In 2013, we returned to Ramallah for part two of our teacher training program for women from all over the West Bank. The project was taken on as part of an ongoing partnership with Farashe Yoga, a nonprofit center in Ramallah, in response to a growing demand for expanded and increasingly sustainable yoga programs in the city. The training, which began in 2012, was the first of its kind in Palestine. Our goal was to empower women from the local community to build resources and establish new and increased sustainable yoga-based wellness programs to schools, community centers, and refugee camps.
Over twenty women traveled from all over the West Bank to be with us for a weeklong intensive focused on trauma-sensitive yoga and meditation skills. Many traveled from their homes as far as three hours each way every day – homes in villages and cities where military occupation, violent protests, and socioeconomic disadvantage are a fact of daily life.
Despite the odds, these yoga teachers’ conviction that peace begins within and their perseverance in finding pathways for wellbeing is staggeringly inspirational. Again and again, we have had the honor to watch these women heal and grow with a sense of lightheartedness, enduring community, and true empowerment.
The majority of the women from our first training in July 2012 are now teaching yoga in their communities (some as many as 11 classes every week with 25+ people attending!) and all have incorporated yoga into their own lives to substantive positive effect.
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About Farashe for Healthy Living
Since it opened in 2010, Farashe has been striving to meet the needs of the community—offering safe, accessible yoga throughout occupied territories with only a few volunteer teachers. Anahata will help to increase the cadre of teachers that are able to offer these healing services and enable Farashe to increase their program offerings and outreach efforts.