Whole societies have been traumatised by war. A new generation is growing up that has never known peace. According to some measures, half of refugees are experiencing psychological distress and mental illness. We aim to introduce the tools of yoga to refugees and asylum seekers who are suffering from stress, anxiety and trauma, so that they can live balanced and productive lives.
With tools to manage stress and recover from trauma, the widespread mental health problems among refugees can be reduced. The various yoga techniques taught in our classes work on the nervous system to bring about profound relaxation. The parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, strengthening the relaxation response, while the sympathetic nervous system with its stress response calms down. This reduces such symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, anger and stress-related physical ailments.
Since the spring of 2016, we have been offering free weekly yoga classes for UK based refugees and asylum seekers to promote their mental and emotional wellbeing. We are currently offering classes in London, Liverpool and Yorkshire. To meet the widespread need, our project is also training additional yoga teachers in the the therapeutic use of yoga to alleviate suffering and release trauma.
“Yoga is my medicine. I would rather go to yoga than take even one paracetamol.”
– Feedback form, Liverpool participant, 2019