Introducing Niloofar, OMPowerment Norway trainee

"No matter where you come from or who you are, yoga is something you can do”

Niloofar first began practising yoga in Iran and, more recently whilst living in Norway, she told us she had been practising from videos on YouTube. Niloofar is a cook and baker with 17 years of experience. She loves to decorate cakes and carve fruit platters (check her out on Instagram: @pastrychefniloo). Niloofar told us that she’d tried a lot of different types of workout in the past: running, walking, indoor cycling and after each of those types of workout, she felt tired and eat heartily afterwards. After yoga she said that she often felt revived and energised. 

One of Niloofar’s favourite yoga poses of the training week was bridge pose. She found it fun but hard and she felt her capacity to experience the pose expanded as the week progressed. It made her truly happy because she felt that things were changing positively in her body. 

If someone felt nervous to try yoga, Niloofar would advise them to give it a go because no matter where you come from and who you are, yoga is something you can do. Niloofar would let them know that there were options to modify poses to suit their own body. Niloofar’s own highlight of the week’s training was learning the variations to poses – how to use a wall or a blanket to support and modify. She loved learning she had options. 

She would let someone new to yoga know, that by starting to practise, it would get easier. She would tell them that she knew yoga to be good for her body and her general wellbeing. Niloofar said she has the awareness that after yoga her spinning thoughts had slowed and calmed down. She reflected that everyone has challenges with their body in some way and yoga was a tool for accepting those challenges and healing from them. 

Niloofar led a short yoga sequence on the last day of training. When asked if she enjoyed it, she said, “not quite…”! But she’s looking forward to sharing the practise with her daughters and she hopes they will join her in a regular yoga practice. Niloofar’s reflections after the week’s training were that, even 5 minutes of yoga could be enough to benefit and improve her yoga practice. She knew it would take time to learn and embody various poses but each day of the training had an accumulative effect such that as she moved, her body adapted and so by the end of the week the practice of yoga was beginning to feel like a natural part of life.  

Niloofar baked us a celebration cake on the last day of training. There were the delicate flavours that you can associate with Persian cooking like citrus and vanilla. And a sponge that defied gravity by being both soft and strong enough to hold the lashings of fresh cream that held it all together. The OMPowerment training team devoured that cake all the way to the airport. 

Some weeks after the training, we learned that there was a good chance Niloofar would be offered the opportunity to participate in three yoga classes per week which she was really looking forward to. Whatever happens, Niloofar now has the skills to continue her practise at home and at her own pace. 

If you want to support people like Niloofar, visit our pages on ompower.org where you’ll find more information about how you can donate and fundraise.