Durban, South Africa – 05 August 2014 – Acclaimed Hollywood actor Blair Underwood undertook a special visit to a township yoga class at Bambayi in Inanda, to the surprise and delight of township yoga students. The classes are the initiative of the Township Yogi Project, which aims to change the lives of those suffering in townships as a result of HIVV/Aids, TB, poverty, crime, violence and drug abuse, through the power of yoga.
Blair Underwood is well known for his roles in television series such as ‘LA Law’ and ‘The Event’, and in films such as ‘Gattaca’, ‘Deep Impact’ and ‘Rules of Engagement’. !
In addition to setting up grassroots yoga studios in townships, which offer free yoga classes, the Township Yogi Project aims to change lives and communities by training yoga teachers from within the townships. Once qualified, the township yoga teachers are employed to teach free yoga within their communities, thereby expanding the project. The project is quickly garnering support from both the South African and internationalyoga communities.
During his Durban visit, Blair Underwood also announced his role as a Producer and Narrator in the documentary film ‘Township Yogi’, which is being produced by KwaZulu Natal-based film production company Green Shoot Films. Director Peter Matthews said, “We are thrilled and honoured to have Blair Underwood on board as a Producer and Narrator of the ‘Township Yogi’ documentary film. Apart from the stature and respect he commands in the international film market, he also cares deeply about the Township Yogi Project and the people it is trying to help.” !
The ‘Township Yogi’ documentary looks at how yoga can be used as a practice of transformation for those living in poor township areas, and follows five township residents whose lives are changed through the power of yoga. According to Elle Matthews, Producer for Green Shoot Films, “Blair Underwood is a wonderful ambassador for the project and an invaluable asset to the film. The fact that he visited Inanda and participated in a township yoga class with the community is a true testament to his commitment to finding ways to bring about positive change in the lives of those living in townships in South Africa, through the power of yoga. We are really proud to be working with him on ‘Township Yogi’.”
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With unemployment, crime and AIDS rife in South Africa, this documentary explores the possibility that yoga can impact the health and attitude of those living without hope in its townships.
Produced by Elle Matthews and directed by Peter Matthews, TOWNSHIP YOGI is a Green Shoot Films documentary currently being filmed in KwaMashu and Inanda - KwaZulu Natal townships riddled with crime and unemployment, and where many of the population are suffering from HIV and Aids. Research has shown that the practice of yoga helps boost immune system activity, reduces stress, improves muscle tone, combats wasting and slows the progression of the disease.