YOGA FUSION: the project behind the book
HEALS over HEAD was written to share a story and support a project: Yoga Fusion, Yoga in Action for Post-Conflict Reconciliation. Yoga Fusion is not an NGO, but a network built around the research project of Linda Germanis, Yoga Fusion’s Founder.
The project aims at giving basic yoga therapy skills to local leaders already included in an income generation system to mitigate the effects of trauma ensuring sustainable coverage to vast populations affected by trauma in contexts at risk.
Yoga to support community resilience and create social justice: development workers, yogis, members of local and global communities approaching human wellbeing together to move beyond stress and trauma.
I have written this book to translate my dreams into action.
I am the Founder of Yoga Fusion, Yoga in Action for Post-Conflict Reconciliation; buying this book, you are supporting my project.
Yoga Fusion is a Participatory Action Research (PAR) that looks at yoga as a medium for trauma healing, human resilience, nonviolent resistance and conflict transformation. It is a mix of inputs from the ground, multidisciplinary pilot projects, and research that aims to collect good practices and to ask meaningful questions; its purpose is to raise international awareness and to make yoga and its benefits increasingly accessible to vast populations in recovery contexts and contexts at risk.
By ‘participatory’ in Participatory Action Research I mean that it produces knowledge at a local level, learning from good practices in the field rather than suggesting theoretical inventions yet to be tested and lived by people on the ground. It looks at what is there, it listens to what is missing in each and every context, and it puts different organizations in touch with each other to learn from one another and eventually create effective tools for trauma and social healing that are easy to distribute and access. To learn more about good practices in the field and to read a relevant literature review on the topic, visit the Yoga Fusion References webpage. This growing database provides links to meaningful projects and research on yoga for social change, holistic approaches to embodied knowledge, trauma healing, resilience, and non-violent conflict transformation.
Through Yoga Fusion I learn from the experience of the PAR Network members who work at a local level in different countries and fields through a variety of activities, from yoga projects, to trauma-healing, to projects on mindfulness to promote world peace.
Who are these co-dreamers I am sharing my vision with? I am proud to list them on Yoga Fusion PAR Network webpage. PAR Network members are individuals and institutions who have so far volunteered to join me, contributing to the project in various ways. These contributions have come in the form of time, research, toolkits, yoga therapy modules, intellectual resources, opportunities to participate in workshops and conferences to introduce alternative solutions to psychosocial support and world peace, and, last but not least, through unreservedly sharing the vision and passion for this project.
I work with each project partner to set and measure common goals, depending on the nature of the partner’s activities. Here are some examples of planned and ongoing projects.
For the Patanjali Research Foundation, a yoga therapy foundation in India, the goal is to expand the scope of their yoga therapy modules for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), embracing the vast populations in contexts at risk as a new target group. In this case, the contribution of Yoga Fusion is to provide an opportunity to broaden the positive impact of the work of the foundation, translating the modules to a language accessible to people unfamiliar with yoga, and developing simple toolkits to train community members on how to teach in a cultural and trauma sensitive way.
For Mandala House, Uganda, an NGO currently promoting yoga in Uganda, the goal is to introduce yoga therapy and yoga as a workshop facilitation technique in the package of yoga activities on offer. The goal of the project is to broaden the impact of the NGO in the communities where it operates, while including their yoga teachers in the development of the toolkits to ensure that they are delivered in an effective and accessible way respectful of local culture, tradition and needs.
For Peace Revolution, an international NGO that uses meditation and inner peace to promote peace world-wide, the goal is to improve their Self Development Program (SDP), adding yoga modules in order to make it more beneficial for young people from different cultural, geographical, social and ethnic backgrounds. Additionally, being included into Yoga Fusion’s research, Peace Revolution aims to support the critical review of existing holistic approaches to world peace, contributing to advocacy and awareness-raising on these practices at a global level.
Following existing good practices, Yoga Fusion benefits from a multidisciplinary perspective and team: it complements existing projects, filling the gaps that people in the field report as obstacles to maximizing the impact of their work, and it lays the foundation for an international advocacy campaign through interactive research
In fact, whilst wonderful practices are available in the development world and in the world of yoga, they very rarely talk to one another. Their positive impact tends to be analyzed in a compartmentalized way, for example, ‘yoga is good for individuals affected by trauma’; or ‘revisiting the notion of common good is crucial after conflicts’. They are, however, not discussed in a comprehensive way such as ‘self-healing through yoga can be a common good to support recovery at a social level’.
Additionally, all existing projects for trauma healing have something in common: they struggle with financial resources to support their effort, as individual well-being seems to be something to cheer for rather than a social priority to invest in. Moreover, the limited number of current initiatives does not have the ability to meet the needs of an ever-growing number of people affected by trauma.
Support Yoga Fusion’s Research & Pilot Projects
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