Peace can be found within

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"Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down." 

Yoga and meditation classes in Bethlehem

Relaxed, peaceful, happy, healthy, positive, focused, difficult. These words were used by Palestinian women to describe their experiences after joining yoga and meditation classes for about a month at the Sumud Story House. “Yoga, that is something I’m not interested in,” said one of the women right away. “I don’t need such a thing to connect to God, God is with me all day long.” German volunteer Revina tells about teaching a yoga class during AEI’s summer workshops.

Quite a few women showed skepticism at the very beginning. Many considered themselves as not athletic and overweight. Others told me that sport isn’t a part of Palestinian society and sometimes even considered a bit strange. As fear of the unknown is a normal human reaction, I invited all women to gather more experiences with yoga and meditation before reflecting and judging upon something they never really participated in.

Yoga is not necessarily part of a religion - it is more like a tool for everyone and widespread all over the world. Being a Buddhist or Hinduist is not a precondition. It is a tool for life that can bring balance to the body, mind and soul and help us to feel more grounded. We can derive great benefit from yoga as inner development is the key to resolve conflicts on a small and world scale. Already after the first class many women were positively surprised about the impact of yoga and meditation as they experienced greater flexibility and relaxation in their bodies.

One woman told me, “You know, we need your classes so much because the reality of our life is so difficult here in Bethlehem. The yoga and meditation give us a few minutes of peace at a time of struggle und suffering.”

As suffering is often caused by human beings we can improve our skills to cope successfully with the challenges of our times and understand the sources of our problems. Yoga and meditation are just one out of many ways to do so. After one month of teaching yoga and meditation at the Sumud Story House, I felt that I had reached my goal to provide some support to its members. As I got to know Palestinian women as rather talkative and restless, the spirit of yoga and meditation helps them to transform into "silent Buddha’s" - at least for a little while!

“When you own your breath nobody can steal your peace."

Revina Kube

Student at the study program Social Sciences and Intercultural Relations at the University of Applied Sciences in Fulda, Germany

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