Yogabeats Conflict – A History Of Change
2019 – Plans
This year will see the first ever qualified Yogabeats teachers from Palestine with the training being due to complete in the Autumn.
An exciting new project kicks off in the shape of Race For The Roots – a global cultural collective dedicated to keeping our indigenous cultural roots alive through creative arts.
2018 - Training, classes and more love
David had two visits this year where he delivered further teacher training in Jericho to his students. Alongside this workshops and classes took place at Beit Ashams yoga centre. Classes also took place at a local detention centre with a fantastic group of young boys who love the energy. Earlier that year saw David headlining the Israeli yoga festival.
2017 - Tours and workshops with Sama
We visited in the Spring with yoga elder Sama Fabian for a short tour, hosting workshops in Bethlehem with women in refugee camps and villages. We also travelled to Tulkarem working with female students in the university. David also continued his teacher training during two visits both in Spring and Winter that year.
2016 –Training continues
David returned to Palestine in October and continued the Yogabeats foundation teacher training course in Jericho, for a core group of 12 students in Jericho.
It created a desire for the students to request the final teacher training module, which is a post grad teacher training yogabeats course, which will allow them to finally teach as qualified yogabeats teachers. ‘I feel personally so honoured that the Palestinians will gain this qualification first on the planet !’ (David Sye). The work schedule of the level 2 was intense, with us only stopping to eat.
‘I can tell you Sarah and I both felt a great aura of love surrounding the entire course during that period and all our relationships with our Palestinian students deepened and grew into one big family, but each day we knew soon enough it would all be over, yet even now our bond with these enlightened souls carries on, and this is the great opportunity of reaching outside of one’s comfort zone and thereby meeting members of your family, who you might never have met unless you had stepped outside of the known, and stepped into the unknown !!! ‘ (David Sye)
Festivals for Peace
This year also saw us reconnecting with like-minded yogis in Israel itself. David attended a massive International Peace and Transformation Yoga Festival in May, a dream conceived by David and Nir Haim Shakaroff several years ago. The non-profit festival aimed at building a path of peace through yoga. It was a truly amazing event, sponsored by the Indian Embassy in Israel, Yogis from across Israel gathered to celebrate, and share humanities dream of PEACE.
This energy remained with us well after we left the festival and crossed over into the Palestine, where a Yogabeats roof top event had been organised in the heart of Bethlehem, (an idea conceived by our new Palestinian organisers co-founders of Biet Ashams in Bethlehem. It was on that rooftop that the transmission of that same energy was shared with everyone jumping up and down for the eternal ideals of Love n Peace, as the Yogabeats session hit its celebratory apex!!!…… And as a result our Palestinian family just kept growing. We received endless words of joy and thanks, for our return and for “not forgetting them” rang constantly in our ears. Raw emotions that words cannot describe were shared and inscribed forever in our hearts.
Ground breaking meetings
We met with the Indian Ambassador in Ramallah, where future plans and support for the work were discussed including the possibility of taking YB into Gaza. During the meeting we discovered that Bethlehem was holding an International Yoga festival, something we were overjoyed to be part of.
First ever Yoga festival in Palestine!
The first ever Palestine Yoga festival was held on a large roof top overlooking the city of Bethlehem at the Peace Centre in Nativity Square, ( between the churches and the Mosque ) a very poignant location, Yoga practiced in the centre, with no borders, no religion, just love. The Mayor of Bethlehem made a very emotional speech also about ‘Peace’ from the City of Peace itself. David’s session was filled to capacity, students from across Palestine attended to experience the pure joy of yoga escaping for just a few hours from the reality of the Occupation and the Conflict that is their everyday reality!
‘Yoga has no sides’ the intention is to reconnect the Palestinians and Israelis, with joint events rebuilding the bridge towards peace again through yoga celebrations of love and peace!!
‘Our hearts and souls and love go out to all our brothers and sisters on both sides of this longest of all conflicts and we will do all we can to actively support an end to these atrocities and the building of bridges of peace. If you choose to walk in the footsteps of the Yogi/The Buddha, try to remember this
The truth we FEEL within our own hearts ,…in-spite of what the world may say, whilst the world around us tell us what is right ,….no matter what we FEEL ,..( the choice is yours) . My hope is that the Yoga Communities around the world will now begin to stand up for peace and transformation so desperately needed amongst the global diversities of humanity and which spells out the final path left to our own species evolution from Homo Sapien to Homo Spiritus !!!
2015 - Kindness from fellow Yogis
Started with a pure act of kindness from Karissa and Jamie Issac, donating their Azul Yoga retreat in Fuerteventura as an environment for the conflict resolution work of Yogabeats. This saw us miraculously raise £12,000 for our largest project
We secured safe passage for 25 Palestinians to travel to Fuerteventura (which
is Spanish territory), so they could continue their Yogabeats teacher training with David. It was an amazing success, the love created and shared through the week was priceless. We built new relationships and continued our very special bond with some of the group that have been with us since our first visit in 2011, and who have gone on to teach their own yoga classes, setting up community centres, working with women, children and youth projects throughout Palestine.
2014 - The initial training happens
Saw us take the Yogabeats foundation course into Palestine for the first time. The aim was to introduce yoga teachers there into the practice and allow them to take the knowledge gained into their own communities.
This came to fruition in the June, where David held the first foundation course in Bethlehem, 20 male and female students joined together to learn the Yogabeats Philosophy. It was truly a joining of like-minded special souls. David and I had never experienced anything quite as unique in all our lives. The students were so overwhelmed that David had shared such a powerful gift, tears of joy were shed by all.
We had planned to return in November for part two of the course, but sadly the 52 day Gaza conflict started on the day we left Bethlehem so we were unable to return.
‘What happened was that during the four days of the foundation, the course itself quite naturally began to morph into a vehicle that matched the needs of the students (I never hold to rigid forms in anything, whether postures or thoughts) and specifically offered up psychological/yogic tools which the students in the West Bank could utilize to cope and internally transcend the enclosures and environmental restrictions of their existence.’ David Sye
2013 Touring and events
Saw further Yogabeats events in Nazareth with the same mission, of bringing both cultures across the borders together. It also saw us increasing our work in the West bank, with a short tour in June. Here we took Yogabeats to the cities of Nablus and Ramallah, receiving such a warm welcome from all the resident students there. Here we taught separate sessions for the men women and children, and a promise to return, which we of course, did !!...
Later that same year in November we undertook an extensive 10 day tour where we were joined by Davids fellow Yoga Elder Sama Fabian. This allowed us to teach much larger groups of men, women and children, and in separate sessions (in accordance of Islamic tradition) within the environments of schools, universities, villages, refugee camps, including cancer patients, medical and nursing staff.
We visited the cities of NILIN, TUKAREM, BETHLEHEM, NABLUS and JENINE, to name just a few, but also at the heart of the conflict itself HEBRON, where we were to discover that we were the first western Yoga teachers to ever teach at the epicentre of the conflict there. 29 classes were taught to over 1000 students, but to so many more that we just lost count.
2012 - Israel and Palestine enjoy Yogabeats together
Meetings between both Palestinians and Israeli yoga students had remained as a “given” dialogue which precipitated at a landmark Yogabeats gathering at the Peres Peace Centre Jaffa, on a beautiful May evening overlooking an endless sea front, it was a validation of the Yogabeats conflict work by the internationally acclaimed centre itself!!
Later in October of that year, the process was again repeated in Beit Jala, (an area in the ‘no man’s land’ territory between Israel and Palestine) where both sides shared an electrifying and historic Yogabeats event for peace, whilst simultaneously the horrors of the war in Gaza were happening!!!
2011 - Workshops and new students
Our new host in Bethlehem introduced Yogabeats to a small group of students in and became another truly invaluable member to our team who organised many successful and extensive trips for us throughout the length and breadth of Palestine. 2011 also saw workshops being organised again in Israel, where YogaBeats quickly became extremely popular.
2006 - Palestinian and Israeli students come together
In October 2006 Sye organised the first Yogabeats meeting between a group of his students from both Palestine and Israel, with special passes being granted by the Israeli army to the Palestinians coming into Israel to take part in this historic event at the American Colony hotel in Jerusalem. It was an event where fear quickly transformed into a loving community, proving once and for all that peace (given the proper tools) can exist right in the middle of a war, and that Yoga could achieve what diplomacy and politics could not.
David had invited a dear colleague and fellow IYN yoga Sama Fabian to join us in Palestine. This made able to visit and teach women’s groups in villages and a refugee camp in and around Bethlehem. We then went on to visit the University in Tulkerum which now wants to place yoga on its curriculum.
David went on to visit the city of Ramallah and taught youths at a probation hostel the receptio. These young men went crazy for yogabeats.
November’s visit concentrated on the continuing teacher training program in Jericho with our core
Past and Ongoing Projects
Brixton 409 project……
Isle of Skye and Glasgow (Easterhouse) project …… “Mark Brown Programs”
Victims of Domestic Violence, Liverpool project ….
Drug Addiction youth programs Colorado….
Toronto Canada youth projects ……Bronze-field High Security Women’s Prison ….
High security mens prisons in Milan …..
Southend on Sea “Youth at Risk” …….
Bosnia – working with British troops in 1994 Sye found that music could be used to focus the soldiers minds on the session and block out the incessant background noise of war enabling them to feels the benefit of Yoga in alleviating the symptoms of stress.
Brixton, London – In 2004 Yogabeats supported the 409 Project, fighting knife and drug crimes on the streets of South London.
Southend-on-Sea , UK – David has been involved with Youth at Risk for over 2 years, using Yogabeats to re-engage youngsters in education and combat severe behavioural problems, namely the ‘Motivate the Estate project’. ‘Many who struggle to engage in activity for more than a few minutes spent a significant amount of time completely absorbed in the session…this can lead to quite radical changes in behaviour.’ says Youth at Risk of the Project.
Sye’s father, the legendary performer Frankie Vaughn undertook a mission to tackle street crime issues over 40 years ago; building a community centre in Easterhouse [which he single handedly financed through his music concerts in Glasgow] so that the youth of that time could live to realise their full potential. Yogabeats has supported the local charity appeal for funding [￡2 million] to recreate a community hub for an estate which is often held up as an example of broken urban society.
And this is where Yogabeats comes in….Sye has already been bringing youths from rival gangs together through a shared passion for – perhaps surprisingly – Yoga. That’s not to say classes are only for the young and fit.
“The Yoga Beats Project is dedicated to my master teacher the late Clara Buck” – David Sye
The Yogabeats Charity’s is a non-profit outreach, for all those communities in need and is fully supported by His Holiness the Dhalai Lama...