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Transforming lives with yoga and dance

George Okurut says teaching yoga in slums helps keep crime and drug use at bay. Photos by Isaac Ssejjombwe

The lockdown left many people idle and for youth in slums, it was easy to fall prey to crime and drug abuse. In came yoga and dance to keep busy.

We have to agree that Covid-19 has left many people depressed, stressed and broke. It has and still is a trying moment for many and ways of killing off that stress and boredom is limited, especially to the people in the slums whose only option is perhaps to engage in crime and drugs etc but in George Okurut comes a guardian angel.

The yoga instructor has dedicate his life to teaching slum communities some skills in yoga and swing dance through different projects such as ‘Beyond the beat’, ‘Kisenyi yoga project’, ‘Heart of dance rhythm’ and ‘New hope dance project’ , among others for free.

Okurut travels to different communities where he teachers different types of yoga, including Ananda, which are classes that focus on gentle posture, designed to move the energy up to the brain and prepare the body for meditation.

Classes also focus on proper body alignment and controlled breathing through. Bikram, a type of yoga that is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss as well as Restorative and power yoga, among others.

For the vulnerable
For the Swing dance, he explains that it is a new form that he wants to introduce to Uganda, having learnt it from Mozambique and Sweden.

Before the lockdown, Okurut says he would travel to different regions such as Jinja, Mbale, Moroto, Pader and Gulu to teach people how to dance but was disrupted by the pandemic.

For the past five months, Okurut has been in Kisenyi, Nsambya and Banda from 3pm until 6pm teaching more than 50 people, especially children different sequences of yoga and dance while every Sunday.

Those online have also been benefiting from him only that they have been paying a fee.
George Okurut says he’s doing this as a way of giving back to society.

“I didn’t grow up with my parents and that had a huge impact on my life. The friends I grew up with were addicts so I decided to find solace in dance and promised myself that I would impact other people’s lives in slums and ghettos through dance,” he said.

Through well wishers and a few friends, he’s able to meet the transportation and feeding costs to those areas he traverses in his bid of improving communities through dance.

Okurut is a yoga graduate from S-Vyasa University of yoga in India. He also has a certificate in yoga from Tanzania and has been to different countries aound the world..

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