Every Wednesday CRP holds men’s and women’s yoga classes. Last week’s classes were extra special. Claire was back!
Every year Claire (pictured below), a professional yoga instructor from Ireland, comes to CRP to help train instructors in trauma-sensitive yoga and hold classes and give guidance to participants. Claire focuses on a trauma sensitive approach and listening to the unique needs of her students.
Claire comes to us as part of a larger umbrella initiative called the Yoga Mandala Project, a partner organization with CRP. Directed by Bella Hancock and organized by Rula Wardeh, this project – and specifically Claire’s visits to CRP, exist to train yoga teachers who wish to volunteer with us.
Apart from the standard men’s and women’s classes, she holds a chair-yoga class for the elderly and disabled. She also started one-to-one yoga therapy sessions last year, meeting with members of CRP’s yoga classes individually. This system gives Claire a better opportunity to understand the individual’s situation, their goals, and any special needs they might have.
Students commonly tell Claire about their concerns, such as problems sleeping, digestive trouble, high blood pressure, and general pain without a particular cause, often as a result of stress. Stress is the number one challenge affecting the refugees that she sees. Most are worrying about family back home and their current situation. Mental well-being is often a greater concern than the physical and typically presents more concerns..
She says that a teacher in her position always has to be ready to adapt. For instance, some people aren’t comfortable laying down on the floor, and others have limited mobility and require a chair. It’s important to have a defined methodology but remain flexible and considerate.
Amjad (pictured below) came to Jordan a year and a half ago from Iraq, and now yoga is an important part of his daily life. “Yoga doesn’t really exist in Iraq, at least not in the villages and more rural areas,” he says. “I heard a lot about it and started out of curiosity.” Now he’s a regular participant!
Ultimately, Claire aims to offer at least a glimmer of hope and relief through her classes. In regards to the teachers who she trains, she hopes that they go out into the larger refugee community and spread the knowledge that they’ve gained.
Click here to learn more about the Yoga Mandala Project.