Yoga for the North Korean community
Anxiety, stress, and understandable mistrust of authority contributes to poor physical and mental health outcomes for the North Korean escapee community. Often, there is also stigma around seeking mental health services, with many North Korean people feeling reluctant to ask for help. This is why we have been running weekly yoga and breathwork sessions to tackle these challenges.
Yoga and breathing techniques have physiological benefits which reduce anxiety and build the body’s natural resilience.
More than this, our yoga and breathwork sessions focus on social wellbeing too. This project provides the space to build relationships and networks within the North Korean community, reducing social isolation.
Our yoga project gives North Korean people the tools to help themselves and focus on self-care too. It can be very difficult for North Korean people to find the time and encouragement to pursue self-improvement when they are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and overcome day-to-day challenges.
One of our yoga participants told us: “The yoga session was very engaging for me and the other North Korean people who came. I’m interested to learn about more breathing techniques at future classes!”
Eventually we hope to find a member of the community to lead the yoga sessions themselves. This will ensure the sessions are self-sustaining and that North Korean escapees are able to reinvest their new skills back into their community.
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