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    Teaching the benefits of yoga to refugees seeking peace.

    Day 162

    Staying Centered

    In the hustle and bustle of daily life at the Umpiem Mai health center, life can get stressful. But Dr. Kyaw has a solution – yoga. He’s a big believer in the power of yoga to heal, to bring people together. He’s seen it firsthand.

    “In my experience, doing yoga as a team helps people come together,” he said. “It helps everyone relax.”

    Dr. Kyaw is in charge of the ARC team at the health center, a team that is comprised of camp residents – refugees themselves. And he wanted to bring the power of yoga to his staff, to help them de-stress in the face of the often difficult situations they find themselves in, both at the health center and in the camp.

    Yoga is free – that’s part of the beauty of it. But, in order to do it right, Dr. Kyaw needed just a few things to get his idea off the ground.

    We gathered yoga mats, some yoga-appropriate pants, and a speaker to play calming music during class. Dr. Kyaw really emphasized the importance of having yoga pants available – sometimes women arrive in skirts, which makes it difficult to participate. With pants in hand, everyone, no matter who they are, can jump right in.

    “They can do yoga even 15 minutes a day,” says Dr. Kyaw. “but I believe it will help in so many ways. It will help them be more productive in day to day tasks. And it’s also about the future, and helping people stay calm under stressful conditions.”

    “After doing yoga I feel relaxed. And that will happen to my staff too. Once they learn yoga here, they can go out to their own families and communities, can take it with them wherever they go.”

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