YOGA and mindfulness will be taught in western desert WA Aboriginal communities in an effort to combat high rates of depression and anxiety.
Freo-based not-for-profit Yogazeit has brought in Ngaanyatjarra elder Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward to help plan the culturally-appropriate sessions which start in May.
Ms Ward says “learning to be mindful and look after our health and wellbeing will be relevant for generations to come.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming the team from Yogazeit to our Land and sharing our knowledge to help them support our young generations with breathing, mindfulness and movement.”
Aboriginal people experience higher rates of depression and anxiety, and Yogazeit says physical and mental health are improved by mindfulness and yoga.
They’re planning breathing activities, mindfulness movement (trauma-sensitive yoga), relaxation and mindfulness games, along with yarning and storytelling.
“We will really immerse in the community,” Yogazeit’s Regina Cruickshank says, and the curriculum will be delivered in traditional language and illustrated by school children from the communities.
“Learning to live mindfully helps us to increase focus, decrease stress and manage our emotions, ultimately to cope better in difficult times.
“By building on the skills already in place in our remote indigenous communities, we bring together the history, language, and stories of the land and combine this with evidence-informed practices of yoga and mindfulness for youth.”
The eight campuses involved are spread across large distances in the Western Desert, but share common bonds in the cultures of the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, and Pintupi people.