Like prayer

“At first I felt that yoga was something new and strange, but then I found that yoga gives you hope in life. Also, I noticed that many practices in yoga are very similar to the actions that we do while praying. 

After beginning to practice yoga, I have become more patient and calm with the people around me. I was always angry, but now I release my stress with the yoga classes.

I have started to teach yoga to kids here in the settlement. Now whenever they see me they ask me to do a yoga class with them. And when I visit my cousins’ tent, we do yoga together.”

– Participant, Bar Elias, Bekaa valley, Lebanon

Learning to be in the present

“When I’m in a yoga class my brain kind of concentrates on what I’m doing rather than continuously worry about things I cannot change. I find that since I started yoga I can breathe whenever I feel like things are too hard to handle, I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life.” 

– Participant, Liverpool, UK

Like going to the doctor’s

“When I go to the yoga class, I feel like if I’m going to a doctor’s clinic. For me it’s a powerful therapy.

I remember the first time I joined a yoga class. My life at that time was really bad – difficulties with my sons, bad financial situation, sick brother – and I used to cry most of the day. I went to the class just to get out of the house. To be honest, I didn’t think yoga could help me. 

After the first class, I felt something different: I relaxed during this hour, I wasn’t thinking of my problems, the whole hour was just to be with myself.

Now I’m happier; I’m laughing most of the time, not crying as I was. I use yoga to release the stress of my life. I feel that I have more options, and I’m not just living for my sons. I’m taking care of myself, giving my body and mind their rights.

I used to beat my sons sometimes, but now no. Yoga taught me how to be patient and calm.” 

– Participant, Saadnayel, Bekaa valley, Lebanon

Thinking good things

“When I am alone at home I feel depressed. When I come to class I forget my life for a little bit and begin to think good things.” 

– Participant, Liverpool, UK

Self-help during the quarantine

“During these days of quarantine, the only thing we can do to help ourselves is yoga. Whenever I feel scared and not able to tell anyone about my fears, I do some yoga practices. I usually do them with my sons; we all need it. Sometimes my neighbours come to my home and we practice together. We feel fresh and energetic after doing the practices.” 

– Yoga teacher trainee, Saadnayel, Bekaa valley, Lebanon

Just being

“I feel very relaxed and don’t want the session to end. I want to be in that moment for a century if possible.” 

– Participant, Liverpool, UK

A new person

“After each yoga class, I come home a new person, a free and happy person, as if I’ve left all my worries in the class and returned without them. I had never thought that something could affect me in this way. I used to sit most of the day just trembling and rocking my body back and forth. Since I started yoga, this trembling has been reduced. Not just reduced: now it’s rare. I’m feeling stronger now. Now I practice yoga at home whenever I’m stressed. Earlier I wasn’t social at all. I’ve really changed. Now I go to my neighbours’ houses to sit for a long time, and I enjoy that. Before I used to lock the door and stay alone just trembling.”

– Participant, Bar Elias, Bekaa valley, Lebanon