Yoga in Lebanon
Wafa'a Jaffal's classes at Houna Holistic Center in Hamra are filling up.
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More people have been showing up to yoga in Lebanon. Some yoga teachers said the reason is with all the troubles the country, it’s a better option for most than taking constant medication. Where teachers once taught to classes of just two or three students, now many classes are filling up with people wanting a natural way to find inner peace.

According to a report by NBN – Lebanon, yoga teacher وفاء جفّال (Wafa’a Jaffal), who teaches yoga in Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut, said that the vinyasa aspect of yoga (breathing with movement) is what many are finding the most beneficial.

For Jaffal, focusing on the breath gives people a chance to let their minds relax.

“[It] Allows us to have healthy living, good breathing, and helps us accept the life we’re in, in a comfortable way. Yoga helps us feel self peace,” she said in Arabic.

Jaffal also shared that more doctors are starting to reccomend yoga in Lebanon to their patients for many ailments like back pain or emotional issues. She likes this trend because it means that doctors in the country are prescribing yoga instead of pills.

Jaffal said that her regular Tuesday classes at Houna Holistic Center in Hamra are now jam-packed with 20 to upto 30 students wanting to find peace and calm through yoga.

Over the past decades, Lebanon has been a country full of difficulties with Palestinian refugees coming in from the South for many decades and now millions of Syrian refugees escaping war from the East and North. Although Lebanon is the smallest among the countries taking in refugees, as reported by Forbes, it hosts the most number per capita.

Add this to the already strained political climate in the country. Lebanon only elected a new President, Michel Aoun, on October 31, 2016 after a 29 month deadlock in Parliament.

Many demonstrations are also taking place because of a proposal by the current Parliament to extend its term for a third time while new election laws are being agreed upon.

Outside the walls of Parliament, although the trash problem in Beirut no longer fills headlines, many say the problem has not been solved after two years.

The entire country also suffers from electricity and internet connection problems, and are facing the possibility of increases taxes, which makes many feel stress and pressure from all sides just living day to day life in Lebanon.

This is the reason why yoga in Lebanon has been gaining popularity. It offers a way for Lebanese time to breathe and find inner calm even in times of difficulty.

[Translation for this article was provided by Mohamed Bechara.]

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