My journey of wellbeing and self-care started with meditation and mental training when I was about 20 years old. This experience enabled me to go beyond my personal limits and I became the first Swiss person to swim across the English Channel in 1988. A 20-year sports career in long-distance running, triathlon and mountaineering followed.
As a balance to sports and my office work at UNCTAD, I discovered the world of yoga about 15 years ago. To deepen my knowledge, I completed an Ayuryoga teacher training by Remo Rittiner in Zurich. Two yoga therapist trainings at the same school followed. The longer I practice yoga (and the older I become), I see the amazing health benefits yoga offers and I am delighted to share this precious knowledge with others...
I have worked for OHCHR in the field and at Headquarters for the past 16 years and from 2018 to 2020, I was a member of the Office’s Staff Committee. In that capacity, I realized how many colleagues feel stressed, under pressure, frustrated and exhausted. This triggered some of the following questions on me: How can we, as UN staff working in a high pressure environment, remain physically and mentally healthy and balanced independently from external circumstances?
How can we remain clear, focused but also relaxed and connected to ourselves? For me personally, I found the answer in Yoga Nidra and meditation. After having completed intensive trainings to become an instructor for both techniques, I am thrilled to share Yoga Nidra and various meditation styles with colleagues. My great wish is to support participants in finding their inner strength through techniques such as deep relaxation at the physical, mental and emotional level and balancing and re-gaining of energy through meditation and Yoga Nidra. Through simple techniques, colleagues will find to a more blissful life on a daily basis. So: Come and enjoy, it’s time to exchange stress for bliss!
My background and training is in textile design and art and creative activities have always been an important aspect of my life. Artistic work is very therapeutic and enriching and so holding art and creations workshops to enable people to switch off from their busy lives and work is a perfect way to help people slow down and express themselves in a creative way. Stopping from the daily stresses of life for a while when doing artwork is a way to calm the emotions and totally immerse yourself in another domain. I find people just concentrate on the subject at hand and think of nothing else!
Over the last six years I have been holding art and creations workshops either for small groups of adults or for children and I have also been holding these workshops for the UNWG. Normally we have done this in a real life setting, but at the moment the classes take place online and surprisingly this also works very well.
Mara Arizaga works is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher and has practiced meditation for over 20 years. She runs mindfulness courses for her colleagues at OHCHR and UNOG, aiming at reducing stress, improving health and keeping balance and perspective in life.
Mara holds a PhD degree in the History of Religions and Religious Anthropology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne) in Paris, in co-tutoring with the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her thesis looked at Asian meditation practices and their adaptations into the West.
Booran Al-Khudahiri is a retiree from UNOG Translation Division.
Currently a Certified Life Coach, for more information please visit her website www.blossomwithin.online.