The Yoga Mandala Project Team
Director at Y.M.P.
Andrea Canepa focused her Masters Degree from Columbia University on the crossroads of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law—particularly in regards to the assistance and protection of refugees, IDPs, children, and persons with disabilities in contexts of armed conflict. Her professional career spans from fieldwork, international conferences and on-site research in settings such as India, Haiti, Palestine, Qatar, Iraq, Yemen, the Syrian-Jordanian border, China, Peru and Colombia, to policy-focused work in New York and Geneva. She is currently based in Colombia, where her work is particularly focused on support for rural communities directly affected by war, including minors in conflict zones, families of the disappeared and victims displaced by the conflict, as well as on dialogue with armed actors on International Humanitarian Law and protection issues.
Through the proximity with communities affected by war afforded by her experience in the humanitarian field, Andrea has realized that psychosocial support is seen as being just as essential as any other basic service to people living in or fleeing from an armed conflict. As a humanitarian and a certified yoga teacher, she wholeheartedly beliefs the self-care and stress-management benefits of yoga make it one of the most helpful and best suited practices to address such psychosocial needs.
Director at Y.M.P.
Bella has been teaching Hatha Yoga since 2002 and Yoga has been in her life since she was a child.
She trained initially 500hrs with Contemporary Yoga, Cork, and has completed trainings in Yoga Nidra, Restorative Yoga, Pre and Post natal Yoga and Yoga for Women’s health through Yoga campus UK and YTTC Ireland. She is influenced and inspired by the teachings of Swami Satyananda, BKS Iyengar, teachers of Scaravelli Yoga and the tantric and structural Yoga of Mukunde Stiles, and the Tantric Yoga teachings of Chinnamasta Stiles.
Bella has also studied and taught dance for 14 years, and has explored different movement practices such as Feldenkrais and Qi Gong.
She holds regular classes, workshops, retreats and women’s gatherings. Bella is a long term student of Danza Duende- an international network of teachers, artists and practitioners dedicated to ‘dancing life” and the open hearted expression of ourselves in our basic goodness as human beings.
She is the director of the Yoga Mandala Project - a growing global community of teachers that are committed to offering Yoga as seva in refugee communities.
Rula Wardeh Ananda
Director at Y.M.P.
Rula is passionate about her Yoga practice and takes simple steps to integrate Yoga into her daily lifestyle. Rula started her Yoga practice back in 2006, she was attracted to the healing qualities of Yoga.
For Rula, the most powerful quality f Yoga is that of Transformational. As we practice we evolve, physically, mentally & spiritually.
Once upon a time... Back in 2010 Rula completed her 180Hr Hatha Yoga certificate from Yoga Tree, Toronto. Followed by Pre-natal yoga certificate by Urban Yoga, Vancouver – 2012. And started her Yin Yoga journey with a 50Hr certificate with Alena Calinescu - GoodLife Fitness – 2013. This is when she fell in love with Yin Yoga and its healing power effect.
Rula was nominated by the Indian Embassy in Amman to represent Jordan in the first Yoga Instructor Course in SVYASA University, Bangalore, India 2016. This one month training was in celebration of the International Day of Yoga in 2016.
In pursuit of her passion for Yin Yoga, Rula recently returned (March 2017) from Goa- India where she did another 50hr advanced Yin Yoga Course Yin TTC from Trimurti Yoga.
Susan Bainter Baghdadi
TRE trainer and trauma advisor at Y.M.P.
Life Coach, Process Host, TRE/ Trauma Specialist.
Based Amman, Jordan & Arizona, Susan is a Martha Beck trained Master Life Coach.
She invites individuals and groups to explore “what they already know,” using body-centered, nature-inspired coaching, trauma release and participatory processes in individual sessions, workshops and international learning journeys - weaving ancient wisdom, modern science, love and physical presence into a joyfully created future.
Yoga therapy advisor and trainer at Y.M.P.
Claire has been a yoga practitioner since 1993 and a teacher since she completed her training in 2001.
She has completed numerous specialised training courses including a 2 year yoga therapy diploma with Yoga Campus in London, a certificate in yoga nidra, and courses in yoga for womens' health, including womb yoga, pregnancy and post-natal yoga, as well as attending courses in experiential anatomy, restorative yoga and yoga for the lymphatic and digestive systems.
She has practiced a form of movement meditation called “Amerta Movement”, with her mentor Suprapto Suryadarmo, since 1997 and is a trained massage therapist for the past 20 years.
Currently she is a student supervisor for Yoga Campus' yoga therapy diploma in London, she runs a yoga apprenticeship programme, and is involved in the Yoga Mandala Project's trauma sensitive yoga training programme.
The Yoga Mandala Project was initiated in 2014, during a visit to volunteer with Collateral Repair Project, a community based, grassroots organization supporting urban refugees in Amman, Jordan.
We spent several weeks there, teaching Yoga and dance to women, men and children, and were amazed and encouraged by how quickly people responded to Yoga as a self help tool to manage the stress of their situation as refugees.
Those who attended the classes reported that they felt better physically, emotionally, mentally and noticed improved sleep, more relaxation, less anxiety, more resilience and that health issues began to be alleviated.
People said they found ‘comfort’, a feeling of ‘safety’ and ‘peace’. They were very keen to continue!
We began to see the need to bring more teachers into the project, and to create sustainable programs in cooperation with partner organisations. We began to look at ways to build a program that would best serve the needs of the communities we were working with.
After some stops and starts, we found that it made best sense to work alongside local Yoga teachers, bringing them on board, and offering them training in trauma informed protocol, teaching and practice.
We found that there were many teachers wanting to volunteer, to offer what skills they had to support people in this crisis, but that there was a need for consistency, understanding of trauma, PTSD and effects, and skills that would empower and support teachers going into refugee communities.
We began to offer these training programs to teachers, offering them for free, or on a donation basis, and in return asked that people would make a commitment to offer either some time volunteer teaching, or serving in some other way, such as making a donation, organizing a fundraiser or offering Yoga support to other volunteers.
These trainings have enabled us to establish long-term programs within the refugee communities, and we now have several programs up and running.
A sustainable Mandala was born, and we now have ongoing programs, trainings three times a year for teachers, and self care support for volunteers.
The trainings are supported by donations and are subsidized by the Yoga Mandala Project.
The vision is of a growing global community, dedicated to offering Karuna, compassionate action.
We can be contacted using the form below.
Please include the name of the team member in the subject line you wish to contact directly.