For quite some time now, yoga has been associated with undeniable physical benefits. It builds muscle strength, increases flexibility, prevents joint breakdown, and reduces risks of spinal injury.
Perhaps equally important but often overlooked are the psychological benefits of yoga. Not only does it boost mental health by evoking a sense of oneness, but it also nurtures discipline and improves focus.
And who could possibly need it more than traumatized children and victims of war?
In collaboration with Mishwar, Koun yoga-based NGO is circling underprivileged neighborhoods and refugee camps in Lebanon for a chance to do some good. Their mission is simple: "Make yoga accessible to those who need it."
The beauty in it all is that the volunteers of Koun are offering underprivileged children in the country something entire governments haven't been able to deliver on: The opportunity for these kids to better their lives, albeit from within. The organization makes regular rounds to remote locations and offers up its services in yoga classes and mindfulness.
Koun is the Lebanese word for 'Be'. According to the organization, it is the entire purpose of yoga.
The sessions are helping reduce the stress and anxiety of these children who are often subjected to violence and harsh conditions. By hooking them onto the benefits of yoga, they are developing the ability to face traumatic events of their past, as well as learning how to deal with possible problems and conflicts in their present and future.
By giving each child a chance to simply 'be', the initiative is also teaching them about acceptance and compassion.
The humanitarian work of Koun is not restricted to children, per say. It expands to include poor and abused women, domestic workers, and anyone in need, really.
"We believe that psychological well-being is a condition that every individual should have no matter the age, race and social class."
The volunteers are visiting camps in Bourj al Barajneh, Chatila, and Akkar. So far, the results speak for themselves. With increased concentration levels and lowered aggression, it is no wonder that more and more parents are catching on.
Namaste, ladies, and kudos to all the lovely work you do!