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The yoga guru trying to heal Rwanda's wounds

Samba Cyuzuzo

BBC Great Lakes

Aline Mazimpaka
Aline Mazimpaka
Aline Mazimpaka trained in Kenya, India and Thailand to become a yoga master

Aline Mazimpaka is trying to demystify yoga for her fellow Rwandans, who have been suspicious of the ancient form of exercise, which originated in India years ago and focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost wellbeing.

“The hardest challenge has been the society - people were telling me I am devil worshipping, because they don’t know yoga. It was very hard.”

But she has set up a non-profit centre that teaches yoga in return for donations and says more people are joining it every day.

Aline Mazimpaka running a yoga session
Aline Mazimpaka
More people are now going to Ms Mazimpaka's sessions

The 33-year-old, who trained in Kenya, India and Thailand to become a yoga master, was introduced to it at university in 2010.

She found that it was very therapeutic as what had happened in Rwanda in 1994, during the genocide, had left her with psychological wounds.

These had not healed until she started practising yoga.

“It was a complex journey to my dream that started as a therapy,” she says.

“Yoga healed my wounds, later it became my job and my life that I am sharing with fellow Rwandans.”

Aline Mazimpaka
Aline Mazimpaka
Aline Mazimpaka has been practising yoga for 10 years
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