The warrior pose in yoga is difficult for many to master. How about the pose of immortality? Have you ever tried that one? What about the pose of Ausar? If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of, or haven’t been challenged by your yoga instructor with either of these movements, it may be due to a fascinating and jaw-dropping fact that has been excluded from history books.
Meet master Yirser Ra Hotep. He holds the answer to your questions and has the prescription for a healthy mind, body and spirit for black people. It’s Kemetic Yoga. In spite of the fact that history books tell us that yoga originated in India and was later introduced into western civilization by an Indian monk named Vivekananda (born Narendranath Datta), yoga originated in the land of the Pharoahs. It was practiced in ancient Egypt (Kemet), for about 10,000 years.
Hotep is a master instructor of Kemetic yoga, a social worker, counselor, and therapist who has taught stress management and wellness since the 1970s. A co-founder of the school of ancient Egyptian or Kemetic Yoga, Hotep isn’t hesitant to share his perspective that “Yogi thought and world views are the foundation of all world civilizations, and is evident in the fact that we have universal order called Ma’at, [a goddess of truth, balance and order in ancient Kemet]. The more we are in harmony with that order, the more we are able to express our life’s purpose and become who we are designed to be.”
A professor at DePaul University, Hotep has been featured in Yoga Journal and appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show.” He has created a set of instructional yoga DVDs, a meditation CD and has two books pending.
“Our primary research was done on hieroglyphs and the various paintings [and] spiritual art that you see on the walls in Egypt. We’ve interpreted it as yoga. A lot of black people can’t relate to yoga because they see it as something foreign to their African roots. That’s why we’ve done this type of research to redefine the origins and reinvigorate blacks, so they can see that yoga is an African system that is based in ancient Kemet,” Hotep explains.
For many of us who view yoga as simply as an exercise to relieve stress, it’s roots are much deeper. For an ancient tribe in Africa, it was based on spiritual principles, and it’s mystical powers not only ensure your health and well being but also elevates a person above [the] normal state of consciousness, and when done properly, to a transcendent state of total awareness.
Hotep offers three steps for beginner yoginis to reach a healthy meditative state. “Learn how to breathe properly. The foundation of yoga practice is controlling the breath. We start with cleansing breath and mummy pose to get into a state of total relaxation. Then do a range of poses: forward bend, backward bend and spinal twists. These lateral movements will help align the spine and invigorate internal organs and remove tension and stress from the major muscles in the body, that cause us to have headaches and other types of discomfort. Clear your mind of worry and stress, decompress and detach from negativity. You need to set aside time on a daily basis to totally release. This will have a cumulative effect and you won’t operate out of stress. It’s a method to recondition your mind.”
“Om Shu Ra” –yvette caslin
For more information and to join a class, please visit www.yogaskills.com.