Health & Fitness

New Gym Brings the Outdoors In

Dojo Wellness Club
Dojo Wellness Club in Karen on August 21, 2019, PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

Dojo is a Japanese word for a place to find your way. It is also where a person goes to practice martial arts, judo and meditation.

It is also where 33-year-old Stella Deane and her partner Stuart Herd got their tagline for their gym in Nairobi’s Karen area.

Six weeks ago, they opened Dojo, a lifestyle and wellness club that “helps one find their way to wellness.”

They have employed 12 coaches, five yoga teachers and an additional 15 workers.

“Stuart and I wanted a space where people can create a happy and healthy lifestyle, and enjoy themselves at the same time. We wanted people to have a choice of working out indoors or outdoors at any time of the day. This club has five separate workout areas; the outside, callisthenics, combat, yoga and endurance,” she says.


The outside is for natural, primal and parkour movement that all go back to how the body naturally moves.

It may sounds basic, but many people currently have forgotten how to move properly. These exercises incorporate a lot of mobility.

There is the fundamental class, which is for beginners, an advanced one and for children as well. The gym is aesthetically built to allow one to move through the environment in different ways like jumping, swinging, hopping and running.

They also offer the high interval training, also known as the classic HIT, battle ropes, sledges and tyres while incorporating the obstacle movement.

The indoor functional area, which includes callisthenics, combat, yoga and endurance, has a modern and natural feel to it.

“We have utilised a lot of glass so as to be able to bring the outdoors into the studio,” she says.

Callisthenics is a retro style of exercise that has been around for hundreds of years. It has less chances of injury and a much more natural style of workout.

It is built on body weight exercises and suspension training, meaning one relies on their own body for toning and muscle building. The combat area is for boxing exercises and martial arts. The free-weights are found here too.

“The last thing we want is people to stare at screens after a long day of work. We are not confined to anything digital. It also brings in the community and social aspect, where clients get to meet new workout partners instead of wearing earphones and being on a treadmill the entire time,” she says.

Stella Deane

Stella Deane at her Dojo WellnessClub in Karen, Nairobi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

The mobility class includes Pilates, yoga and dance classes.

The endurance room is where professional trainers who were part of the Kenya Riders teach indoor cycling.

“The energy is amazing when all the classes are filled. It is inspiring for people to see others doing different types of workouts,” Stella says.

Aside from the training, Dojo has a smoothie bar, with mostly organic and natural foods.

“A lot of the greens come from our garden. It’s all vegan and sugar free,” she says.

Stella has integrated Shiatsu, sports and clinical massages, heat treatment in the gym, and looking to set up a meditation room for people who experience muscle soreness and stiffness.

“We’re also already looking to open a branch in Westlands,” says Stella.