May 2016 be a good year for you whatever the circumstances may be!
May there be peace in 2016!
Imagine (John Lennon).
Refugee Crisis It is certain that none of us will ever forget the coverage of streams of refugees making their ways from South to North, East to West, and I imagine there may be refugees in most European countries at this point.
Many along the way have lost their lives,including children.
Following the trip to Sheffield in October to mingle with and learn from our wonderful international reflexology community during the ICR Conference, I at first visited my first home (the Austrian countryside), then I offered my service to two day care centers at Vienna's Westbahnhof to support the relief efforts related to the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. I have written about this previously: The Best Reflexology Session Ever. For five days, I provided mini hand reflexology sessions to refugee kids, their parents, and also volunteers who were getting exhausted; basic but powerful LV Chair Yoga (LVCY) exercises, and breath work were often incorporated as well. Integrative Care During the Holidays In December I returned with Wendy Henry, an acupuncturist I have known and worked on and off with since 2007 (Wendy is the founder of CRREW, and I have previously written about our work related to Super Storm Sandy.) Shawn Cuddy (an Amrita/Yoga Nidra teacher) invited by Wendy joined us a few days later. Partnership We partnered with Serving Those Who Serve, Inc. whom we have been affiliated with for years to raise some funds to cover expenses. Thank you, Jose Mestre. From Kids Corner to Dusika-Stadium While we returned to the small day care center for kids at Westbahnhof which closed its doors on December 31, we also visited six refugee-related facilities, including a stadium where we conducted 2-hour long self care workshops, always customizing to suit the given circumstances. We returned to five of them for follow-ups. As you can imagine when kids were present, and it was the case most of the time, there was more playfulness involved. Bonding, Laughter There was bonding, there was laughter, it seemed like most of us forgot for a while the sad circumstances and the long-term hardship ahead and behind and enjoyed each other's company and the benefits of grounding exercises, which can lead to increased lightness. Sustainability Most exercises were remembered by all, even the little ones, we found during reviews. The foundation of the service offered by the three of us:
- LV Chair Yoga (LVCY) exercises and some breath work (including Coherence Breath as taught by Dr. Richard Brown)
- Hand Reflexology (4EReflexes which was designed to get someone started with Self Hand Reflexology)
- Ear Acupressure/Imagery (Wendy Henry)
- Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra (Shawn Cuddy)
It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes many of us to ease a humanitarian crisis May I kindly ask you to consider relief work and/or sharing this with your network of practitioners to encourage others to work with refugees and volunteers to empower and strengthen them and equip them with non-invasive and user-friendly techniques to de-stress. One of Our Many Christmas Presents "Dear Birgit! Thank you so much for all you have done for the refugees and me. (My back feels so good :-). I'll try my best to be there tomorrow to say hi. All the best, Anna Wilhem (volunteer-turned Employee).
Selfie Time! Pituitary Reflex anyone?
Here is just a few points to get started:
- Spread the word in your community, make contacts with facilities/NGOs/initiatives, etc. on social medial, form teams of two (even if the second person is a non-practitioner)
- Teach Self Care to empower refugees on their journey; keeping it simple works well.. taking the pretzel out of yoga if you will and putting the practice on the chair (that is the magic of LVCY).
- Picking up a few words of Arabic, Farsi is a great ice breaker. Wendy was particularly great at that...but any efforts will be appreciated. - Want to start right now? Goodbye is khoda hafez in Farsi! Shukran is thank you in Arabic. (Wendy and I received the most extensive Farsi lesson from Shiva whom we met three days after she arrived in Vienna. Needless to say we met many wonderful people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and other countries as well as many fellow volunteers.
- Identify those in the group who will be the interpreters (you may need Farsi and Arabic), or ask around in your community and bring your own interpreters.
- Be as flexible as you can be, etc., etc. working outside a studio means leaving the known...(create a check list of what you may need)
Again, please, help those in need by sharing this with reflexologists, acupuncturists, LVCY and other yoga teachers, other holistic practitioners in your network.
- Remember to take care or yourself, bring water, snacks, dress in layers so you can be one hundred percent present.
|With refugees for refugees|
Remember the Arabic word for Thank you from above? In Farsi it's mamnoon. So as always thank you for listening and sharing.
Birgit Nagele, ARCB, LVCYT
Reflexology (feet, hands, face),
LV Chair Yoga
Please support the Vienna Refugee Project (empowering refugee kids, men, women, and volunteers with sustainable holistic self care).