Colombia uses yoga to treat the wounds of war

Americas Now

Colombians performing yoga exercises. Colombians performing yoga exercises.

Yoga is a philosophy and set of exercises using breathing techniques, a variety of physical postures, and meditation, designed to improve mental focus and restore emotional balance.

The practice of yoga is centered around the belief that a strong mental state is key to attaining self-control and achieving goals.

Yoga was first practiced in India as part of a Hindu belief system but also became integral to Buddhism as well.

Today, it is practiced throughout the modern world as a way of de-compressing from stress and becoming spiritually centered.

Now Colombia is using this ancient practice to try and help combatants and victims of its 50-year armed conflict, overcome the wounds of war.

Correspondent Michelle Begue reports from Bogota and Medellin on a new program called “Yoga for Peace.”

Colombia uses yoga to treat the wounds of war

Colombia uses yoga to treat the wounds of war

Yoga was first practiced in India as part of a Hindu belief system but also became integral to Buddhism as well. Today, it is practiced throughout the modern world as a way of de-compressing from stress and becoming spiritually centered. Now Colombia is using this ancient practice to try and help combatants and victims of its 50-year armed conflict, overcome the wounds of war. Correspondent Michelle Begue reports from Bogota and Medellin on a new program called “Yoga for Peace.”

The initiative is aimed at looking to the future as the government continues peace talks to end the five decades of armed conflict.    

In the last 10 years, 57,000 former combatants have returned to civilian life, and that number will grow as the government negotiates to end the fighting with the leftist, FARC guerrilla group.  Many soldiers have experienced PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of the conflict. Yoga is proving to be an effective tool in restoring well-being and helping them cope.

Healing years of violence won’t be easy, but the ancient practice of “Yoga” is showing advantageous results in the “post-conflict” era.  Some former soldiers are even becoming yoga instructors themselves. Take a look.

  • Gina Kwong

    Yoga has many benefits and this is just one of them.