Yoga classes are being offered for the first time in West Bank city, in a bid to improve the health of Palestinian residents.
The classes are offered by a Palestinian yoga group called the West Bank Yoga Association.
The West Bank has been plagued by chronic health issues, with an estimated two million people suffering from cancer, diabetes and other conditions.
A yoga teacher told Al Jazeera the group aims to bring yoga to the Palestinian territories, by providing a therapeutic alternative to the daily routines of Palestinians.
“Yoga is not only an art form but also a therapeutic practice.
You can be a yoga teacher and not only teach but also heal yourself,” said the instructor, a former Palestinian army soldier who asked to remain anonymous.”
We are hoping that with this program we will bring the healing process and the healing to the West bank and also to other Palestinian areas of the world.”
The yoga instructor, who works for the organisation’s educational arm, said yoga has long been used in Palestinian areas as a way to heal from chronic ailments, such as the debilitating effects of cancer.
But while yoga classes have been offered in Gaza and the Westbank, they have never been offered anywhere in the Palestinian Territories.
“In the past, we have had to leave the Palestinian cities and move to the bigger cities.
Now, we are able to offer yoga classes in the West [Bourbon Hill], in the city of Nablus and in the towns of Beit Hanoun and al-Dura.”
It is a very big change for us,” he added.
The West Bank is currently home to approximately 500,000 Palestinians.
Its only two major centres, Bethlehem and Nablos, are now under Israeli control.