Izelle and her husband Malcolm Nair, owners of thriving Earth Yoga Studio in Kyalami, decided they wanted to bring a bit of magic into their community last year. Despite the many difficulties they faced being in the midst of a pandemic, they opened Merschool, the very first Mermaid swim school in South Africa.
Naturally, I was extremely intrigued to learn more about mermaiding, so put on my figurative mermaid tail and jumped into the deep end to discover how the first Mermaid Swim School in South Africa got started.
Romi: How incredible to be the first mermaid swim school in SA. Especially from starting this school in the uncertainties of 2020. How did Merschool begin?
Izzy: When the swim school next door to our Yoga Studio closed down during lockdown, we took over the space with the intention of growing our yoga studio. We soon realized we wanted to keep the space as is and open a Mermaid Swim School instead. It’s something we looked into a few years back but never dreamed will happen for us. We didn’t even consider finances, we just wanted to have fun and bring some magic to our community. Somehow it all worked out.
Romi: How does the mermaid element work in your swimming lessons?
Izzy: We offer dedicated 1 hour mermaiding classes to people that can already swim. Mermaiding is an International sport with World Championships. It involves sculling (hand movements), dolphin swim (whole body wave – different techniques), sequence swimming, tricks and mermaiding mannerisms which require you to hold your breath for really long. We will be hosting South Africa’s first Mermaiding Championship in September.
Romi: What are the benefits of Mermaiding?
Izzy: Mermaiding is a great way to strengthen the upper body, back, core and glute muscles. It is a strong workout for the whole body and a lot of fun. Sculling is a skill, learning the force of the water and how to manipulate it. The breath techniques teach the mind to be calm and expand our threshold for chaos. It involves dress-up and artistic expression as well. Mermaids always bring a good vibe especially if kids are around it always makes people happy to see a mermaid.
Once you can swim like a mermaid and look like you live underwater you can become a professional mermaid that works at events like corporate functions and birthday parties.
Romi: Do you teach people and children from all ages at Merschool?
Izzy: Yes all ages are welcome. The only requirement is that you must already be able to swim, usually from 6 years of age. You are never too old to be a mermaid!
Romi: Do you provide your students with a mermaid tail at every lesson or do they need to purchase their own mermaid tail before joining?
Izzy: We provide mermaid tails and monofins, however most buy their own eventually. It’s like a yoga mat, at some point you want your own.
Romi: With your business Earth Yoga Studio being right next door, do you have students who enjoy both mermaiding along with their yoga?
Izzy: Yes the two go hand in hand. There is a lot of the calmness and breath that we need in mermaiding. Also to accomplish some of the tricks it helps to have a subtle and strong body. Yogis seem to get the mermaiding movements quicker than people that have no movement practice.
Romi: Do you have any males joining your classes? As the benefits of mermaiding must the extremely beneficial for both males and females!
Izzy: Yes we have a few mermen in our community. They might just swim with the monofin and skip on wearing the tails, it’s fun for all genders and ages! The younger boys enjoy it too and play Triton and Aquaman with their tails. Mermaiding helps us to reconnect with the younger self and transports us to a new world.
We are so excited to see Merschool hosting South Africa’s first Mermaiding Championship in September.
Follow along on their Social Media Platforms:
Facebook: Merschool South Africa
Youtube: Merschool South Africa