2014 November—Amman, Jordan. CRP yoga class.This past month, CRP hosted Bella Hancock, an experienced yoga instructor from Ireland, to help us set up an ongoing yoga program for adults and youth. During the entire month, Bella led intensive yoga workshops for men, women, teens, and children with the overarching aim of addressing psychosocial issues and promoting mindfulness and wellness.

We’ve been interested in running more programs that promote self care because everyone in our community really needs this support. While refugees are challenged with adjusting to life in a new country, they have the added burden of struggling to cope with traumatizing past experiences. PTSD, anxiety, depression and other associated health issues are rampant in our community and we are sure that yoga will be of great help to those we serve.

“The idea is to become aware of the body mind connection, because one of the effects of trauma is that it is very physiological,” Bella says. “With yoga, you start to feel stronger and more centered in your body. When you start to feel you’re inhabiting your body, that gives you a sense of inner strength and inner resource.”

Our community is greatly enjoying the yoga sessions, which are continuing after Bella’s return to Ireland. CRP has begun to train our beneficiaries to become yoga instructors and we have also started classes in Trauma Release Exercise (TRE). Khaled, a yoga participant, explains, “Yoga relieves us of the weight of being a refugee in Amman. Now we are learning yoga so we can teach other people and teach ourselves. We have not reached the end goal yet.”

We’re very happy to have begun incorporating yoga, TRE and dance into our regular schedule and plan to further add wellness activities to our regular programming to improve the physical and psychological well-being of members of our community.