OUTREACH PROGRAMMES

Are you a Third Sector organisation (Charity, Voluntary or Community Organisation, Social Enterprise, CIC) looking for more information on how to set up a Yoga Programme with us? ECY is committed to spreading the benefits of yoga within our community.

Our Outreach Director, Lorraine Close believes that the opportunity to try yoga should be accessible to everyone. Lorraine can work with you to find the right fit for your organisation and attendees and assist with any queries in relation to funding and funding applications.

Please email us on: admin@edinburghcommunityyoga.co.uk with any enquires.

The Edinburgh Community Yoga Yoga Outreach Projects 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, flexible people 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.

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 support organisations. You can read more about our outreach work below.

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.

What can we offer

Trauma Informed Yoga | Our trauma informed program includes work in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, womens’ groups and veterans. Our approach aims to empower individuals, and to engage in an activity that supports the development of safe and supportive relationships. More information HERE

Addiction Recovery Projects | Through a combination of activating, deeply relaxing and contemplative practices we can help individuals to re-balance neurologically and prepare them to be in a receptive place to work with other recovery professionals in lifestyle therapy. More information HERE

Older Adults | Our focus is on meditation, breath work and gentle strengthening and stretching exercises to support postural adjustments, and develop a sense of confidence, freedom and balance in body and mind.  More information HERE

NHS Staff Wellbeing Projects | We work with NHS staff across the city to develop self care strategies based on yoga and mindfulness to assist in the management of stress at work. More information HERE

Public Outreach Projects | In our aim to make yoga as inclusive and accessible as possible we offer public community classes in venues across the city. Chair yoga for people who may wish to work a little more gently, Women’s Trauma Informed, Yoga For Neurodivergent Folk and also classes for people in recovery from addictions are all a part of our weekly timetable. More information HERE

A Summary of our Work

Pre pandemic we ran 22 face to face community outreach yoga programmes in Edinburgh and Lothian.  We reached an average of 190 outreach students per month.

Our Outreach Projects

In our 7th Year (from 1st May 2021 to date) we have been fortunate to work with some amazing organisations including Change Grow Live, Connecting Craigmillar (ECY Social Prescribing Project), Health All Round, Families Outside, Keymoves, Borders General Hospital, PCHP, Royal Edinburgh Hospital (Self Harm Service – Adults), Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, Salvation Army, SCOREScotland, Space and Broomhouse HUB and the below:

B Healthy Together | Weekly Chair Yoga | B Healthy Together are a community-led health project in South West Edinburgh. Their aim is to improve health and well-being within the communities by providing a variety of social health activities.

Saheliya | Weekly Mat Based Yoga | In December 2019 the funding from Awards for All Scotland – The National Lottery came to an end for our project with Saheliya, supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Edinburgh. After a brief hiatus at the beginning of lockdown we were able to continue to support this class with our own funds until December 2020 when our partners Fierce Calm offered us 12 months of funding for this weekly class. As classes are currently online we have been able to extend our offering to service users in Glasgow.

Steps to Hope | Mat Based Yoga | Steps to Hope SCIO is a non-profit charity dedicated to caring for the homeless and those suffering with addiction. In March 2020 we partnered with local yoga studio Calm on Canning Street to offer an in person class taught by John Arthur, a recovery coach and ECY yoga teacher, supported by Rachel Kelly. These classes successfully moved online through out the pandemic.  They returned face to face in September 2021 and due to the large number of attendees we moved the venue to Beetroot Sauvage.  The classes are continuing to support the people who attend in their recovery journey with Steps to Hope.

St John’s Hospital (Mental Health Mother and Baby Unit) | Group Classes | As our funding from the Edinburgh and Lothian Health Foundation ended in Year 6 we have been able to continue to fund this weekly class in the Mother and Baby inpatient psychiatric unit. Lorraine has been offering group classes and individual TC-TSY sessions – an evidence based trauma sensitive approach to working with individuals. The Mental Health Mother and Baby unit has six beds and six cots and admits mother and baby together where the child is under one year old. This means that women can receive appropriate care and treatment for their mental illness, while being able to maintain and develop their parenting role and relationship with their infant

The Triple A’s | Online Mat Based Yoga | Our collaboration with Triple A to offer yoga classes for the autistic community was a huge success. We ran three online classes a week over the last year and created a weekly recording for the community to use. The funding for this project ended in June and ECY added this to their weekly timetable of classes.  You can find it on our schedule and book this class for £8, £5 or £1.

WomanZone by Foursqaure | Mat Based Yoga | Our yoga project supporting women affected by trauma and in recovery from addiction with Womenzone reached the end of its second year in August 2021. This project is funded for three years by the Volant Charitable Trust. We successfully moved our weekly yoga classes online during the pandemic thanks to dedication from the Womenzone team and the teacher at the time, Bethany Halcrow. We are continuing to consider ways to support group members further through our mentorship program, though progress on this has been limited due to lockdown restrictions. We are looking forward to running our postponed retreat in early 2022, COVID restrictions depending. With income saved from room hire we were able to offer a wellbeing care package to each woman in the Womanzone programme. These were put together by volunteer Anne Close (Lorraine’s mum) and were really appreciated by the women in the run up to Christmas, after a particularly difficult year. We returned this class face to face early in June this year.

If we provide high quality outreach programmes in non-traditional community settings then more people will have access to the benefits of yoga and their mental and physical health will improve.