THE KANGA STORY
Kanga yoga is an energetic, alignment‐based flow yoga practice using music, gravity and the breath to rediscover and rejuvenate the body and the mind. The practice is inspired by the teachings of Swami Sivananda, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois.
According to the Ayurveda system (“science of life” in Sanskrit), people have different biological body types. A relaxed yin yoga practice may be good for one body type, whereas an energetic Yang practice may be best for another body type. Our biological energies vary according to our lifestyles.
Ayurveda views illness as caused by an imbalance in a person’s physical or mental constitution and therefore seeks to gently bring a person’s body and mind back into a healthy balance.
Kanga yoga adapts yoga to the individual rather than the individual to yoga. Each class deepens student’s yoga practice, provides a practical understanding of yoga, and offers the opportunity to focus on specific postures, their benefit, alignment, and breath control.
“The path of devotion (Bhakti Yoga) is the easiest and the surest of all the ways for attaining emancipation. The science of music goes hand in hand with Bhakti Yoga.”
Music itself is Hatha Yoga Sadhana; it involves a good amount of control and regulation of breath. Moreover, the various musical notes have their own corresponding nadis (subtle channels in the vital sheath of the body) in the vital centres within the Kundalini chakras, and music vibrates these nadis, purifies them, and awakens the psychic and spiritual power dormant in them.
Kanga Yoga integrates sound, asana and mudra to bring the body and mind into balance and harmony.
Emma Bonnici first fell in love with the Kanga cloth in 2006, when she was first living and working in Kenya. The African material itself is like a giant social poetry performance, a collective reading, an enormous living book of poems bound by the body, by all who read, interpret, and live by its words and many meanings. It is a multi-faceted, multi-functional, eye-popping gorgeous fabric that doubles as a message in motion.
Emma was making earrings with beautiful spotted feathers.
She fell in love with the patterns on these too! Later, she surprisingly traced these feathers back to the bird; they call in Swahili, the ‘Kanga’!
The spotted patterns on the Kanga African cloth, reminded people of the plumage of the Kanga bird, the chatty, sociable songbird, with its elegant spotted feathers, and so the popular name for the Kanga cloths were born! “
Emma also lived and worked in India and her Yoga practice was very inspired by her Indian teachers of Ashtanga Vinyasa, Sivanada, Iyengar Yoga & Ayurveda. It was whilst sharing the teachings of Yoga in Madhya Pradesh and writing a Yoga column for the Hindustand Times that Emma discovered the true essence of adapting yoga to the individual and the healing power of music.
“Even inanimate objects are moved by the music. Through music the soul learns harmony and rhythm and an even disposition to justice. Rhythm and harmony find their way into the secret notches of the soul and keep it entirely oblivious of the outside world, in sublime peace.” ~ Sivananda
Emma believes our energy changes according to the place we live; the seasons and our lifestyle. She focused on the energy of the students in her classes and incorporated elements of the different yoga practices with music into each class. Upon her return to the UK in 2009 running “Kanga Events” (wellbeing events company), her classes became remarkably referred to as ‘Kanga Yoga’ by studios and events in London. Emma followed the advice of a wise women in the Sivananda Centre in Putney and ‘went with the flow’.
In 2010, it was fate that guided Emma back to the magical land of Laikipia in Kenya to a camp where she decided to plant the seeds for the Kanga yoga and Ayurveda retreats. When Emma arrived on the camp, she discovered it beautifully decorated in the elegant spotted feathers of… the Kanga!
“If you believe in the magic, you will see the magic” ~ Emma Bonnici