Monday February 5, 2018
The yoga revolution that’s gaining momentum across the world, is spilling over in Egypt. The stressful lifestyle most Egyptians live and the frustrations they encounter on daily basis have contributed to its growing popularity. More people are resorting to yoga for mental relaxation and inner peace. Some do it as stress reliever while others do it for meditation, or wellness to improve their strength, balance and flexibility. Certified Yoga and Mindfulness Instructor Aia Faham was introduced to yoga during her journey of self-discovery. “I set about my yoga practice when I was in search of my real self. I tried several hobbies and sports and I read lots of self-help books, but didn’t find what I was looking for.”
In today’s cyberspace, yoga became accessible to everyone around the globe with a click of a button. And while Aia was on her extensive quest for self-discovery, she came across Peace Revolution, an organization that catered to her exact needs. Peace Revolution teaches yoga and meditation as tools for self-discovery and healthy living. “I joined their online self-development program for meditation and mindfulness, and vowed to follow the program for 42 continuous days, no matter if I was travelling, sick, busy, having exams, or not in the mood,” says Aia.
Aia kept her promise to herself and under no circumstances did she allow myself to skip the program, “not even for a day.” Within days after she started the program, she felt the difference in her emotional and physical wellbeing. “I was amazed with the effect this simple online program had on me. I slept better and I woke up energized. It improved my focus and clarity. I felt happier and it made me more determined to continue doing the thing that gave my life a significant meaning. And from then on, my life has changed completely,” she explains.
She watched online live meditation sessions and travelled to South East Asia and India several times for meditation training. She toured India seeking Ashrams’ minimalistic living and learned from prominent gurus and world renowned teachers. She received her Yoga Certification from India. She was also the first certified meditation instructor from the Middle East to receive an award from the World Peace Initiative Organization – Peace Revolution. “I ended up with a decision of transferring this immense knowledge and wisdom to everyone who is willing to change their lives too.”
Prior to starting yoga practices, Aia had travelled extensively around the world, “searching for her calling in life, until yoga found her.” Aia confesses that at the beginning she had no idea what yoga is. “I admired phots of yogis and was impressed by those “doing inversion, backbend and other challenging poses. I became interested to learn more about it.” To expand her knowledge, she read articles and books about yoga and watched videos of yogis. “I got hooked and wished to be able to do like them.”
Today, many of Aia’s clients and students think she was a ballerina or a gymnast, and that’s why yoga comes easy to her. But against their best judgment, yoga didn’t come easy to her. “At the beginning, I could not even maintain a cross legged sitting posture for 3 minutes without feeling numbness in the legs.” Aia started her yoga journey with “almost zero flexibility and strength.” She was weaker than most of her colleagues and “never even managed to do a plank pose.” Going through the journey to become a yoga instructor gives Aia an understating of how beginners feel. “I can absolutely relate with everybody. I am here to present that yoga does not need a flexible or strong body, it simply needs a flexible mind and strong willpower. All professional yogis were once beginners.”
In Oct 2015, three years into her transformation journey, Aia founded “The LaLa Land,” a project to organize meditation and yoga workshops and retreats in Egypt and abroad. Aia taught hundreds of Egyptians and foreigners in Egypt, Lebanon, Bali and India. Through her project, she aspires to bring the wisdom of yoga to Egyptians as they carry on with their everyday lives. “We want to sow the seeds of yoga in every person. We teach people how to make yoga a lifestyle that is practiced on and off the mat.”
In August 2017, she launched her latest campaign “Egypt Yoga Tour”, a project to promote tourism in Egypt while raising yoga awareness, the first of its kind in the Middle East. “We want to make yoga accessible literally for everybody and every body,” she says. Yoga sessions were held in Egypt’s best spots, hidden gems and touristic destinations and they were videotaped to promote tourism in these places. “We received unprecedented interest and attendance. For the free yoga session at the Mena House Hotel in Cairo, alone, more than 700 persons attended.”
Yoga for Aia has become a lifestyle she wants to share with the world. Aya and her team believe that Egyptians can potentially improve the quality of their lives by practicing yoga. “Through Yoga we are capable of changing the world, by changing our very own realities and perspectives. Every time we practice, we make slight changes in our bodies that echoes in our minds, which can dramatically change our lives,” she concluded.
Photos credit to Aia Faham
Check out The LaLa Land and Egypt Yoga Tour Facebook page here
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