“Yoga, and the Peace it creates, has the ability to banish human conflicts and the horror of war and bring about peace and understanding on earth.
Having felt the inner peace that yoga reveals, one feels the desire for peace externally—peace in neighborhoods, nations and between races.”
— Paramahansa Yogananda
How You Can Help
Your support will help fuel this cause.
Give peace a chance and join the Yoga for Peace Project!
The Yoga for Peace Project is financed by real people who want to see real change in the world happen. Your donation will help fuel our cause, providing yoga education to those in need. No donation is too big or too small. We are currently looking for donations to finance our Middle East Peace Project. Contribute today and help others breathe the gift of yoga.
Continue reading about the background of the project and testimonials from current Peace Projects below or donate now.
Healing happens for individuals, relationships, community and the world when we participate in life in the form it is already given.
Life comes as a vast, unstoppable strength, yet it is delivered in the context of absolute receptivity and softness. The utter union of these qualities creates our life, our very in-bodiment.
— Mark Whitwell, Yoga of Heart
About The Project
The Heart of Yoga Peace Project is dedicated to developing yoga communities in troubled areas throughout the world. We use yoga as a common, non-religious practice to cultivate awareness around the unifying principle of peace.
Our aim is to support communities in active conflict zones by teaching aspiring yoga teachers the heart of yoga. We believe that even in stressful environments, daily yoga practice enhances overall well-being. Whether practiced in the first or third world, the principles of yoga enhance the quality of life in Everyone. It is our mission to bring yoga to those who need it the most. We provide yoga teacher trainings free of charge to support Yoga for Peace on a global scale.
The Heart of Yoga Peace Project is dedicated to:
- Helping communities suffering from political and social unrest
- Providing yoga education to members of these communities
- Supporting the development of daily, personal practice
- Training teachers in afflicted areas how to teach yoga in their community
- Supporting peace in the world
How It Began
Mark Whitwell talks about the spark for the Heart of Yoga's Peace Project, which now seeds yoga teachers and communities in conflict zones worldwide—and about transcending national identities.
The Heart of Yoga Peace Project
“You are the hope of humanity.”
— U.G. Krishnamurti
The Peace Project trains aspiring teachers regardless of their ability to pay
Students who take the training learn:
- How to integrate body, breath and movement into a seamless process
- How to practice and teach the principles of the Heart of Yoga
- How to develop their own daily, personal yoga practice
- How to adapt yoga to individual needs, health, age and cultural backgrounds
- How to bring the principles of yoga into everyday life
For more information or to inquire about taking the training, please scroll down and fill out the contact form.
“Ahimsa Pratistayam tat sannidhu vaira tyagah”
When a person is established in non-violence, those in his/her vicinity cease to feel hostility.
— Yoga Sutra of Patanjali 2.35
Testimonials from Current Peace Projects
Teaching Yoga in Sur Bahar
"I want to express my feelings of frustration at the situation here. Yesterday there was the attack in Jerusalem of the Palestinian tractor driver who overturned buses, smashed cars and ran over people in a crazed rampage. This Palestinian tractor driver was from Sur Baher—the East Jerusalem village that I have been entering twice a week to teach Yoga to the women.
I have not yet contacted the women I teach yet. I am still searching within me how to approach the situation, knowing that the attacker yesterday could be the husband, son or brother of one of them. I will find a way to do it, though, because I have committed myself to teaching yoga there at least for the next two months, and, I am building trust with women there.
The event of yesterday brought up a lot for me. Mostly, a great sadness, at how deep the anger and hatred is. That whatever caused him to do it yesterday, is connected to this great pain-body of hatred, anger, fear and separation between the two people. Them and us.
And just as this happened, I went to Sur Baher and hitched a ride from where I get off the bus in Ramat Rahel, to the place where I teach in Sur Baher. The Arab man asked me if I was afraid to go into Sur Baher, and I told him “No”, because I go in peace and trust that I am protected.
Now, after yesterday’s event, I need to check within myself how far my “conscious naiveté” goes, and where does it border with stupidity? Am I supposed to be feeling fear at going in there? Still, there is something in me that refuses to give up.
So I won’t hitch rides any more, on that 25 minute walk from Ramat Rachel into the village of Sur Baher.
I will take a taxi to keep a lower profile, as I am a women walking alone on the road and its obvious am not “one of them.” I am not clad in robes and head coverings. Maybe there is some hope that some kind of financial support will come through for me because if I need to take a taxi there and back, it will be almost as if I am paying to go and teach there ( this is the amount I am paid for the lesson and is symbolic).
I know that for me, it is my peace work to do this, and I can accept that for them it is the Yoga, because the Yoga itself is good enough—without people needing to “preach” peace. I know not to bring in politics into this situation, and to really stay and teach the Yoga, and to be the peace and love that I want.
And I know that even if it is drops in the ocean, from the hugs I received from some of the women this week, I felt strong open-hearted love.
Also in Jabel Mukaber, this week, the woman whose place I have been teaching in is going overseas, and I invited the women who wanted to continue to come to Abu Tur. I asked if anyone would object if I invited Jewish women to the class, and there was objection. So I let it go immediately, because it is obviously too early to bring this in. Firstly, I have to strengthen the love to yoga, and then build trust and friendship with them and me.
When I read in your letter the declarations of Heart of Yoga Peace Project, I had my own inner peace-work to do at not losing hope and trust that my work will be recognized.
Thank You for what you are doing for us."
Tel Aviv, Israel:
Teaching Yoga in Tel Aviv
"Yoga has permeated so many hearts and minds, beyond the physical and mental borders.
Jerusalem is a place where yoga is being practiced.
I had the privilege of attending a class there taught by a friend, a gentle hatha yoga practice designed to teach yoga to anyone who is interested. It was taught in English, Arabic and Hebrew, to Arab women aside from myself.
Yoga as a form provided a few minutes away from the heat of the Middle East Sun, the chores of the washing, cleaning, cooking and other work each of us were going to continue that day, a calm space, a retreat, back into the experience of self, the simplicity of breathing and moving.
We all felt well after practice, said hello and goodbye and nice to meet you, perhaps we will meet again, ect. The gentle inquisitiveness of each of us were going now, continuing with our everyday lives, the provoking question of how much traffic there was going to be and for me to return back to Tel Aviv.
The stark reality that they weren't going in that direction, and I wasn’t going in theirs."