Yoga in Conflict Zones

The Washington Post recently carried an article about yoga teachers from the Washington, DC, area working with groups in the Occupied Territory of Palestine to reduce the pervasive stress of living in a long-term conflict environment.  (The article, “DC  Teachers Offer Yoga to Combat the Stresses of Conflict-Ridden Ramallah,” can be found at Yoga.)

My partner in Holistic Solutions, Inc. (and in all other things), Julia Morelli, has for quite some time used yoga and the “Internal Arts” as part of her dispute resolution practice (that’s Julia in the photo), and there are a growing number of practitioners who use Aikido and other martial arts as aids in stressful environments.  The Center for Mind-Body Medicine has long been involved in exploring the connection between our physical selves, our emotional selves, and our relationship to conflict, including a good bit of work in Israel and Palestine.

As part of my work with SMU’s graduate program in dispute resolution, I have teamed with an Israeli psychologist to teach a course in trauma and long term conflict.  That course featured interaction with the outstanding trauma counseling professional in Israel, and I currently am pursuing a proposal to produce a trauma intervention package that can be used by schools in Palestine to blunt the impact of daily trauma there.  There’s a lot to the mind-body/mindfulness approach to stress reduction and conflict resolution.