Kemetic yoga, also known as Egyptian Yoga or African Yoga, has helped many expand their ideas of yoga. Yogic practices founded in Africa present an opportunity for Black yoga-lovers to feel better connected to the experience. The practice is gaining popularity because it has endless benefits, positions to learn and ways to practice it.

What Is Kemetic Yoga?

Kemetic yoga is the original ancient Egyptian yogic system. It is as much a physical practice as a spiritual one, as it is based on the ancient Egyptian principles of Ma’at. The poses are intended to rejuvenate, slow you down and empower. They also imitate Egyptian gods and positions on the carvings of temple walls. Some poses include the Pose of Min, Sphinx pose, Kneeling Teken and Ma’at pose.

Yirser Ra Hotep, who has been studying and researching Kemetic yoga since the 1970s, founded Yoga Skills to demonstrate the power of this form of yoga. Kemetic yoga focuses on mind-body-spirit coherence and harmony with nature and self. On his website, he describes one of the key philosophies of Kemetic yoga as being about controlled breathing.

“The breath is the life force, and we use the breath to ‘flow’ through the movements from one posture to the next,” Yirser explained.

Benefits of Kemetic Yoga

Kemetic yoga is known to be breath-led. In this way, many see it as a way to connect mind, spirit and body. It uniquely uses the rule of four breathing method. In practice, kemetic yogic poses help to enhance flexibility, increase oxygen supply and improve blood circulation.

Inclusivity is another benefit that attracts many Black yogis. Showing up to the yoga class as the only Black or POC individual can be isolating. With Kemetic yoga, there is no sense of not belonging since it is an African practice.

Kemetic yoga has been preserved throughout the ages. While many forms of ancient history have been erased or destroyed through the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the knowledge of this form of yoga has remained and its legacy has been preserved. Another cultural benefit is maintaining that history and keeping the legacy alive.

How To Practice

There are various ways to get involved with Kemetic yoga. Online teachers are becoming easier to discover. Sarah Wes is a leading voice in spreading awareness of the benefits of this style of yoga. Wes’ flows range from traditional flows to Kemetic-inspired pilates exercises.

Brown Girl Yogi also shares beginner-friendly videos online to help you get acquainted with this style of yoga. The yogi has a series on Black Yoga and also a historical introduction explaining the roots of this foundational yogic style.

If you’d like to practice Kemetic yoga in an in-person class, it’s best to check if your local studio offers classes. You could check to see where and when your favorite Kemetic teachers teach classes.