Update on 7 Centers’ Yoga Outreach Programs
December 7th, 2016
I have finally put pen to the paper. So much creativity and expansion has happened this year I wanted to share with you! It is another important way of extending yoga into our communities.
We have two yoga outreach programs currently underway. Our local project is the Children’s Yoga Training program, part of an effort to bring yoga to kids in the Arizona school system. Our International Outreach is the Palestinian Yoga Teachers project, a program to train Palestinian yoga teacher trainers in partnership with Farashe Yoga studio in Ramallah, West Bank.
Our Children’s Yoga Training program led by Ana Hansen, is focused upon giving important set of mind/body integration tools to school teachers,
counselors and those that work with children. As part of the 2017 training, I am developing a pilot conflict resolution course that can be tailored to different ages of children that discusses conflict, stereotyping and discernment around social media as a source of news and information. We are hoping to include some current Sedona Red Rock High School students in the course.
School teachers are often unsung heroes that are often underpaid, with large classes, putting in hours beyond the classroom and so for 2017 we have created a weekend format that accommodates their schedule. It includes a Friday evening and a full day Saturday once a month with additional practicum field trips to classrooms and working with juveniles in community service programs in Cottonwood.
International Project: As many of you already know, Rama Jyoti Vernon and I went to the West Bank in April/May of 2015 and offered workshops sponsored by Farashe, the first yoga studio in Palestine. It was an amazing trip to Israel and Palestine which I documented as a travelogue and have posted on the website (read more here.) There was great response to the therapeutic yoga with ongoing discussions with Maha El Sheikh* to find a way to continue and grow the seeds that had been planted. Rama and I both felt that the best use of our skills was to “teach the teachers”. This year I sent a proposal to the Farashe Board of Directors with a 3-5 year plan for training Palestinian yoga teachers to the level of 500-hour teacher trainers, and to then establish the first Arabic-speaking 200-hour Hatha Yoga training in Palestine.
This year the Board of Directors of Mystis approved the Palestinian yoga project and has offered 5 full scholarships of $3295 to our teacher trainings to Palestinian teachers that have gone through an application process with Farashe’s Board of Directors.
* Maha El Sheikh is an American yoga teacher born in Phoenix with parents from Egypt and Jordan who has worked with UNWRA (United Nations Work & Relief Agency) and helped found Farashe Yoga studio in Ramallah in 2010.
Where are we now at the end of the year?
Nahed Bandak from Bethlehem successfully completed the 200-hour January teacher training and Shadan Nassar completed the May 300-hour Yoga Therapy training. Shadan is just finishing teaching her first diabetes prevention yoga program in conjunction with a nutritionist in refugee camps and wrote recently to me:
“I have been crystallizing my vision in refugee camps for the future too lately, which is feeling so great! 🙂 This Wednesday will be our last session with the diabetes prevention workshops for the pilot program; we are still talking about expansion. Yoga Nidra was the ladies’ favourite part always! It was the first time they get to relax in many years they said…. Working with them is so hard most times but so easy at the same time, but most importantly so deep and beautiful! I want to offer you much gratitude for all the teachings and the clear vision you have that is also starting to run through me so very wonderfully, Thank you.”
Plans for 2017
We are excited to welcome three more Palestinian students for the January 200-hour Hatha training: Lana Qumsieh, Majdal Soubeh and Safwat Jamhour.
In April/May 2017, with five teachers having their foundational yoga training completed, the plan is for me and Rama to go to Palestine and begin the 300-hour Advanced Yoga training to address chronic health conditions that can be benefitted by therapeutic yoga classes and programs.
Mystis, Inc. is the non-profit 501(c) 3 branch of 7 Centers Yoga Arts and has been supporting the vision of the Outreach yoga programs by offering scholarships to qualified students. A number of supporters of 7 Centers have generously donated in the past, allowing for the development and growth of these kinds of community programs. We would like to invite you to make a donation of your choice. If you feel drawn to encourage these efforts, we would appreciate your help in continuing this work. Seva or service is an intrinsic part of the yogic path and there are many with great kindness who have contributed in all kinds of ways to 7 Centers, so we thank you for the many years of support!
______ $1500 allows 2 teachers partial scholarships in the Children’s Training
_______ $3295 allows for 1 Palestinian yoga teacher to attend a 200 hour training
_______ $ Donation of your choice
Donations are tax-deductible and can be made by check and sent to:
2115 Mountain Road
Sedona, AZ 86336
Or you can call to make a donation using a credit card at (928) 203-4400.
With gratitude and blessings,