Since 2009 we have brought yoga to people experiencing disadvantage with no access to yoga. Our aim is to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve the quality of life.
Yoga for forensic patients
In 2016 and 2017 we delivered a total of 36 classes to forensic patients - people found not guilty by reason of mental illness and detained in a secure psychiatric facility. We received very positive feedback from the male patients who participated: "I want to do yoga to help me be happy"; "...the breath and movement has built a connection to myself again"; "I found it very helpful in many ways and would love to do more yoga in future if possible".
Yoga for Refugees
In 2016 we worked with the NSW Refugee Health Service to deliver an eight week yoga program to a group of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. This program was designed to teach them how they can look after their mental and physical wellbeing and was part of a broader initiative supporting the needs of newly settled people. The participants loved the program and we look forward to working with them again.
Yoga for Veterans with PTSD
The Yoga Foundation worked with Soldier On and Defence Care to understand the needs of veterans and to be able to effectively deliver appropriate yoga programs.
In 2014-16 we delivered a range of group and individual programs in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Wodonga. Evaluations demonstrated the positive impact that yoga had on veterans; each veteran was invited to set individual goals and track their progress. One twenty seven year old veteran found that two months of weekly yoga enhanced his focus, general wellbeing, physical flexibility and sleep quality. After 17 weeks of sessions, this veteran found the program to be “truly helpful.” He found it taught him new skills to cope with pressures: the mindfulness techniques allowed him to distance himself from emotions and intrusive thoughts. He stated that the postures are a great starting point for anyone not used to meditation and mindfulness. He recommended the yoga program to anyone suffering PTSD in conjunction with their usual medical treatment.
Cerebral Palsy Project
In 2013 and 2014 we worked with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) to deliver three programs for people with cerebral palsy and for their carers. Hear from Rachel about the differences the yoga program made for her.
Research shows that carers of people with mental illness are at greater risk that the general population of developing anxiety and depression. We developed a weekly two hour yoga program specifically for carers to support their needs and to educate them on incorporating yoga in to their self care routine. This was delivered to clients of Carers NSW in April and May 2015.
Yoga for the Mind
In 2015 we delivered a 40 classes program designed for people with severe and persistent mental illness. This was funded by Partners in Recovery.
Juvenile Justice Projects
In September 2016 we started an 8 week yoga program for young people aged between 10 and 21 at a specialist government school in Melbourne that provides education to students who are, or have been, detained in custody. Their students represent some of the most disadvantaged in the state, with most, victims of abuse, trauma or neglect. This College caters for students with disabilities, as well as social, emotional, learning and behavioural difficulties.
It was a privilege to bring yoga to these students every Friday and Saturday. Read this interview with our teacher to find out more.
In 2012 we facilitated a short yoga program at the Cobham and Emu Plains Juvenile Justice centres, located in Western Sydney. The program was designed to help detainees manage stress.
La Perouse ‘Mothers and Others’ Project
In 2012 we provided weekly classes for a group of young women from the Aboriginal community of La Perouse, Sydney. During the classes time was spent discussing activities participants could do at home to support their needs in a more sustained manner.
Post Adoption Resource Centre, The Benevolent Society
We provided yoga on a weekend retreat both in 2013 and 2014 for people affected by adoption and experiencing anxiety and depression.
Mental Health Support St George Aftercare
From 2012-2014 we delivered a weekly yoga class for consumers of mental health services in the St George area of Sydney. The aim was to support the mental health recovery journey for people who found it very difficult to access yoga in the general community.
Yoga at St George Aftercare