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Society & Culture

CONTENTS Indoor rock climbing 54 Bikram yoga 55 Horse riding 57 Scuba diving 58 O to the races 59 Last Word 60

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Someone to catch you if you fall

limb BlueSky is East Africas rst indoor rock climbing gym and it boasts 6,000 square feet of faux-rock climbing surfaces that have been erected at a maximum height of 9 metres. Each plywood wall - reinforced with steel - is dotted with colourful holds made from synthetic material to mimic the shapes and textures one might nd on real rock. Started by avid rock climbing enthusiasts, Andrew Conway and Stephen Powell, the facility caters to both beginners and learners. It has a 7-foot tall bouldering cave padded with thick mattresses, and oers a variation of heights. Because it does not require the use of ropes, the room is the perfect learning environment for beginners or those afraid of heights. Other structures at the climbing gym are extremely challenging. And because of the impermanent structure of the holds on the walls, the route on each wall can be altered regularly to make it dierent, and more or less challenging depending on the needs of climbers. At Climb BlueSky, we have tried to cater for everyone from a rst time climber to people who have been climbing for years. So we made some routes that are very simple - almost like a staircase - and we have little kids who are several years old climbing them, explains Andrew as he indicates the various structures. He continues, Others are extremely challenging with leaning back negative angles,
| Nairobi Business Monthly February

Fear of the unknown is sometimes best conquered in twos

New indoor and outdoor activities promise to challenge your approach to business and tness.

Society & Culture

There are over 2,000 bikram yoga studios across the world. In Africa, there are only four: two in Johannesburg, one in Casablanca and now one in Nairobi.

Indoor rock climbing builds a relationship of trust between the climber and their belay.

where all your weight is pulling against you. Built at a total investment of $300,000 (Sh25.8 million) which included importation of material and equipment from the United States since mountain climbing is not a well developed sport in Kenya, project planning and preparation has taken nearly two years. Andrew and Stephen describe rock climbing as a team activity since it works best in pairs, and while one member Andrew Conway and of the team climbs, the Stephen Powell of other is a belay and Climb BlueSky safeguards the climber by controlling the rope at ground level. They encourage climbing as a family activity in Kenya because it oers parents and children the opportunity to spend quality time together. Everyone is attached to a safety rope so if you were to fall, the safety rope would catch you, and that is why your partner is there, says Andrew. And when you get to the top, you are very slowly and in a controlled way lowered to the ground. The benets for the individual are also highly worthwhile, Andrew explains. You have a route or a climb that you try in the gym, and maybe you dont get it this week. But you come back next weekend and you get it. That feeling of challenge and accomplishment is great. Ideal clothing for an indoor rock climb includes track or sweat pants, and a pair of close toed shoes. Special rock climbing shoes are available for hire, although not essential. Climb BlueSky, Diamond Plaza, Highridge

Test the limits of your body

ikram yoga is popularly referred to as hot yoga because the studio in which the 26 yoga postures are performed is heated to 40 degrees celsius: an environment that enhances muscle exibility. But there is a lot more to the sport than warmth. The heat softens the muscles allowing you to bend

Karim Nathoo and Emma Day, co-owners of the Bikram Yoga studio, are also instructors.

into poses you would not be able to achieve in a room of normal temperature, while the humidity encourages blood ow to dierent areas of the body ushing out toxins. The overall eect is a thorough cardiovascular work out. The idea of performing an exercise routine in a heated room was developed by Indian born Bikram Choudhury who began yoga at the age of four. He introduced it to the west through Hollywood actress Shirley Maclaine and President Richard Nixon who granted him a green card after Bikram healed his knee injury with yoga. The concept took North America and Europe by storm and today, there are over 2,000 bikram yoga studios across the world. In Africa, there are only four: two in Johannesburg, one in Casablanca and now one in Nairobi. Nairobis rst Bikram yoga studio is
February Nairobi Business Monthly |

Society & Culture

The humidity of the Bikram yoga studio helps your muscles to relax and increases exibility.

Men feel that yoga is not for them but this type of yoga, is more strong. We call it kick ass yoga!
located at the Lavington Green and is owned by Bikram yoga enthusiasts, Karim Nathoo and Emma Day, who are also instructors at the centre and are accompanied by a team of travelling instructors from across the world. They opened Nairobis rst Bikram Yoga studio at the Lavington Green last September and invested over $100,000 (Sh8.5 million) in the equipment and the studio. Instructor Africa Asencio said, Generally men feel that yoga is not for them but this type of yoga, is more strong. We call it kick ass yoga! Guys tend to like it more.
| Nairobi Business Monthly February

These postures are not fast, added Emma. You hold them for 30 seconds to a minute. Whatever your level youre at, you come out feeling as if youve really worked your body but not beyond your limit. However, she admits that hot yoga can be challenging. If you want to kneel or lay down, you can. You just need to stay in the room. And after one or two classes, youre hooked. If you dont have this great feeling after three or four classes, then its not for you. But you need to try it, she said. It can be practised by anyone aged 13 and above, although its unique approach mandates the need to come to class on an empty stomach (last meal four hours before) and be properly hydrated. Students should wear light clothing which allows perspiration and carry a yoga mat and towel (available for rent). Bikram Yoga, Lavington Green

Discover your leadership ability

rnest Njiru rst saw horses when he visited a friend in Karen at the age of 17. Despite his initial apprehension about the tall, big boned creatures - with their quirky habits of snorting air to ease an itch in the nose, rolling in the dust to scratch their backs, and expressing anger by kicking (and splintering) a thick wooden post - he spent the next 13 years nurturing his passion, and gradually learnt to cater for their every need. His understanding of the magnicent creatures continued to grow, and in January 2010 with his meagre savings of Sh200,000, he opened his own horse riding stables on Thigiri Ridge in the up-market residential suburb of Muthaiga. Today, the New Muthaiga Stables has 15 stables (5 horses and 10 ponies) and also oers boarding facilities for clients that are unable to house their private horses. The business is now worth around Sh3 million. The greatest challenge Ernest encounters is the belief that horse riding is an elitist and expensive sport. They say it is for the British, for the wealthy. That it is a rich sport. I say that is your mindset. Go and ask, maybe it is something you can aord. But seeing the growth in horse riding as a sport in Kenya satises Ernest - not just because it means good times ahead for his business, but also because of the lessons that interacting with horses can oer. Yes I am in business but my enjoyment is in seeing other people coming to learn, he says. While it is easier to adjust to the sensitive nature of horses at a young age - because children have a positive attitude to new experiences which makes them good riders - Ernest believes that horse riding oers a unique opportunity to anyone, whatever their age. Fear comes when you are not in control, he says. Horses are very sensitive animals, and people are afraid because they dont know why a horse is doing a certain thing. But when you teach them theyre like Oh, thats why. Adults are also generally more pessimistic than children when they encounter some-

Children adapt more easily, but the advantages of horse riding for adults should not be discounted.

Riding inculcates many of the right attitudes: good leadership, overcoming fear of the unknown, teamwork and a positive attitude.
thing new. One thing about kids is that they are positive. They are not like us where you think if I fall Ill break my leg. Kids dont see the negative side and that makes them good riders, he says. But the trick, he says, is to know what to expect, and if one is prepared to overcome the initial hesitancy, there are big rewards since horse riding inculcates many of the

right attitudes: good leadership, overcoming fear of the unknown, teamwork and most importantly a positive attitude. Horses are social animals, and as primary consumers - like other herbivores - their key concern is security and they are wary of being attacked. This places the onus of leadership, good judgment and strength of character on the rider. As a rider when you get on a horse and you are afraid, because of your body language, you are telling the horse that the environment is not safe. And so your horse will think something is coming to attack him so he will take o and try to join other horses or return to the stables, Ernest explains. But if you as the rider are condent, the horse will be condent because he will know his master is taking care of everything. New Muthaiga Horse Riding Stables, Thigiri
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