Isabella Nitschke

Yoga & Coaching

Yoga as therapy – giving back to society

At about this time two years ago, I left my home in London to go to Rwanda to teach yoga to women who had survived the genocide there in 1994. The yoga was (is still) part of their therapy to recover from and cope with the terrible trauma they’d experienced. In addition to having been raped and having witnessed the murder of whole families, they had also been infected with HIV. These women were some of the most vulnerable on this planet yet the yoga helped them to slowly heal their bodies and their minds. And most importantly, it helped them find the willingness to live and to smile again.

To see these women regain strength, to see them smile, to help ease their burden by teaching them yoga once or twice a week is one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done. It was an invaluable experience to be able share the healing effects of yoga with the Rwandan women and I hope to be able to continue to share this amazing practice with women and men of all kind in the future. For the Swedish readers of this blog, below is an article about my work in Rwanda from the Swedish Yoga magazine Yoga för dig (the magazine is in the stores as from 14th of May). Other readers can find more information about my trip to Rwanda here .

Yoga practice is not only asana practice. Yoga also happens off the mat. My teacher Sharath R Jois says:

“Asana practise is for 2 hours. Yoga practise is for 24 hours.”

Yoga is about helping others and giving back to the community. Karma Yoga is about doing selfless service for other people.

Artikel i Yoga för dig3

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  1. Hello Isabella,
    It was a pleasure to read your post. It was the first time a read a post about an ashtanga practitioner who wrote about giving back to society ( I start ashtanga 9 months ago). I was getting worried about only reading ashtangis stories in the first person (I, I, and I, me, me and me) which gave me the impression that ashtanga yoga was a narcissist practice. Thank you for your inspiring story. Keep the good work!
    Nuno from Portugal

    • Thank you Nuno! You know – you can do the same where you are. It doesn’t have to be teaching yoga. You can give back to society by helping people in many different ways.
      Good luck with your practice – on and off the mat! 🙂