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Heidi Defever


20220719_183657 - Heidi Defever.jpg

Born in 1973, growing up with a close connection with nature and humans. 
Working since 1999 with youngsters (schools, residential youth care, psychiatry) through experiential learning and restorative justice. Supporting professionals in dealing with transgressive behavior (grensoverschrijdend = crossing-borders).

I have practiced meditative archery for more than 15 years, and integrated it in my work, often in combination with the resilience training based on Rock & Water (Gadaku Institute).

I worked for almost 20 years at Arktos vzw:
Expertise center for children and young adults from 6 until 25 years old for whom the connection with society seems less evident. Nevertheless, we see the strength in every one of them. By connecting them with their surroundings, we want to empower them in their talents and skills, in every possible aspect of life.

Since 2018 I have worked for Alba vzw:
Expertise center based on creating re-connection. We organize victim-offender mediation and other restorative justice practices for young offenders, youth care settings, and families. For these target groups, we also organize short and long-term experiential learning activities including 3 months Camino.

Meditative archery - Japanese Kyudo

Kyudo means "the way of the bow", when we practice it here, we also call it "archery from the heart". It is a way to reach the connection between arrow, bow, target, and archer.
I use it in my work with youngsters and families who face multiple struggles in their lives.
It is a way to experience our strength. It requires a combination of grounding (standing strong), conscious breathing, and focus. 
I combine it with principles of Rock and Water training from the Gadaku Institute.
Someone named these 5 good reasons to do it :
1. Good for body and posture
One uses its whole body to shoot. Although not moving a lot, to hold the bow and to tighten the string, you need muscles from the back, shoulders, belly, arms, and legs. It improves your balance.
2. One with nature
I prefer to do archery in the open air. Nature and fresh air have a calming down effect and because of the awareness of breathing, the nervous system relaxes too. 
3. Good for your concentration
Because of the combination of actions: being aware of your posture, bow and string firmly tightened, aiming the arrow at the target. That last one isn't the most important if practicing Kyudo for personal development. It needs self-control and patience, features that serve to make difficult decisions and deal with obstacles in life.
4. It changes your perspective
on yourself and your context. One becomes more aware of its behavior and learns how to be present in the 'now', and how to deal with frustration and resistance when reaching out for new horizons.
5. Good for your self-confidence
By tightening the bow, you open your chest. Not only in your posture, but it can also open deeper layers within yourself. It can free emotions that have been oppressed.

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