CRP Yoga Fellows Begin Classes

Breathe in and breathe out, all the while focusing on your breathing. Feel your chest expand as you breathe in, being conscious of your own inner self. Explore what you’re feeling and meet yourself where you are.

These words and phrases are typical for any person who has attended a yoga class, whether they are a seasoned veteran or new beginner. While yoga has been around for thousands of years, only recently has it reached certain areas of the Middle East. CRP has been conducting yoga classes for two and a half years with great success, both for women and men.  Recently, we have also added a children’s class due to the popularity among our beneficiaries.

So, why yoga? For many of the people who attend activities at CRP, PTSD and anxiety plague their everyday lives due to fleeing violent war and conflict. While most organizations are focusing on basic needs, like food, a mainstay for CRP as well, not many go the extra step further and provide psycho-social wellness services. Since CRP operates a small community center in a tight-knit neighborhood, we can offer a positive social environment as well as basic needs assistance. Therefore, it seemed natural to begin offering such services, and the success of such activities speaks for itself.

So, why yoga? For many of the people who attend activities at CRP, PTSD and anxiety plague their everyday lives due to fleeing violent war and conflict. While most organizations are focusing on basic needs, like food, a mainstay for CRP as well, not many go the extra step further and provide psycho-social wellness services. Since CRP operates a small community center in a tight-knit neighborhood, we can offer a positive social environment as well as basic needs assistance. Therefore, it seemed natural to begin offering such services, and the success of such activities speaks for itself.

This past April, three trained yoga teachers from Ireland visited our center for two weeks offering trauma sensitive yoga for men, women, and children, as well as Arab dance. These ladies also conducted a 4-day training at a local studio for yoga teachers who call Jordan home. Among the trainees were teachers from Jordan, Palestine, Syria, America, and Nepal. While some teachers might be trained in Vinyasa or Hatha yoga, this training focused on how to offer yoga to those who are experiencing trauma. These newly trained teachers are now part of a CRP Yoga Fellows Program and they will be offering weekly yoga classes for an entire year.

Jennifer, one newly trained yoga fellow,  already loves teaching a women’s and children’s class every Monday. Coming in fully prepared to expect the unexpected, Jennifer said that as the weeks go by the classes become more relaxed and fun as the students become more comfortable with the new environment. “Yoga is really beneficial for refugees, it’s a safe space for them to get out of the mind and the body.” While Jennifer has worked previously with trauma in different contexts in the US and elsewhere in the world, she knew she wanted to come to Jordan to align her interests with the local refugee crisis. “It’s an opportunity for the students to explore, not to do the poses perfectly.” For many of the beneficiaries it might be their first time trying yoga, so having an opening and accepting space is the most important. “I present it as an opportunity to get to know ourselves on a different level and what’s present and alive in this moment. We all need to nurture ourselves!”