Edinburgh Community Yoga Outreach, our not for profit social enterprise was born one year ago this month! Springing off a solid foundation of community outreach work developed over the past 5 years by our founder Laura through Edinburgh Community Yoga it has been a year of learning, growing and a lot of hard work. It’s easy to forget where you started and look at what hasn’t been achieved rather than what has; every so often we have to stop and remind each other how far we have come this year.
Not only did Laura bring baby Gracie into the world AND complete a 500 hr yoga therapy training (a pretty amazing achievement in itself); we also expanded our outreach work to many new places and held the Pay it Forward Yoga Festival which brought the yoga community across Edinburgh together to raise over £3600.00(!!!) for ECYO and COMAS. Our termly fundraising yoga classes kicked off working with great organisations and Yoga Studios including Health in Mind, Tribe Yoga and Meadowlark.
We hosted the wonderful Shaura Hall and The Minded Institute’s Yoga and Mindfulness for Addiction Training and were awarded a grant through Community Foundation Spirit of Dumbiedykes Award to run a yoga programme for women. Finally, lululemonathletica Edinburgh kindly chose us as their organisation of the year and have been an invaluable support to us as we have grown.
We have welcomed lots of new teachers on board; Joann, Penny, Mary, Elle, Naomi and Emma are a valuable asset to our team and it is exciting for us to see the breadth and depth of experience, knowledge and desire to get involved in outreach work that our yoga community has and is willing to offer; as a result of this we have been able to start several exciting new outreach projects. We also are slowly beginning to grow a team of volunteers with Isabelle kindly giving her time to support us in seeking grant applications.
Our latest projects include:
- Working with vulnerable teens at HYPE West Lothian,
- Facilitating a MARK programme for people in recovery from addiction at Penumbra Milestone Alcohol Related Brain Damage residential unit in Oxgangs.
- Spirit of Dumbiedykes womens drop in yoga and health promotion/wellbeing class,
- Launching the Healthy Working Lives project, offering yoga at work to NHS staff and proving successful so far
Because of the funds that we have been able to raise from our events and donations we have also been able to offer a workshop for SANDSUK supporting parents who have lost children through stillbirth and neonatal death and an 8 week yoga drop in programme to the NHS Lothian Spittal Street Centre, a Harm Reduction and Drug Treatment Centre that supports people in the early stages of managing a drug or alcohol problem.
The money we raise goes towards funding these type of projects, as well as subsidising organisations who cannot pay the cost of a teacher, and running ECYO in order that this work is possible. It is a constant challenge to do the work that we do with the partner organisations that we work with when funding is scarce and organisations frequently have no budget; it is thanks to the support we have received from the yoga community, the public and our sister organisation Edinburgh Community Yoga which donates 10percent of its profit to ECYO that it has been possible. We are truly grateful for this support. If you are interested in supporting us regularly or as a one off please click here
As we move forward we hope to be able to continue to support organisations working with marginalised groups to help people find improved well-being through the practice of yoga. We look forward to continuing to develop our links with the NHS and to expand our work in the area of PTSD and complex trauma- Lorraine is off to London this month to study Trauma Sensitive Yoga with David Emerson from the Trauma Centre in Boston.
We also hope to increase our research output and aim to work with academics in various fields to develop more evidence base in this work as this is the only way for the therapeutic benefits of yoga to be accepted and utilised by the medical community
If you are interested in conducting a research project with us please contact us.
Finally we are planning to offer a 2 day workshop on ‘The Fundamentals of Yoga Outreach and the Science of Stress’ for teachers interested in Outreach work later in the year. Please contact us if you are interested in attending.
We thank the wonderful yoga teachers, studios, our own teachers, the organisations we work with and the participants who turn up on their mats week in week out despite the most complex of social situations and personal difficulties. The light in us honours the light in each of you !
Lorraine, Laura and Gracie!