Dickens Odhiambo: The Kenyan yoga coach who won a global sport award

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Kenyan, Dickens Omondi Odhiambo has been announced as a winner at the 2020 Beyond Sport Global Awards, being named as one of five winners of the Courageous Use Of Sport Award for his work with the Africa Yoga Project. 

The Africa Yoga Project, strives to create employability opportunities for marginalised youth across Africa and to help its communities whilst doing so. Their focus primarily lies with the participants who come into the Africa Yoga Project’s programme and leave as certified yoga teachers.

“I was happy with the result and I of course felt proud of myself,” Dickens says.

Part of the reason this award is given out, is to showcase someone who has shown dedication and courage in using sport to improve their communities. 

“I am specialising in teaching Yoga to the community and the style of Yoga is baptiste power yoga. So through the practice of Yoga I have managed to reach out to my community especially people who cannot afford to pay for a yoga class either a private one or to a studio to attend a class. So I think I have managed to make Yoga available for them and at zero cost. So through the Africa Yoga Project I have reached out to the community and offered yoga classes to them.”

Yoga is a physical activity, practice or a sport that would be considered as the only practice that cuts across mental wellbeing being and body wellbeing. “Through the practice of yoga I get to benefit from the meditation which hits onto my mental wellbeing and I get to benefit from the physical which keeps my body fit,” Dickens added. 

One of the ways Dickens Odhiambo used Yoga in his community was to use it to drive social change.

“In my community Kibera we have a lot of issues that either directly or indirectly but everyone from Kibera suffers poverty and poverty is one social factor that undermines that social status of someone.”

He believes since Yoga includes part mental exercising, the practice can change mindsets and produce more productivity and positivity in the community instead of poverty and crime.

“Being that I come from Kibera after my teacher training I had this interest in changing the perception of what people know about Kibera and how people view Kibera.”

“Throughout the teacher training and after I was so proud of telling people that I am from Kibera and this is where I grew up and it also motivated me to convince these people to take up the practice of yoga because it would help them change their view on how they view themselves.”

Dickson says it takes a lot of courage to deal with these social facts.

“Like one, poverty drives us, then people suffer as a result of crime because some of us will indulge in crime at a very early age. Yoga will help these people to let go of the negative things that they have been thinking or filling their minds with.”

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