Edinburgh Community Yoga Outreach (ECYO) is the name of our outreach project and stems from our deepest belief that the far-reaching benefits of yoga and meditation should be accessible for everyone, no matter their state of health or economic status.

We work to change the perception that yoga is for fit, bendy people who can easily touch their toes and instead focus on the therapeutic benefits that can be enjoyed by everyone. We offer a space for anyone who wants the opportunity to simply move and breathe in a way that feels good for them. Edinburgh Community Yoga final outreach-01

We have made it our mission to offer yoga and yoga therapy to as many people across Edinburgh as possible. We take yoga to the places it is needed most, developing affordable community yoga classes in low-income areas and working with local organisations who support vulnerable groups including homeless people, adults in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, women affected by trauma, in-patient psychiatric services and people with long term health conditions.

Our belief is that through the practice of yoga, breathing mindfully and learning to pay attention to the body individuals can learn skills of self-compassion, acceptance and regulation of the nervous system contributing to their own sense of wellbeing and health and building stronger, more positive communities in the process.

We cannot do this work without the generous support of those who believe that yoga can benefit everyone in our society. We contribute 10% of the profit from ECY to this work but we also depend on grants, fundraising events and individual contributions in order to keep the programme going. Your support makes a huge difference and is very much appreciated by us here at ECYO.

You can help by:

  1. Making a monthly contribution to ECYOutreach
  2. Giving a one off donation to ECYOutreach
  3. Organising a fundraiser or choosing us as your organisation to raise money for
  4. Booking a class with us-10% of the profit will go to help someone else enjoy the benefit of yoga.
  5. Spreading the word about our Outreach work
  6. Donate your time (we are always looking for yoga teachers interested in our work)

Read a recent Yoga Matters blog about us by Helen Redfern here

Our Projects

Serenity Café Yoga Outreachserenity

We work with the most established recovery café in Edinburgh, the Serenity Café, running 8 week Minded Addiction Recovery Kit (MARK) programmes and an ongoing improvers class for those who want to deepen their understanding of the practice of yoga.

Alcohol Related Brain Damage Unit-Penumbra Milestone

We offer an 8 week MARK programme of yoga and mindfulness in recovery to support people resident in the ARBIU run by Penumbra Milestone. This class offers accessible movement and breath work to people with a range of physical and cognitive impairment and encourages balancing of the nervous system and awareness of sensations in the body.

Lothian Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP)

We offer yoga and meditation workshops for people taking part in this residential abstinence programme in Edinburgh, offering people the chance to see that recovery can be about not just being sober, but also feeling good in that place.

The Hive

The Hive is a sanctuary for in-patients at the Royal Edinburgh hospital for those with mental health issues. This centre offers art, music, recreation and crafts activities. ECYOutreach teach a weekly therapeutic yoga class for the patients and the staff who work with them.

Womenzone

Womenzone works with women in recovery from addiction and affected by trauma. As a result of funding from First State Investment and Foundation Scotland we run a weekly class for women involved in the project and in May this year were able to take 10 women on a weekend retreat.

KICC Active

Supported by KICC Active we offer a weekly therapeutic class for people living with long- term health conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia ME or multiple sclerosis.

Healthy Hibbees

This is a great fun class, working with Hibbs supporters (mostly men) who want to get fit. Getting men into yoga is exciting and these guys love the class, particularly their post-practice savasana.

Cyrenians

Cyrenians is an Edinburgh charity that helps vulnerable adults to support themselves. We run introductory stress reduction workshops for the volunteers, staff and residents of both the farm and city communities.

NHS Staff Wellbeing Project

NHSlothianWe are currently working with Healthy Working Lives running an extremely progressive intervention at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. We work to support NHS staff by providing in house yoga sessions in short blocks in clinical areas. The sessions focus on breathing, mindful movement and finding relaxation in the body and the mind.

Chronic stress leads to increased absenteeism, burnout and decreased compassion for self and others, which is why we believe these sessions are so beneficial for health care staff.

Veterans

Working with people affected by trauma is one of our biggest passions so we are completely over the moon to announce we have been successful in being awarded a grant through the Scottish Veterans Fund and the Scottish Government. The money will enable us to run a year long project of yoga classes for military veterans and several day retreats for veterans and their families in Edinburgh at the Veterans Community Cafe. We have been working on getting this project started for some time and are really delighted that it is going to happen.

We are simultaneously starting a separate class for veterans at Whitefoord house which you might not know is an old town residence for our military veterans who often return home with a whole variety of social, psychological and physical issues. So great to see engaged staff willing to bring in supportive activities for residents. We are so lucky to get to work with such caring, motivated and experienced individuals who support our work.

Self Harm Service

We run a weekly class with people who attend the self harm service at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, supported by a clinical nurse specialist and funded by the Walker Trust and most recently the Edinburgh and Lothian Health Foundation.

Yoga Therapy

We currently run two yoga therapy classes for the inpatients at State Hospital and are also in the process of organising classes in several prisons in Scotland.