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 Year 7 (year to 30th April 2022) Edinburgh Community Yoga ran an average of 13 projects per month. Projects vary in terms of length and duration. We have taught 537 outreach classes and one outreach retreat over the year. Our average attendance per class was 5.5 attendees, with 2,981 people attending over the year. Please note this figure is not ‘unique’ attendees. Some of our projects host weekly classes where a number of individuals attend on a frequent or semi-frequent basis.

We are delighted to have worked with over 30 partner organisations including: 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 – We work with too many organisations to detail each programme. Below is information and feedback from a selection of programmes running in Year 7.

Beacon Club |The Beacon Club offers a safe space for older people with mild cognitive impairment to mild dementia. We have recently finished a pilot, funded by the University of Edinburgh Local to offer a chair-based yoga programme to attendees at the Beacon Club. We ran four classes a week over several weeks taught by Hannah King, ECY Teacher and Thara Wicramsinghe, ECY Teacher. We are have secured funding from Comic Relief to continue these classes in Year 8.

Saheliya | Saheliya is a specialist mental health and well-being support organisation for black, minority ethnic, asylum seeker, refugee and migrant women and girls (12+) in the Edinburgh and Glasgow area. Initially this project was funded from Awards for All Scotland-The National Lottery. This class was taught by Naomi Schogler, ECY Teacher, supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Edinburgh came to an end in December 2019. After a brief hiatus through the beginning of lockdown we were able to continue to support this class to run with our own funds until December 2020. Fierce Calm then offered us 12 months of funding.

OURMALA have been able to commit to funding this programme through 2022 allowing us to continue this project and support the women who attend.

Steps to Hope | 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, ECY Teacher and Project Worker and supported by Rachel Kelly, ECY Teacher. These classes successfully moved online during the pandemic and re-started again in-person at Beetroot Wellness in July 2021. We are continuing to support the people who attend in their recovery journey with Steps to Hope.

WomanZone by Foursqaure |WomanZone is a community of women in recovery supporting other women in recovery. Our yoga project supporting women affected by trauma and in recovery from addiction with Womenzone reaches the end of its third year in August 2022. This project was funded for 3 years by the Volant Charitable Trust. We are delighted that these classes have been re-established face-to-face at Santosa with Hannah King, ECY Teacher. We were able to run our weekend retreat in the wonderful surroundings of Eastwood House in Dunkeld women space to be in nature, practice yoga and cook food together – building relationships, sharing laughter and spending time away from daily stresses and strains

Connecting Craigmillar ECY Social Prescribing Project | Connecting Craigmillar is a community development project, supported by Link Up (Inspiring Scotland) and The Thistle Foundation. Connecting Craigmillar works to enable opportunities for local people to meet, have fun, learn together, form new friendships, and develop lasting positive change together. We are currently funding, with support from Wesleyan Foundation, a weekly Yoga for Health class, which is free to attendees. This class is taught by John Arthur, ECY Teacher and Project Worker and supported by Jennifer Opara, ECY Teacher.

In Partnership with Craigmillar and Niddrie Health Centre and supported by Scottish Government Grant funding for mental health and wellbeing TSI (third sector interface) we are set to expand our existing classes in Craigmillar to include a chair-based yoga class for people with limited mobility and a class for asylum seekers and refugees in the area who experience social isolation.

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.