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'Yoga improves morale and self-esteem,' Afghan women tell Euronews

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'Yoga improves morale and self-esteem,' Afghan women tell Euronews
Copyright  Euronews/Maryam Shahi
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Fakhria Ebrahimi Momtaz founded the first women's yoga club in Kabul, Afghanistan, two years ago.

Momtaz told Euronews that the sport has helped Afghan women “improve their morale”.

“We must first make peace for ourselves before we can make peace for our society,” she said.

Over the years, the number of women practicing sports in Afghanistan has grown. There are now 24 sports clubs for women according to Afghanistan’s Department of Sport, with yoga being one of the most peaceful sports practiced.

Under the Taliban regime, women were not allowed to participate in public sports events. Women were not allowed to leave the home without being escorted by a male member of the family.

But sports can help empower women and tackle social issues in war-torn countries like Afghanistan, according to American non-profit Middle East Institute.

“Sports can play a key role in creating a safe space for women outside of the home and even change the role of women in society,” said an article by the NGO.

Momtaz believes yoga can help with issues such as gender violence.

“There are many women who come to my classes voluntarily because they are conscious of what yoga can do for them.”

Atefa Nazari, who also practices martial arts, told Euronews that yoga helps her relax and focus before her martial arts competitions.

By Maryam Shahi for Euronews