All summer, residents of Mexico are being invited to participate in free yoga sessions designed to bring peace to one of the most violent nations of the world. The initiative started in the capital may extend to other regions.
Since taking power in 2006, President Felipe Calderón has declared war on the Mexican drug cartels by mobilizing 50,000 military personnel to re-enforce the police. But this has made little impact on the traffickers. In four years, 28,000 people have died in confrontations with the army and the police; just this year so far the number of victims is 7,000.
And you don’t have to be in the city of Juárez on the US border, where more than 2,600 died in 2009, to meet anxious Mexicans who are scared they might find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Concurrently, confidence in the military has been eroded as Mexican NGOs report human-rights violations committed by the soldiers.
In the face of these tensions, Mexico City has been running giant yoga sessions for free for several months, as prayers do not seem to be enough to end the violence in the second-largest Catholic country in the world.