Physical fitness, movement and breath have always been important to Romario Simpson, one of our youth mentors at Gloves Not Gunz (GNG) and a yoga teacher with Urban Yogis UK (UYUK). From competing in a national gym competition as a teenager, to graduating as a professional actor from The Academy Of Live & Recorded Arts in his twenties, Romario’s humble enthusiasm and self-motivation makes him a true role model. Romario’s big smile matches his compassionate, fun-lovin’ spirit…. And for anyone who’s met him, you’ll agree his warmth and positive energy is authentic as it is infectious.
As Croydon community gathered at the Boxing Club to celebrate Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogis UK turning five in August ’22, we sat with Romario to chat about his role, the importance of breath, and how yoga can help young people in the UK.
How did you get involved with GNG and UYUK?
It began during the first lockdown. I used to do a security job, and then lockdown happened and everything shut down. I thought: ‘What more can I give?’, and I’ve always been interested in youth work because I grew up in a community that was under privileged and I had a lot of negative influences and no role models. So I thought I’d like to be a role model to these youths growing up, and got involved with Gloves Not Gunz.
GNG saw the passion in me, and they trained me up with health and safety and then trained me to be a yoga teacher. I completed my qualification in October 2021, so it’s almost been a year since I’ve been teaching.
What are the challenges that exist for young people in UK, and how can a discipline like a martial arts or yoga help?
I think a lot of the challenges for young people in the UK is the influence of social media, and how much it can change a young person’s perception—how much it can influence their everyday decision making.
A practice like yoga can help just calm the mind and bring people back to self, because it is hard to take time for self.
When young people take that five or ten minutes just to breathe, that can help their psyche in not letting all these influences corrupt them.
0Romario Demonstrates Seated Twist in a Group Yoga Sesh at Community Day 2022 | image by Bevin Sutherland
Who is your role model?
My role model is the incredible actor Denzel Washington. He has nothing but positive things to say to the world and he uses his influence to do so. Big up Denzel!
Images by Bevin Sutherland