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Yoga for international development


Yoga for international development

Roots Tribe Yoga is making an impression on the sport and development (S&D) sector, proving that sport in general, and yoga in particular can serve international development.

Sport is a comparatively new tool in the world of development, which means the argument for its effectiveness needs to be continuous. The same can be said about certain sports within the realm of S&D.

Yoga is one such sport. In fact, calling yoga a sport might be controversial in itself. Nevertheless, if one applies the argument for the use of sport in development to yoga, all of the key ingredients and benefits are present.

S&D practitioners rightfully claim that sport works as an initial hook to bring people toward development initiatives. Once individuals and groups are ‘hooked’, they can benefit from a variety of development ends.

So what about yoga as the hook? Well, there are already several organisations and initiatives that are using yoga for international development. One such organisation is Roots Tribe Yoga (RTY).

As the founder and director of RTY, Philipa Kerckerinck has used her experience using yoga as a tool for international development in both South Africa and the United States to establish a curriculum that makes a clear connection between yoga and S&D.

Geared towards children, the RTY curriculum is designed to promote health, education, peace, unity and empowerment. It encourages awareness of the self among participants, as well as awareness of others and the interconnectivity that exists within the group.

Beyond practicing yoga, RTY teaches breathing exercises and meditation, encourages play and laughter, and instils sensitivity and communication skills among participants.

The advantages of taking part in the RTY initiative manifest themselves beyond the practice space. Life skills that have seemingly little to do with yoga can be communicated simply by participating. Individuals can walk away changed without even realising the extent to which their taking part has positively affected them as an individual.

We say a ball can change the world, but it is really those who play with the ball who are empowered to change. The merits of yoga are plenty, and are recognisable immediately once one begins practicing. As a sport, it has a lot to offer the world of development, with curricula like RTY’s serving as a great foundation that deserves to be built upon.


Article type



Bradley Castelli


Monday, May 11, 2015 - 23:00