JICA partners with monastic bodies for health and fitness workshop

Monks and nuns in monastic centres are particularly vulnerable to health and psychological issues due to their inactive lifestyles and limited physical activity. To address this, volunteers from JICA in collaboration with the monastic bodies of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang, organised a Health and Physical Education workshop for monks and nuns.

At Wangrab Losel Sherabling Buddhist School monks eagerly participated in new activities introduced by JICA volunteers.

The volunteers demonstrated several indoor exercises to enhance stamina, flexibility, and well-being.

The monks also learned about the significance of sanitation and proper nutrition.

According to the volunteers, regular exercise can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while good hygiene helps prevent infectious diseases and improve quality of life.

“We have more than 150 students here. Many of our friends complain about joint pains. But they felt relief after participating in today’s activities,” said  Pema Lhendup, Monk, Wangrab Losel Sherabling Buddhist School.

“We often feel uncomfortable from constant studying. But physical exercises make us feel better. Although we occasionally play football, we were thrilled to try different activities today,” said Namgay Dorji, another monk, Wangrab Losel Sherabling Buddhist School.

“This training has been extremely beneficial since we can do these physical activities indoors, even in classrooms. We plan to continue these exercises regularly and introduce yoga to stay fit as it can be practised inside,” said Dorji, principal, Wangrab Losel Sherabling Buddhist School.

A similar workshop was also held at Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery at Wolakha in Punakha.

“Before today, we did not know which foods are good for our health and which ones are harmful. They taught us all about it, explaining in detail what we should and should not eat,” said Deki Dema, a nun at Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendup Nunnery.

“We learned several physical activities and were advised not to feel hesitant during menstruation but to maintain proper health and hygiene. We understand this now and will follow it accordingly,” said Nim Dem, also a nun.

“Most of the time in the study, we are very stressed and irritated. So, that is why, sometimes we need refresher time like exercise and playing football. Sports allow us to cooperate and feel refreshed,” said Kae Takasu, JICA volunteer.

If successful, this workshop will be replicated in other monastic centres.

Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang

Edited by Sonam Pem

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