Monterrey – A shelter for migrants in the northern state of Coahuila is offering yoga classes to help undocumented Central Americans cope with the stress of their arduous and often dangerous trek across Mexico to reach the United States.
"Every week the migrants are offered a hour of yoga thanks to the cooperation of a volunteer," Posada Belen director Alberto Xicotencatl told Efe.
Jap Singh Kalsa began teaching yoga at Posada Belen five months ago.
The shelter in Saltillo, capital of the border state of Coahuila, is currently providing hospitality to around 130 migrants. Every year, around 150,000 undocumented Central Americans cross Mexico with hopes of sneaking into the United States.
Singh focuses on teaching the migrants how to manage the physical and emotional stress of the journey.
Always risky, the trek has become downright dangerous in recent years with the proliferation in Mexico of drug-cartel gunmen pursuing a lucrative sideline in extorting the migrants.
Xicotencatl said he and his colleagues at the other Catholic Church-supported migrant shelters in Mexico have noted an increase in the number of people seeking shelter.
New arrivals at Posada Belen have surged from an average of 50 a day for most of the last 12 months to around 120 a day in recent weeks, he said.
"The migrants have described to us a more peaceful trip," Xicotencatl said, suggesting the northbound migration has expanded because Mexico's drug cartels are too busy fighting each other over turf to bother with kidnapping and extorting the migrants.
He identified Tabasco, Oaxaca, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas as the most dangerous states for migrants.
Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, was the scene in August 2010 of the massacre of 72 mostly Central American migrants, a crime blamed on the Los Zetas drug cartel.
Mexico's independent National Human Rights Commission said that at least 11,333 migrants were kidnapped during the period April-September 2010.