Mother- an inspiring Kemetic Yoga teacher – a skilled dancer and runner, proudly representing Asics as a Frontrunner – visionary behind “My Beautiful People” and “My Beautiful People Run.”
Introducing Zozo Ntokazi Mposula, a dynamic individual with a rich and diverse background. Hailing from South Africa and currently calling Copenhagen home, Zozo wears many hats with grace and passion. She’s a devoted mother, an inspiring teacher, and a skilled dancer and runner, proudly representing Asics as a Frontrunner. Zozo is also the visionary behind two impactful initiatives: “My Beautiful People” and “My Beautiful People Run.” Beyond her physical pursuits, she is a dedicated yoga teacher and the founder of “ZozoKemetiYoga.” With a vibrant blend of talents and a commitment to wellness, Zozo is a remarkable presence in both her local and global communities.
“Movement has always been my source of joy and solace.“
– Zozo Ntokazi Mposula, Photography by Andy Astfalck
Can you share your journey and how you discovered your passion for dance, Kemetic yoga, and running? What drew you to each of these activities?
As a child, I developed a deep love for performing in front of my family and community, often earning coins for my efforts. I have vivid memories of dancing at age five at a local shebeen, surrounded by enthusiastic applause. So, it was no surprise that my path eventually led me to pursue dance more seriously. Throughout my school years, I was a dedicated member of the athletic team, and I even went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Arts as a performer. Movement has always been my source of joy and solace.
During the pandemic, while searching for ways to stay connected to my passion, I stumbled upon Kemetic yoga online, and it proved to be a precious gift that I desperately needed at that time.
Can you tell us a bit more about your work and life?
I currently run half marathons, train weights, teach yoga, dance. I live and breathe movement quit my job as a school teacher due to a burn -out and currently exploring movement as a way forward in my career growth.
“Movement becomes a form of meditation.”
– Zozo Ntokazi Mposula, Photography by Andy Astfalck
How do you find balance and harmony between your roles as a dancer, Kemetic yoga teacher, and runner? Are there any common principles that tie these practices together for you?
Experiencing burnout turned out to be an unexpected blessing in disguise, as it tought me invaluable lessons. It taught me the importance of prioritizing rest and self-care, and it showed me how to say no when necessary. I learned to listen to the warning signs of anxiety, migraines, and chest tightness, allowing me to take better care of myself.
For me, movement has become a powerful tool for healing, whether it’s through yoga, dance, training, or running. It grants me a sense of control over my body and provides a unique solace. When I move, it feels like a transformation occurs within me. As a result, I now make a daily commitment to training and practicing yoga, along with running twice a week. I’ve shifted my approach to movement, adopting a mindful mindset, and though I’m still a work in progress, I’m gradually embracing slower, more deliberate motions.
The shared essence among various forms of movement lies in self-love, ease, inner joy, confidence, empowerment and connecting to my higher self. These feelings emerge when we discover inner stillness, whether by losing ourselves in the music and dancing carefreely or practicing meditation. Sometimes my long runs can also have a meditative feel to it due to the rhythm in the breath, almost trance like.
The reason I interchange between these forms is that they each offer me something different, dance is about expressing whatever state I might be in, be it sadness, joy or introspection. Yoga helps me to recalibrate, find balance, calm and ease, find back to self. Running is all about channeling and focusing and pushing through obstacles and knowing that it is possible. Running makes me feel invincible but also humbles me. I am a Libra, so I am always seeking challenge and balance.
With your busy schedule having all these roles, how do you integrate the principles of slow living into your daily routine? Are there specific practices or rituals that help you maintain a sense of balance and mindfulness?
After my burnout I I came to understand the healing power of simply “being” rather than constantly “doing.” I now embrace the beauty of Sunday mornings, having a less packed day, prioritizing rest on my couch, naps, saying no, being ok with slow and being kinder to myself. Being around people who calm my nervous system, consuming positive images and experiences also help. I try to include luxurious moments like losing myself in several books, wearing a warm soft cardigan, sipping tea with cinnamon, getting more hugs and l love you’s from loved ones.
“Ubuntu, “I am, because you are” is about connecting us to our ancestral lineage, especially if the attendees are brown and black people.”
– Zozo Ntokazi Mposula, photography by Amanda Thomsen
Could you describe a memorable experience or performance that truly exemplified the synergy between dance, Kemetic yoga, and running in your life?
My half Marathon in Berlin after my burn-out where I was advised against running as it resembles the same feeling of flight or fight mode similar to a dysregulated nervous system. I started walking, which was hard because my identity is being runner not a walker. But due to yoga and dance, which is about breathwork, it helped me to become aware of my body and when to push or hold back. So, training for the half marathon was like learning to walk again and running in Berlin was like the first time ever running, each kilometer was so meaningfull and a milestone. Reaching the finish line, I was deeply humbled. It took a combination of patience, awareness to my breath and being fully present.
I am super interested in Kemectic yoga and eager to learn more. It is deeply rooted in ancient Egyptian traditions, right? How do you incorporate these historical and cultural elements into your teachings, and what kind of impact do you hope to make by sharing this practice with others?
I infuse a little of the Kemetic history each time, so not to scare or overwhelm people and I try to bring knowledge on some of the postures and their meaning in our day-to-day life. It’s more about creating an awareness and offering an alternative way of moving that different historically and physically. E.g. The Goddess of Maat, is a powerful posture about balance, order, righteousness and reciprocity, everything we know and are in black African communities. Ubuntu, “I am, because you are” is about connecting us to our ancestral lineage, especially if the attendees are brown and black people.
Kemetic yoga was like coming home.
–Zozo Ntokazi Mposula, photography by Amanda Thomsen
Both Kemetic yoga and running offer opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. Can you share a specific instance where these practices helped you overcome a challenge or reach a new level of understanding about yourself?
Discovering Kemetic yoga felt like returning to my roots. In my South African culture, we have divine healers called I Zangoma, a tradition I had distanced myself from during my years in Europe. I was somewhat ignorant about the connections to African cultures. Interestingly, my own mother was a divine healer, a fact I had not fully grasped.
Kemetic yoga reawakened something deep within me, a connection to our ancestors and the deities of Kemet. During my initiation, I learned about dietary choices – my mother avoided dairy and eggs, a practice I was unaware of. It opened my eyes to certain foods that aren’t suitable for us.
This spiritual journey also made me realize the healing power of nature, something deeply ingrained in my upbringing. My mother relied on nature’s herbs for healing and had to study them meticulously. Kemetic yoga filled in the missing pieces, bringing me back home.
Now, I burn African incense, maintain an altar to honor my ancestors, and take my dreams seriously, seeking help to decipher their meanings. I’ve shed the fear associated with what was once called witchcraft; it’s rightfully a part of me, and I confidently embrace it.
Kemetic yoga has shown me that the sun, community, song, dance, and hearty laughter are the keys to healing, well-being, and thriving.
What valuable lesson would you like to share with our readers?
One of my key lessons for Adjuma’s readers is that, as a creative individual, I often struggle to wind down. It’s a challenge for me. However, I’ve found a helpful tool in box breathing to calm my mind. Although I’m not a regular coffee drinker, I occasionally enjoy an oat milk latte. I’ve noticed that when I do indulge in lattes, it tends to make me feel more restless. I’m still in the process of learning to reduce my consumption of lattes, which has been an important lesson in managing my creative energy and finding a sense of balance.
Thanks to Zozo for sharing your inspirational story! If you’d like to learn more about what she does and find her classes, feel free to explore the links provided below.