Preface

The idea

For many years we have been meeting and working with asylum seekers and refugees offering our service as clinical psychologists. It often happens that we suggest breathing and relaxation exercises during a counselling session and that people are interested in hearing more about them.
People have expressed how much they valued these exercises however they have also shared with us that they struggled to integrate them into their daily life or to apply them when they most needed them. These experiences prompted the idea to record breathing and relaxation exercises in different languages and to make them accessible in digital format to asylum seekers and refugees. Considering that most people nowadays own a phone that allows them to download digital files, we have shared both the texts and audio files on our website.

For whom

Because we strongly believe it’s important that the exercises are accessible to anyone who might benefit from them, independently of their legal status or financial means, we are happy to share the translated texts and the digital recordings for free. The exercises can be used both by those who wish to take advantage of the resources themselves as well as by those looking for materials to complement their work in supporting or counselling others.

Important information

We want to emphasise that we don’t pretend to believe that these exercises are the solutions to the the multiple suffering experienced within seeking refuge. For some, they offer relief; to others they are not helpful.
We are committed to avoid enactments of Western colonialism that has us imposing our own understanding of difficulties and particularly the idea of the correct solutions on other people’s experience. Moreover, we are aware that the problems faced by refugees often arose in a broader socio-political context and human rights violations. Our vision therefore resists the tendency to individualise, pathologise and medicalise this kind of suffering.
With this in mind, we hope that these exercises will be integrated with much care and respect in a comprehensive support that seeks to find helpful ways forward collaboratively.

Many of the exercises originate or are related to traditions of faith or wisdom from the different corners of the world. It is important to be aware and acknowledge that many of those traditions, like yoga, were once the object of persecution. We thank the people who have given us permission to use their versions of these sorts of exercises in this project. Some exercises come forth from specific sources of which we added the references. For a couple of exercises it was impossible to determine their origin and they are considered part of the common good. The exercises lacking references are our own versions of those.

The unique approach of our project is the fruit of our own work and we would highly appreciate it for you to respect our work, make honest use of it and refer to it correctly.

This project was carried out with little finacial resources. In those cases where we couldn’t accomplish the translations of all parts, we have kept the English versions for those missing parts. This is to strive for as much uniformity as possible across all texts.