It’s not enough to just say yoga can affect people of all races, religions and regions looking to find peace inside, even when there may not be peace outside. These photos of Palestinian women practicing yoga are a visual representation of it. An article in the Wall street Journal from September 20 profiles groups of women who have turned to and embraced the practice of yoga to help them cope with the stresses of living in a region wrapped up in political turmoil over control of the West Bank.
In Zatara village outside of Bethlehem, where women’s “sports” are not common, the yoga classes started out slow, but have grown in popularity to five classes a week. The female students have come to find yoga as “part exercise and physical therapy, part spiritual meditation and part women’s empowerment.”
Sometimes the practice extends beyond walls and into nearby hilltops overlooking Israeli-occupied settlements.
It may sound like a simple, yet sweepingly optimistic statement, but we can’t help feel a flutter of hope and positivity that yoga may somehow help to bridge a gap in the conflict and maybe even help build a path to peaceful resolution. Or at the very least, promote a culture and people of deeper compassion and compromise, even if the political muckety-mucks are still trying to figure it out.
Images by Tanya Habjouqa for the Wall Street Journal.
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