Banesi Tseki
Johannesburg - Meet Banesa Tseki, an entrepreneur who finds time in her busy schedule to help communities through charity work that seeks to teach the underprivileged the importance of yoga.

She said there was a lack of understanding in black communities as to what yoga was, and that had inspired her to establish yoga programmes. She believed promoting this practice in communities to people of all races and genders would help them to “better connect with their spiritual beings”.

After Tseki had practised yoga with numerous organisations for over 10 years, she chose to impart her knowledge to those in need.

“My journey as a yogi started when I joined an organisation called Kundalini Africa Rising, which teaches various practices of yoga. After 10 years of practising, and being exposed to the important role it plays in one’s life, I felt the need to take it back to the community at no cost,’’ Tseki said.

“As I continued to expand my horizons in various communities teaching yoga, I also came to the realisation that there are a lot of children who want to participate in yoga, and, with the help of teachers from Sat Nam Kids, an organisation that offers training in children’s yoga, I received training on how to teach kids.’’

In 2017, Tseki, who has now partnered with a couple of qualified yoga trainers from Kundalini Africa Rising, started classes in Alexandra, Hillbrow and the inner city to offer yoga training for children and adults.

“We have realised that due to poverty in these areas, there is a lack of healthy social activities, which in most cases results in having people committing crime or finding alcohol as an alternative.

“We believe yoga allows people to de-stress and gives them a sense of self-confidence, hence we decided to offer these programmes in these particular areas.”

Tseki thanked the community for the enthusiasm and love they had shown, saying a lot of people viewed yoga as a religious practice which could have been bad.

Instead, the reaction had been “quite amazing” and surpassed her expectations.

Speaking about obstacles they had come across as an NGO, Tseki said funding was still an issue as they did not have funds to buy mats for their trainees and could not afford to rent space for their classes.

Asked about the future plans for her yoga movement, Tseki beamed with excitement.

She said they were planning a children’s yoga camp in September, where they would have a variety of activities to allow children to immerse themselves in the yoga space, but they were still trying to raise funds.

Asked what message she was hoping to put across within underprivileged societies with her yoga programmes, Tseki said people should know that yoga was for everyone.

“My aim is to break all these misconceptions that society carries, allow yoga to be more accessible to everyone, and not only for a specific group or gender,” she said.

The Star