MAPPING YOGA as GLOBAL COMMON GOOD
Mindset Change on Yoga
Yoga and its wide range of benefits recently have intrigued many and drawn increasing attention of researchers cutting across psychological to physical health disciplines. Scientific research evaluated the power of yoga to soothe/heal depression, anxieties or even PTSD.The use of yoga on the ground cuts across a much wider range of disciplines, including post-conflict reconciliation, or social re-integration. However, these scientific discoveries and good practices have not yet been translated into a new way to approach well-being, global health and human security at global level, especially in context of war and structural violence.
An Incubator of Yoga for Social Change
Yoga Fusion is a fresh initiative by Linda Germanis (author of HEALS over HEAD) which seeks to explore the potential of yoga in conflict mitigation and trauma healing processes approaching well-being as a common good to support human security. For this end, Yoga Fusion has started a Participatory Research (PAR) Network of institutions and individuals to bring together the currently existing but scattered research on yoga for social change, and to encourage new projects too. Workshops on Yoga Therapy and Yoga as Workshop Facilitation Technique are conducted to bridge the gap between existing practices and a broader vision of well-being. The goal of the project? Bringing the knowledge of grassroot projects together, addressing their challenges, and making yoga available to vast populations, especially in contexts affected by violence. In fact, Yoga for Peace, a recent academic study, has shown that yoga facilitates non-violent attitude, constructive approach to conflict, as well as fear and anger management, empowerment and re-humanization (of enemies dehumanized during violent conflict).
Linda Germanis – Founder of Yoga Fusion – HEALS over HEAD – and Klara Srbova – author of Yoga for Peace – decided to co-design a Global Report on Yoga for Social Change with ‘yogis, development workers, individuals members of global and local communities that are part of a broader vision, a broader world’ (HEALS over HEAD, 2014).
Activism via a Knowledge Product: A Global Report
Yoga Fusion – HEALS over HEAD, is now launching a survey to support the Global Report on Yoga for Social Change. The goal of this report is simple: unveiling unexplored or unexpected areas where yoga is being currently used for varied psycho-social support. Its objective is to bring to light the relatively wide but so far not as widely recognized broad use of yoga for conflict mitigation and well-being. Raising public awareness should go hand in hand with better understanding but also opening the space for increased involvement. We wish to show the results of these very grass-roots yoga initiatives to encourage policy makers, NGOs, government officials, or international institutions to consider yoga as a common good for accessible and sustainable psycho-social transformation; and to invite the global yoga business to become more involved.
The Report will consist of two major parts. One section will present a mapping exercise: through the Global Survey we attempt to collect as many existing yoga initiatives across the world as possible. The other section will retell stories of several inspiring yoga initiatives, on the basis of thorough interviews with their founders, teachers, or students.
What’s next? Be part of it!
Intrigued? Stay tuned for more information.