Shadan Nassar, brought yoga back to her home in Palestine three years ago and dreams of creating a platform for yoga in Arabic, especially in refugee camps. Like many other yoga teachers, she sees the value in teaching yoga to help heal from trauma and hopes that Shadana Yoga can be a tool for Arab students to continue their yoga practice at home in their own language.
Shadana Yoga is currently a wellness concept being crowdfunded on Indiegogo . With still a month to go in its campaign, it has already raised $1600 as of this writing – very close to its goal of $2000.
In a Facebook message, 27-year old Nassar told World Yoga News that Shadana Yoga is a play on words combining her name and the Sanskrit word sādhanā, which translates to: “a means of accomplishing something.” For many yoga practitioners, it often refers to one’s daily Spiritual rituals to transcend ego and let go of physical attachments.
According to the campaign description, ten percent of the crowdfunded money for Shadana Yoga will go towards outreach programs that bring yoga in Arabic to refugee camps and other high intensity areas.
Yoga was an extremely important tool that Nassar herself used to free herself from the trauma of growing up in occupied Palestine and feeling trapped in her own body and space, and always under the threat of bombing, shooting, and curfews in her community. When she returned home to Palestine after going to yoga teaching training in India, she saw how much of a difference it made. She decided to launch Shadana Yoga as her humble gift back to the Arabic community who are living through experiences similar to hers.
The first stage of the platform will be a series of free online yoga in Arabic classes. In addition to the physical asana part of the practice, she also wants to deliver Ayurveda lessons and a yoga therapy course in Arabic.
More than Asana in Shadana Yoga in Arabic Classes
Future projects that Shadana Yoga have planned are more online courses, a website to offer the content, and paid courses to go deeper into a home yoga practice – all to be recorded and offered in Arabic, specifically for communities who may not have had exposure to yoga before.
Nassar shared that one of the biggest obstacles she faces in bringing yoga to Arab communities is the hesitation to try it due to the conception that yoga is part of another religion. She plans to dispel this view by creating videos with testimonials from people of various religious and non-religious backgrounds to share how yoga has impacted their lives for the better.
In a press release, she also revealed that she believes yoga will greatly benefit Arab communities because it opens up new avenues for them to find inner peace even in the midst of tumultuous surroundings.
“One of our biggest challenges is our strong and impulsive reactions. I see this so vividly in the case of Palestine, but also across the region. If we were able to offer a tool that can help decisions come from a clearer and more balanced state of mind, decisions of action instead of reactions… who knows what could happen?”
As the project continues to grow and be supported by various backers, Nassar is not only open to financial support via the Indiegogo campaign, but also to those willing to volunteer time and skills towards web and product development, video and audio production, as well as legal advice on how to protect the yoga in Arabic content from digital piracy.