In 2012, I visited Rwanda for the first time. Traveling as an Athlete Ambassador for Kids Play International, we taught sports to young kids in a rural town, just two and a half hours south of the capital, Kigali.
Leading a warm up session for the 100+ kids on the sports field in Gatagara, I whipped out a few yoga and pilates movements for the kids to try. Wow, this was clearly a new experience for them. Side arm balance, what? Without hesitation, the kids tried it on for size. They loved it!
This is when it happened. One of my favorite phrases gently floated its way into my head. “What if?”
Fast forward to July, 2013. We just completed our first Yoga Volunteer Trip for Kids Play Int’l. 12 days of traversing Rwanda’s thousand hills, 10 eager volunteers in tow, and hundreds of people we shared yoga with. And this, my friends, is where the Mat Movement began.
Mat Move-ment pronoun \’mat\ \’müv-ment\
(1) : The act or process of sharing & teaching yoga to inspire a positive, healthy, and balanced lifestyle.
(2) : A foundation of physical health & motivated mindset that translates directly into one’s lifestyle;
(3) : A global and mobile activity.
Kudos and Credits
Kids Play Int’l Founder, Tracy Evans, has been fantastically supportive in bringing yoga to the curriculum within the program. Her blessing and enthusiasm gave us the room to create something inspiring and special.
The lululemon athletica stores in Southern California were instrumental in providing yoga mats for AYT’s aptly named #MatMovement. We brought over 40 yoga mats to be used in the KPI program, plus 12 yoga mats for Team Rwanda Cycling’s Youth Camp at Olympian Adrien Niyonshuti’s Cycling Academy in Rwamagana.
Check out our 5 Part Series on Yoga in Rwanda, where you’ll get to meet each group we shared yoga with…