Joëlle Sleebos is a Cape Town-based yogi who loves to travel, connect with people and knock up killer spreadsheets. She is a YOGICOMM instructor, a foremost yoga personality in South Africa and has entered into an exciting phase in her career where she is expanding her repertoire of international yoga retreats. Nina of YOGICOMM (NB) and Joëlle (JS) recently met in Joëlle's former home city, Amsterdam, for a yoga session and tea. Joëlle explained over turmeric chai lattes in the weak autumn sun that for years, she maintained two careers; one as an economist and one as an instructor (yoga, group fitness & personal trainer). This balance of two lives eventually became unsustainable and in 2012 she decided to focus full time on what she is really passionate about: increasing people’s quality of life by helping them to improve their physical and mental vitality! This is Joëlle's story and here are a few snatches from her busy yoga life:
The midday heat settled over the IST Masaki school courtyard in Dar es Salaam this past Saturday. The cheerful buzz of chatter and upbeat background music faded as I focused on the massage therapy session I had been offered. Some moments of bliss passed. A gentle hand on my shoulder prompted me to open my eyes and Christina, the founder and owner of Zen Spa smiled broadly. ‘Was that enjoyable?’ I felt totally refreshed, and what great timing to have stumbled towards her table so soon after participating in a sweaty Vinyasa class with Mukti yoga studio teacher, Laura Meloney.
“A few years ago a friend asked me if I felt feminine. My answer was no.” This is how Tessa Custers begins her description of the genesis of a female fertility focused NPO called SheBlooms. Outside of being founder and owner of SheBlooms, Tessa is a yin yoga instructor who lives between Stellenbosch in the Western Cape of South Africa and Holland. YOGICOMM came across SheBlooms recently, and after learning that it was the birth child of a yoga instructor, we sat down with Tessa to learn more. We collated her storytelling into this article, trying to best draw out her enthusiasm and direct, open style of narration.
Yoga instructor and Toolbox Yoga Studio owner Nomzamo Mji had a potent and successful stint in the legal field before transitioning into the wellness industry. She started her legal career in the South African constitutional court where she clerked for Justice O'Regan. In a remarkably speedy fashion she proceeded to practice as an advocate. Reflecting back on that time, she told YOGICOMM in a recent conversation that she enjoyed "the restorative aspects of law, it's ability to solve problems and create life - changing impacts for people.
Gayle Olson is a quintessential and highly successful travelling yogi. We’ve seen that hashtag - #travellingyogi - well, Gayle is the guru! There is a developing impulse amongst yoga instructors to stay on the move, merging their skills with a demand for yoga holidays at different lodges and resorts around the world. Gayle is a pioneer and inspiration to the new stock of young yogis who are trying to make that lifestyle work. She is at the helm of Exotic Yoga Retreats (EYR), and is a vibrant star in the international yoga scene with an unmatched verve for life and new vistas.
YWT strives to introduce through training and education - specifically teacher training programmes - the awareness of the benefits to be derived from yoga. The full-time team of four and affiliated volunteers share the vision that this knowledge of wellbeing and alternative care be made available to all across Tanzania, and be put into practice for the advantage of particularly those who are most vulnerable.
In recent years there has developed a growing awareness of the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. As the words ‘mediation’ and ‘mindfulness’ have become more widely used - and more fashionable - they have become more difficult to understand. Let's demystify them.