Remote relaxation

Aboriginal elder Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward (centre) with Ngaanyatjarra Lands school staff and the Yogazeit outreach team.

A SPECIAL yoga program will be rolled out across schools in the Western Desert to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of Aboriginal students.

Not-for-profit Yogazeit has teamed-up with Aboriginal elder Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward to create a yoga and mindfulness training curriculum for The Ngaanyatjarra Lands School, which has eight campuses spread across the Western Desert.

Although large distances separate the schools, they are bound together by the culture of people from groups including Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, Pintupi and others.

Facilitated by three Yogazeit educators, the four-week program in May will introduce students, staff and the community to yoga and mindfulness teachings and the benefits of using practical sessions in the classroom and beyond. 

“The unique curriculum has been designed in collaboration with community elders and the school and will be delivered in traditional language and partially illustrated by the school children to create a program under guidance of Yogazeit, but created by the community and delivered by school staff”, says Yogazeit’s Regina Cruickshank.

A 2020 report found that Aboriginal people experience depression (52 per cent) and anxiety (59 per cent) at much higher levels than non-Aboriginal Australians (32 per cent and 47 per cent respectively). 

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