Pablo Imani's story
Pablo Menfesawe-Imani BA (Hons), BSY, (YRT) ITEC is the founder of Afrikan Yoga, a system of integral healing with Ancient Egyptian origins known as Tama-re Smai Taui. Pablo is a certified Hatha Yoga Teacher, a Holistic Health and Wellbeing Consultant and Author of Afrikan Yoga ‘A Practical Guide to Smai Posture, Breath and Meditation’. Pablo is also a Massage Therapist and Balanced Health Practitioner trained in Kinesiology. Born in Britain, to Jamaican parents and of Tuareg ancestry Pablo Imani started his career as an Iconographic Artist, Dancer and DJ. He exhibited works in UK and Germany, and his art work became a T-shirt series in Japan. Pablo deejayed in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. After being told by his teacher at an art school that he could not achieve a degree ("You are talented" - the teacher said, "but don’t set your sights too high”), Pablo went to the University of Wolverhampton and gained a Degree in Visual Communications.
For several years Pablo was the Director and lead facilitator of Black Angels Arts consultancy (personal development programmes and art projects). Pablo created and alongside his team facilitated and delivered motivation & identity formation programmes in schools, transition coaching with group of boys aged 9- 15 years, who were experiencing difficulties in their social and emotional development due to a lack of self esteem from the African/African Caribbean community. Pablo's art work 'Black Angels' is now cited in the English National Curriculum Key Stage 3. During this time he was also a lecturer in photography ‘Access to education and foundation courses’ with young people aged 15-19 years excluded from school or seeking further education at Merton College and Battersea College. Pablo was also invited by other education institutions to speak on media, representation and identity formation.
Menfesawe-Imani states that the arts saved him:
'"Raised in Manchester where most of my immediate friends were caught up in guns, drugs and gang culture, I could have easily stagnated - that’s death. My life would have been a different story had I not had focus that kept me sane, my art.”
Pablo Imani has had many near death experiences growing up in Oldham and escaping the drug gang culture in nearby Moss-side Manchester. The stories of his early years read like scenes from an action movie – being pushed through a two story window, threatened with a knife; having a gun held to his head by secret police. After a near death car accident, Pablo Imani realized that it was time for a transformational change and committed his life to teaching the practice of yoga to help others transform their lives.
Pablo has a background in Martial Arts and was trained from the age of 12 - 19 in Muay Thai by Grand Master Toddy who brought Muay Thai to the UK; he later attended Afrikan Martial Arts classes at The Academy of Nubian Cultural Arts where he both trained in Ijakadi Ka-Zimba Ngoma (combative) and Lliama Chia (ancient ways of relaxing and stretching). Pablo then went on to study Tai Chi and also trained in Dankira Tewagi ‘Warrior Dance’ founded by Astehmari Batekun combining movement mathematics and the Amharic language. Pablo was initiated into a Sufi order in 1996 and mentored by Dr Muata Abhaya Ashby 1998 -1999 of Sema Institute of Yoga based in Florida. He was then initiated into AEO The Ancient Egyptian Order by Amen Nebu Re Ankh Ptah in 2000. Pablo was also trained by Dr Llaila Afrika as a Holisitc Health and Wellness Consultant in 2005 and became a member of International Board of Afrikan Thinkers, Traditional Priest, Priestesses, Healers and Religion Association.
He studied Isha Kriya Yoga designed by Sadhguru J.Vasudev and is initiated as a Hem Netcher ‘Servant of Spirit’ by Heri Khafra Ndongo Kemetic High Priest of the Temple of the White and Gold Lotus Shrine of Amen-Ra, based in Georgia USA. Pablo has attended several Vipassana retreats and trained in Meditation under the tutelage of the Venerable Bhante Buddharakkhita of Theraveda Buddhist Meditation tradition. Pablo served as the principle Yoga teacher at the Uganda Buddhist Centre in Uganda for 2 years and was also mentored by Dr Sekagya Yahayam of the Dr Sekagya Institution of Traditional Medicine at the Traditional Healers Forest School at Buyijja, Uganda. Pablo went on to speak and provide yoga at The Global Peace Initiative of Women held at the United Nations HQ in Nairobi Kenya & Olari Nyiro/Laikipia Nature Conservancy Kenya. Pablo is currently mentored by Swami Madhusudan Das based in London, UK and currently attends the Sri Aurobindo’s Auromira Centre in London, UK. Pablo insists he is still learning.
My Three Stages of Development.
First Stage: Cats
I was fortunate to have two family cats in my home as a small boy. I was growing up with cats, watching them stretch, observing their ability to deeply relax purring in stillness and calmness, every muscle in a state of de-stress yet possessing so much agility that their running and hunting was second to none.
I copied them the same way our ancient ancestors studied various animals in order to develop their martial sciences. The experience and in-perience in my childhood became a ritual.
Second Stage: Dance & Martial Arts
My second stage of development was dance and martial arts. As a boy and a teenager I developed the physical discipline and understanding of ritualistic approach to training the body. I practiced Muay Thai (Thailand), Wing Chung, Tai Chi (China), Capoeira (Angola/Brazil), Kalinda, Kazimba Ijakadi, Dankira Tawagi - Warrior Dance (African Martial Arts). I developed the habit of stretching that led me into combining this with my creativity using this in dance. I was headhunted by local dance schools that allowed me to develop strong friendships with dancers, choreographers and movement technicians. At this stage I was introduced to Hatha Yoga.
Third Stage: Mysticism
The third stage of my development was mysticism. In the search of finding myself I was initiated into a Sufi Order and an Ancient Egyptian Order. I became fascinated with Africa and all things African including the origins of esoteric practices and world religions.
I spent a lot of time traveling to Africa, US, Caribbean and Japan learning mostly about Africa and meeting various masters. This was my introduction to Yoga from an African perspective.