What does physical movement and fitness mean to you and how did you get into African dancing?
Movement is integral to my life, in fact it's something the human brain is hard wired to do, we just don't move as much as we should. I realised this when I got very ill with Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain and Depression.
I'd always loved dancing but was never really confident enough to dance in public without some kind of alcohol intoxication to dull my inhibitions. When I got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after the birth of my 3rd child, I was offered Anti-Depressants which I took for a few weeks but felt awful. I was told there was no cure for my condition and that my only option was to medicate myself and manage the pain. I took the challenge upon myself to find out as much as I could about what was happening to my body!
I found a whole world of information that just gave me more questions. I've been living as a walking question mark ever since and it feels amazing! I understand so much about how my body works and what it needs. This information is what lead me to veganism and a whole lifestyle change for myself and household.
Our lifestyle change started in 2014. I started by getting rid of environmental toxins from our immediate environment, the things that go onto our skin - personal products and household cleaners. Then moved onto examining food and what we put into our bodies - foods, liquids, supplements etc.
After we'd been vegan for a while my body started to feel hungry for movement! I started cycling, then took up Taekwondo, then found BeachBody and became a Coach.
Then we were locked-down and George Floyd was killed in view of the whole world...
Around April of 2019 I found a community of Africans in diaspora. It was started by a man called Mikel Ameen who, after realising he couldn't get back to his home in Kenya due to lockdown restrictions, started a 21-day Self Love Challenge online. (It has since evolved into a worldwide community and is now called Waroho House which, translated from Swahili means House of the People). I figured I could afford £1 a day for 21 days and signed up. What transpired in this community has been a driving force of where I find myself now.
As a community we were encouraged to create a 'Love Service', which is something you give expecting nothing in return. So, I started an Instagram Live fitness hour, every weekday at 9am I'd go live and talk about functional fitness, and basically go through a free work out.
It was now 2020 and eventually I realised that I'd need to invest in some actual workout gear hahaha! I'd go live on Instagram in my onesie, random beach shorts, anything I felt like wearing really! Black Pound Day changed that, I realised there were black owned companies I could support and find something more suitable to wear for my functional fitness slot! I asked my community if they knew any businesses, I got tagged in an Instagram account called TYNA Active Wear. While scrolling through their frankly, stunning workout gear, I saw a picture of 3 ladies looking super fit and radiant, I followed the tag that TYNA had used and found Kukuwa® Fitness (a genius dance workout taking African traditional dances from across the continent, and transformed into a calorie burning, lean muscle building, super fun workout with amazing music... need I say more?). I dug deeper and found that not only do they do online workouts but that I could also train to qualify as a Kukuwa® instructor! No brainer, truly.
That same year I was qualified as 1 of only 2 certified Kukuwa® instructors in the UK. I launched online classes via Zoom in the 1st week of Jan 2020, 3 times a week. I felt like I'd won the lottery.
Now it's Dec 2021 and coming up to the 1-year Anniversary of my African Dance Fitness business. I'm also a TYNA Active Wear ambassador (I have more leggings than I've ever owned in my life which is hilarious to me, and I'm eagerly waiting for their new designs haha!).