The Peace Within Project‘s mission is to train yoga teachers within underserved communities, in order to bring yoga to populations in need of healing and peace of mind.
The idea of the Peace Within Project was born during my intensive yoga teachers training in India. As I became aware, day after day, of the incredible transformative power of yoga, I started thinking how useful this “tool” would be to populations living in particularly difficult conditions: refugees fleeing war, people displaced after a natural disaster, etc. I had worked with these people for the last decade and knew that once the first needs met and the injuries treated, the wounds of the soul remained wide open: the trauma of losing your home or a loved one, the anxiety about your children’s future, the stress of finding how to earn the daily bread…
Yoga has since long proved its positive benefits over the body, the mind and the soul. In contexts where mental health support is not available, yoga is a simple way to improve everyday life: asanas (yoga postures) to stay healthy, breathing techniques to relax and be able to sleep despite all the worry, meditation to find courage, hope, tolerance and compassion within.
Training yoga teachers among the affected communities is a sustainable way to put yoga within reach to people in need of healing and peace of mind. It is especially crucial to teach yoga to children living under these circumstances. Children, like sponges, store all the negativity (worry, aggression…) from their environment and carry it all their life. Providing them from an early age with tools to deal with anger or sorrow will help them becoming balanced adults.
I chose the Palestinian Territories as the first context for the Peace Within Project as I had worked there twice, in particular with Doctors without Borders on mental health programs, observing first hand the psychological hardship endured by the Palestinians.
In the same spirit of sharing yoga with populations in need of inner peace, I recently had the chance to be part of the first yoga teachers training in a correctional institution in the US with the Sivananda organization.