatest impact. The importance of mindfulness, empathy, and connection can be overlooked amid the demands of the education system. These classes are just as valuable. “Yoga doesn’t just stretch the person, but also the mind and soul,” Jada says. Now, these kids are guaranteed to grow from within.