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Fitness education in Egypt has taken a huge leap toward introducing the latest international techniques and styles of fitness-related activity in the past couple of years. SAFE academy, one of the leading fitness education academies in the Middle East, is offering a huge variety of courses and workshops to help fitness instructors in Egypt improve their craft.
Below Al-Masry Al-Youm interviews Karim Strougo, a well-known Egyptian fitness instructor and the head of SAFE academy, and discusses SAFE's latest edition in fitness training: Zen Conference.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: What is SAFE Academy? When did it start?
Strougo: SAFE Academy is the only truly Egyptian fitness education academy that offers Egyptian courses that are recognized worldwide. It was launched at the beginning of 2005, even though SAFE's most famous course had been running since 1998.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: Can you tell us more about the academy’s history of planning and organizing fitness conferences?
Strougo: After the huge success of our SAFE Convention and recognizing the international growth of mind-and-body approaches in the fitness arena worldwide, we have decided that it was time to have a conference dedicated for just that... hence, the ZEN Conference!
Starting this year, we at SAFE Academy intend to add the ZEN Conference to our regular fitness education events. Once every two years, we will bring you the latest that the world can offer to group fitness instructors and fitness enthusiasts through our SAFE Convention and, in the in-between years, we will bring you the ZEN Conference with the latest trends and researches in the mind-and-body field.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: Why did you start planning such events?
Strougo: Our aim is to place Egypt on the international map of fitness and let the world know that we have very good researchers and presenters here in Egypt. Another goal is to provide a very high quality education to fitness professionals in Egypt and the Middle-East region at affordable prices so they won't have to travel to the States or Europe to get certified. Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to keep attendance fees affordable for most people and we are hoping to bring those fees even lower in future years.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: Can you tell us more about the program of this conference?
Strougo: YogaFit® is joining the ZEN Conference to bring their extensive knowledge and expertise to the Middle East through their famous certification course, a pre-natal workshop and a series of master-classes.
SAFE Academy is also presenting a variety of workshops and master-classes to help introduce the group fitness instructors from various backgrounds and teaching aspirations to the mind-and-body concept. From “Therapeutic Yoga for Low Back Problems” to “Biomechanics of Pilates and Yoga,” SAFE Academy intends to shed some light on the various aspects of mind-and-body teachings and the reasons behind some of their guidelines.
The conference also features a Pranic Healing course, workshops on body awareness and Ayurvedic practices and a wide variety of master-classes ranging from meditation to Yoga Dance.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: Aside from yourself, who else is teaching courses and masterclasses in this year’s conference?
Strougo: This year, the ZEN Conference is introducing two new local presenters. Adham Hafez, a trans-disciplinary artist, researcher and pedagogue, engaged in a lot of practice and theory around semiotics, alternative body sciences, rituals and new hybrid artistic forms; and Mohamed Essa, the founder of the Dynamic Meditation group in Egypt, which aims to establish Dynamic Meditation as a healing technique and a way to transform negativity into vitality.
Two of our regular presenters will also be teaching this year: Anna-Louise Sebborn, who always brings her expertise enthusiastically to all our conventions and conferences, and the founder and manager of Body By Design Personal Training Studios in Maadi and Zamalek.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: Who is your clientele? Who wants to attend Zen?
Strougo: ZEN Conference 2010 is offering a wide array of master-classes that will appeal to mind-and-body enthusiasts as well as courses and workshops that will appeal to fitness professionals such as Yoga and Pilates Instructors and Fitness instructors and Personal Trainers who would like to incorporate Yoga and/or Pilates in their classes and training programs.
SAFE Academy is also sponsoring 10 students from the faculty of physical education to attend the ZEN Conference. We still have some spaces available for that sponsorship so, if you know a student in this faculty who is interested in the mind-and-body field, have him/her contact us. They might get a scholarship and benefit from this wonderful experience.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: Finally, what are your future plans in the fitness field in Egypt?
Strougo: Two weeks after the ZEN Conference, SAFE Academy is launching the first Egyptian Pilates Instructor Training Course, which leads to an international certification offering both AFAA and SAFE continuing education credits (CECs).
In March 2011, SAFE Academy will also be launching the first Egyptian Yoga Instructor Certification, also leading to an internationally recognized certification.
Next year, precisely on the 22nd of September 2011, our third SAFE Convention will take place, bringing some of the best fitness professionals from all over the world to Egypt and featuring some of the best Egyptian presenters as well.