South Africa: The Elderly Practice Yoga!
08 August 2018

Women in the Elderly Program practice yoga.

Johannesburg, 1 August 2018—Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) South Africa offers a program for the elderly called “Old Age is a Time of Grace” through the Pastoral Care Department, under the supervision of Fr. Vaidas Lukosevicius, SJ and Marie-Christine Boudier. Through this weekly program, participants engage in activities to stimulate mind, body, and spirit together as a community.

Last week, Ms. Nombongo Khohli, a teacher at the JRS Arrupe Skills Centre, started the program with a series of “brainteaser” games designed to challenge the elderly to think creatively and work together. The group members broke up into teams and competed with one another to complete the challenges quickly. There was a lot of smiling and celebrating as teams figured out the solutions to the puzzles.

Last week, the elderly engaged in an outdoor yoga session in order to practice physical activity, meditation, and relaxation. Ms. Stella Douglas, yoga master at Pure Peace Yoga, led members of the group in a series of modified yoga poses and exercises. As breathing is central to yoga, Stella set the tone for the guided session saying: “When we breathe in, we breathe in the Spirit of God. We breathe in wisdom. We breathe out fear. We breathe in peace. We breathe out fear. We breathe in love. We breathe out anxiety. We breathe in hope.” The practice of yoga grounded the elderly in a new way, encouraging them to move and strengthen their bodies in a way that is new and different from their regular routines.

Following the yoga session, everyone shared in a meal and some ginger juice, made fresh by one of the group members, Mama Mgalula Bomba. She proudly shared the recipe of how to make the ginger juice and then everyone danced in the sunshine before parting ways.

Sarah Garwood

Intern Advocacy & Communications Officer, JRS South Africa

Press Contact Information
Mr. Tim Smith
+27 11 618 3404