Creating Beloved Community Through Yoga in Palestine with Maha El-Sheikh

How do we cultivate the skills to find inner peace and grounding amid ongoing conflict around us? Maha El-Sheikh joins us to share the vision and journey that led to the creation of Palestine's first entirely volunteer-led community non-profit yoga center, Farashe. Farashe, meaning 'butterfly' in Arabic, holds daily yoga and meditation classes, workshops and space for the community to come together in the West Bank to breathe, heal, play, and connect. 

Maha El-Sheikh's 20 years of experience working in the international humanitarian and development sector led to her current focus on the social injustices underlying our global humanitarian crises and perpetuated by the modern humanitarian aid system. She partners with relational facilitators and leaders in the economic, racial and climate justice movements, and with international humanitarian and development groups and organizations to reimagine humanitarian aid through compassion-centered, counter-oppressive frameworks. She offers a trauma-informed yoga, somatic, and meditation approach to explore the interconnection of individual and collective healing, social and systemic transformation, and justice. She co-developed Farashe Yoga Centre in Ramallah, Palestine in 2010, a thriving community yoga center in the West Bank, and is currently a core faculty member of Courage of Care Coalition.

About Farashe Yoga Centre
Instagram: @farasheyogaramallah
Facebook: farasheyogacenter
In the news:
Farashe’s mission is to make yoga accessible for all living in Palestine, as a means to manage stress, improve healthy living, build resilience, and strengthen community bonds. We believe that yoga is a catalyst for transformation and growth within ourselves, families, communities, and the world, whether through physical exercise and healthy nutrition, or through community service and development. Created, built, and run purely through volunteers and donations, Farashe is committed to the principles of “selfless service.” Our yoga teachers are all volunteers. Class fees are reinvested into the yoga center’s maintenance, teacher training and education, Arabic-language yoga resource development, outreach yoga sessions in surrounding villages and refugee camps, and to community development projects identified by the communities we work with.

Music in this episode by Steve Oxen; Kevin MacLeod; also by Serge Quadrado


A full transcript of the podcast can be found here