Mission of Healing 2021 Final Theme: Yoga and Reflexology Ideas for Stress Management

It's been a stressful year. Everywhere.

The impact of the pandemic on our circle of friends in El Salvador is particularly heavy this week:  several deaths from COVID, including a young youth group leader.; two suicides - young people struggling with depression. Even the most hopeful among us are feeling pretty down right now.

We all just try to help where we can. We do what we are able to do.  We keep on keeping on.

The church teams that are using the Mission of Healing materials this year tell us that the discussions are good. We often hear from the adults that they really love coloring because it helps them to destress.  As the year has progressed, we have actually tried to design the adult information pages so the illustrations can be colored during the presentation and discussion. 

We decided to make the final workshop for the year a continuation of the focus on stress, with a bit of yoga and reflexology and some tips for managing stressful moments. 

The Salvadoran Lutheran Church Indigenous Ministry Team often leads Mayan ceremonies in conjunction with the corn festival in August.  We thought a Mayan ceremony would be a very good way for this workshop to begin, and we were able to find helpful materials (consistent with what we have experienced personally here) from the Franciscans for Ecology website.

We created one video, featuring Susan, who is known and beloved for teaching foot reflexology and massaging hundreds of feet over the years.  Sometimes, bringing familiar faces and voices into the workshop, even if only by video, encourages the participants and sparks the sharing of stories and fond memories. This is one way in which we have tried to build hope this year.

It's difficult enough to teach complicated reflexology techniques in person and with one-on-one demonstrations.  This video format provided us with a challenge. We decided to keep this year's video-teaching as simple as possible, and we found a really great online resource at Psicoconsultaronline.com which expands on the acupressure and finger holds shown in the video. 

This is one section from the Japanese finger-hold technique handout.
The idea is to try to give ourselves techniques to diminish stress
in the moment so that small stresses do not accumulate and become chronic.
We created some activity pages to help families remember
how to do the techniques when they are on their own.

We found a children's yoga video, created by Smile and Learn, which we think adults will enjoy as much as the children.

This video has a companion piece, with good illustrations of yoga positions with animal names, and as a bonus, it can be colored!  Aguila means eagle.  Maybe you would like to stand up and try that one right now!

As we complete our series of workshops for 2021, we are already working on a plan for 2022.  We have learned a great deal this year from the leaders and participants and will be incorporating many new ideas into the plan for next year.

About a month ago, we did produce a fun video for the Salvadoran churches which illustrates via photos and some recordings what the workshops this year have looked like.  We can definitely see that the "get your body moving theme" was a pretty fun one! We also got a lot of feedback on the materials we had on bullying, and how important that conversation was for children and youth.  Hopefully this video will encourage all of us who are feeling pretty down right now to keep on keeping on as best we can, because small encouragements do make a difference.


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