Yoga for the West Bank: A Program for Palestinian Yoga Teachers
Give Back Yoga is honored to support a new global initiative that will train Palestinian yoga teachers to share this transformational practice as a tool for inner peace in the politically unstable region of the West Bank. Yoga is largely unknown among Palestinians. But over the past two years, more Palestinians — women in particular — have embraced the discipline as a way of coping with the stresses of prolonged conflict. These daily stresses include political unrest, commuting through military checkpoints, unstable employment, and restrictions on movement and access.
By sharing yoga, we can give those affected by conflict and unrest an opportunity to experience inner harmony, while planting seeds of peace and hope that may continue to blossom in coming generations.
This initiative builds on the work that has already been done by great yoga organizations like Niroga Institute, Anahata International and Olive Tree Yoga, who have each led yoga trainings in the region.
Training Local Teachers
In May 2015, Give Back Yoga representatives traveled to Farashe Yoga Center in Ramallah. There, Mindful Yoga Therapy founder Suzanne Manafort led a two-week teacher training alongside Rama Jyoti Vernon and 7 Centers Yoga Arts, sharing techniques and the underlying science of trauma-sensitive yoga with a group of Palestinian yoga teachers and students. Through this training, the new teachers hope to bring yoga into urban refugee camps, schools, hospitals, and more.
MYT in the West Bank
We brought yoga teachers in the West Bank an Arabic translation of the Mindful Yoga Therapy practice guide, giving them a resource for sharing yoga practices that help students to cope with stress and trauma. Originally developed for veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, the Mindful Yoga Therapy program offers an accessible “toolbox” of asana, yoga nidra, breath work, meditation and gratitude to calm the nervous system.
Through our trip to Ramallah, we forged strong and lasting bonds with yoga teachers and other professionals who wish to share yoga as a valuable tool to address the realities of life in the West Bank. They are enthusiastic about the vision of helping yoga to spread, and finding the places and people who will benefit most from its gifts. We plan to continue collaborating with this group to foster the growth of yoga in Palestine. Support this work by making a donation, below.