The sisters leading a yoga class

DURBAN –  Too often the demands of a city life overshadow the fact that every human being needs to connect with itself to remain grounded and healthy.

And when you are successful the idea of setting aside the cut and thrust of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in order to take care of that inner person is almost unthinkable.
Or so you would believe.

So let’s meet sisters, Nosizwe Mji Majija and her sister Nomzamo Mji, who have done just that, forsaking the corporate world and everything that goes with it, to establish a Yoga studio and wellness centre in a quiet secluded garden on Durban’s Berea. 

Majija explains the sort of working scenario that preceded their decision to do an about turn and explore a radically different path.

"We both had very different life and work experiences" explains the younger of the two sisters. "Nomzamo had a busy legal career working as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. I was involved in tourism and events management in Johannesburg later relocating to New York to follow a career in fashion and handbag design."

It was during one of those rare times when they could get together that they decided that there were important things in life that they were neglecting.

cross - The sisters leading a yoga class
Yoga is a way of life, says Nomzamo Mji

"We both realised that we had become so overwhelmed by our chosen professions and aspirations that we had neglected our inner self. The pace of our lives left us little time to think of anything but work. Outwardly we were successful but our physical and mental wellbeing had been overlooked."

This fundamental understanding led to the sisters taking a trip to India and more specifically to Rishikesh, the founding home of Yoga, where they enrolled in an advanced yoga training course, graduating as accredited teachers in a wide spectrum of yoga disciplines.

For those who like a bit more history, Rishikesh has been a magnet for spiritual seekers for hundreds of years and is known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. Masses of ashrams line the fast-flowing Ganges River, which is surrounded by forested hills. Rishikesh became famous in the late 60s when the Beatles visited the ashram of the Maharishi  Mahesh Yogi. 

In the evening, an almost supernatural breeze blows down the valley, setting temple bells ringing for the start of the river worship ceremony. 

"Yoga transformed our lives " says younger sister Mji who described their visit to Rishikesh as a life changing experience. "Human beings don’t come with an instruction manual on how to live in harmony with body and soul. You need the right tools. Yoga has shaped our lives in the most incredible way and given us the tools to share our knowledge with others.

While there’s not much time to speak to them between classes one learns pretty quickly that their commitment to spiritual and bodily wellbeing is a commitment for life.

"That is so true " says Majija. "Our passion is to share what we have been lucky enough to gain. Our excitement is when our yoga students learn to combine physical, emotional and spiritual self  into a powerful entity realizing possibly for the first time that doors that have remained firmly shut are opening. It’s about discovering new perspectives. It’s about discovering who we really are."

The basic Yoga philosophy, explains the sisters, is to align breathing with fluid movements while focusing on a deeper connection to the inner person and the present moment.

"Not everyone is able to go at the same pace or intensity " says Mji. "Yoga recognizes that creating different disciplines for different needs, with an inbuilt flexibility that suits each individual is the holistic approach to healing. In other words there is a plan for everyone whatever age and however physically able."

Time then to take a closer look at their toolbox.

For those who would prefer a gentle introduction to yoga, Hatha is the way to go.  Majija explains it like this:" This is a more traditional yoga where the emphasis is on slow-paced stretching, mindful movement and breath, including meditation."

inclass - The sisters leading a yoga class
Wellness and stretching are keynote elements

At the other end of the Yoga spectrum is a discipline called Kundalini Yoga which focuses on the body’s untapped energy and creative potential at the base of the spine. It includes dynamic movements chanting breath work and meditation aimed at unlocking hidden energy.

"The outcome that we hope for " says Mji "is that students use the principles of Yoga in their daily lives" 

The principals the sisters stand by is to honour the ancient yoga tradition dating back thousands of years. 

"If we can do our bit to create a more caring, loving and equitable world through our yoga teaching, that will make us really happy."



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