It was a dream that actually came true and not since the 18th October 2006 had we been able to obtain passes for my Palestinian students to pass through the borders and enter Israeli territory to practice Yogabeats alongside Israeli practitioners.
Miri, our Yogabeats Israeli representative, had approached the Peres Peace Foundation early at the beginning of the year. Their events Manager, Avital Cohen, had promptly agreed to host the proposed Yogabeats session between both cultures of this ancient conflict at the premises of the Peres Peace Centre in Jaffa just North of Tel Aviv .
So the passes were arranged, whilst at the same time many yoga students in the Uk/Europe and America had donated anything they could to the “Yoga Beats Conflict fund raiser”, run by Sarah Steven. It was they who had made the financing of the entire project viable without us being able to give them any guarantee of success to the project in return, because at any point the whole project could fall apart due to the unstable situation on the borders between the two countries. Only once myself and Sarah were already in Israel did we receive the news that the passes had been processed and the project looked like it would actually happen.
Then on the 22nd of May Palestinians from all over the entire West Bank came across on buses, helped and organised by Lisa Waldbaum, a courageous Israeli Yoga teacher, whose devotion is to teach Palestinians yoga. Israelis joined us, and some travelled from as far afield as Eilat (almost 5hours to the South).
It was such an honour to witness the love and joy that erupted from these two cultures once they had come together! The Yogabeats session was full of hilarity and joy, and that was preceded by what I have named the “love line” a process I had used in 2006 to eradicate tensions between the two groups. Basically this is where one individual walks down between all the students arranged into two facing lines, with a blanket over their head (to hide their identity). As they pass down the lines, each person whispers into their ears their blessings /good wishes and love. By the time they have reached the end of the line their emotions are totally transformed!
The day ended with a buffet of food. Everyone hugged me and my team and a really solid community was born! Many people present told me this project has to continue. So it is proposed that this will be repeated as a monthly event, commencing with our visit this October, where we believe a much bigger event can now happen!
What is most significant is that through the ancient practice of Yoga peace can be realised between warring cultures, without International negotiations or UN sanctions, and just through the power of the human heart we can heal the world!!!