Why Are We Fundraising?

Did you know that, as a registered charity, our year-round core aim is to bring more people to yoga, particularly those who have barriers to access it. These barries might include cost, location and lack of knowledge on the different yoga approaches.

Brighton Yoga Foundation has been running since 2016, and has three main strands of work, including: running the annual yoga festival, co-ordinating and delivering outreach activity and grant-giving. In the last year, the Foundation has set up and funded projects for:

Feedback received from participants so far has been overwhelmingly positive, proof that classes make a real difference to the attendees. After their classes at Threshold Women’s Services, participants said they felt: “relaxed, more confident… and much better than when they first came in…”.

We want to continue doing good work.

If you have ever done yoga before, you will know the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of it. Bringing this experience to the people that need it most is our primary mission for existing. As it stands, we are the only body in the UK to do what we do.

We are committed to continuing our work, with potential projects lined up with MIND, Lewes Prison and the young LGBTQ community. Every penny raised at the annual Brighton Yoga Festival and from your generous donations via our Chuffed crowdfunder go toward making future outreach projects happen. Can you help?  

Visit our ONLINE crowdfunding campaign and donate NOW (we have extended the deadline until the end of August) + claim some fab rewards from: The Float Spa, Studio io, About Balance, Unity and Chant Malas + a chance to win a luxury retreat in India.

Become a regular donar, find out how here. 

Or, if you want to become more involved, contact us to become a partner or patron of the charity.


Partner Feature: Om Retreats

Om Retreats is Brighton’s unique, non-profit yoga retreat company. It was set up in 2016 by two friends and yoga teachers, Hannah Lee Weller and Charlie Griffin. They had the vision of offering inspiring and nourishing yoga retreats for paying customers, and using the profits to bring free-of-charge yoga to charity partners and vulnerable groups. Now, two years on and lots of retreats later, things have flourished beyond their expectations!

Om Retreats founder Hannah Lee Weller has recently joined the board of trustees at Brighton Yoga Foundation. It seemed the perfect fit to partner together, based on the shared purpose of both organisations to bring yoga to the wider community, and particularly to those least able to access it. Hannah will be helping and guiding on many aspects of the BYF’s work, with particular focus on the community and outreach work.

More about Om Retreats

Om Retreats hold their weekend and day retreats in a variety of beautiful locations around the South East, from converted barns, to Georgian houses and incredible yurts. They choose their locations to give clients a breath of fresh air from the city, and time and space to really connect with nature. The yoga programmes on offer are always varied and full, with the opportunity to explore Vinyasa, Hatha, Restorative and Yin yoga, along with meditation and breath work. Their ethos is warm and encouraging, so yogis of all abilities are made to feel welcome. There is plenty of advice available for beginners, and additional challenge available for the more experienced students.

Om Retreats work with a variety of groups including people affected by cancer, domestic violence and sexual abuse, to offer them yoga classes, workshops and retreats free of charge. Charities they work alongside include Macmillan, Rise and Survivors Network, as well as schools and refugee organisations. To date Om Retreats have taken groups from these charities to various locations in the countryside for day and weekend retreats, as well as going into their venues to deliver classes and workshops.



Support our crowdfunder – Help us take yoga to those who need it most!

If you are reading this, you will know the fantastic benefits of yoga – physically, mentally and spiritually. Brighton Yoga Foundation is on a mission to bring this joy to the wider communities through a range of community outreach programmes

Alone, we can only go so far. We need your help to make a bigger impact, to reach more people, and to heal whole communities through the power of yoga. That’s why we have launched our first ever Crowdfunding campaign through Chuffed.org.

We’re aiming to raise £10,000 to put the Foundation on a proper footing for the future – with an office and part-time organiser who will fundraise, organise our outreach work, and help to grow our annual yoga festival.

Groups and communities we’ve supported so far include:

  • Teenagers in East Brighton
  • LGBT young people
  • Women recovering from stress or abuse
  • The elderly and young children
  • School children

We also have plans for similar projects in mental health and in prisons.

Sarah Pailthorpe, yoga teacher at Threshold Women’s Services, one of the initiatives we’ve funded this year, told us:

“All the women who come [to the classes] say it makes them feel better… Some come in and they feel quite anxious, some people say they feel quite desperate when they wake up, they have some problems with anxiety and depression and when they leave they feel relaxed, more confident…they go out feeling much better than when they came in.”

Caroline Vitta, from Trust for Developing Communities, who runs our yoga for teenagers projst told us one participant commented: “It was a great way to relieve stress especially after school. It calms you down and makes you think of all the good things in life that we don’t always appreciate.”

There’s still so much more we can do, so many more people whose lives can be improved through yoga. More resources are crucial for us to develop and expand, and we need you to take our mission further.

Everyone that donates £5 or more will be entered into our exclusive prize draw for some fantastic yoga prizes, including a luxury yoga retreat to India. You can find out more about the rewards are on offer via our Chuffed Campaign page.

Help give the gift of yoga to those who most need it by supporting our fundraiser campaign.

Donate today

And please share the link on Facebook and tell your friends about the campaign.

Festival Feature: The Float Spa

What makes The Float Spa an award-winning health and wellbeing centre in Hove isn’t just the fact they offer floatation, yoga, massage, chiropractic care, nutrition advice and a whole host of different workshops under one roof, it’s their outstanding customer service and serene, friendly atmosphere.

Whether you visit for a float in one of their state of the art pods, have an appointment with a chiropractor, relax with a massage or a stimulating yoga class, you’ll leave feeling better and less stressed. All the staff at The Float Spa are committed to helping their guests have a relaxing, enjoyable time. From July, another option offered to clients for deep relaxation and relief from musculoskeletal pain, will be a session in their brand new state-of-the-art infrared sauna. The sauna is a private booth where you can totally relax- with an option to connect your phone via Bluetooth to listen to relaxing music, and a choice of seven different light colours, providing light therapy.

The Float Spa have played a fundamental role in the development of Brighton Yoga Foundation and Festival over the last few years, with Camille (founder of The Float Spa) giving her time as one of the Trustees of the Foundation and in sponsorship of the Festival. This year, The Float Spa’s highly experienced teachers will be offering a range of classes all aimed at beginners, these teachers include: Sarah Williams, Rosie Iles-Jonas, Andy Butterfield, Lewis Hatchett, Brydie Rowan, Bella Somerville.

The Float Spa are based at: 8 Third Ave, Hove BN3 2PX.

Book a float experience, massage and see the yoga schedule and more: www.thefloatspa.co.uk

Live Life Well….

Festival Feature: Kristina Karitinou-Ireland

Interviewed by author Peter Guttridge, we are overjoyed that Kristina Karitinou-Ireland will be joining us at this year’s festival. The talk will explore the history of yoga in our city and Derek’s legacy.

Derek Ireland was a hugely charismatic and influential Ashtanga Yoga teacher. Born in Brighton, he played football for the Albion, was the Sex Pistols’ roadie and was one of the first students of Sri K Pattabhi Jois. He is considered one of the most important yoga teachers of our era, succeeding in spreading the Ashtanga method in Europe. Tragically, he died of cancer 20 years ago this September.

Kristina’s work is a continuation of Derek’s teaching principles and techniques, a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher, she has been teaching through the tradition of Sri K Pattabhi Jois since 1991. The last years she has been actively involved in the practice of Zen chanting and sitting under the guidance of Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim. She teaches the Primary, Intermediate and Advanced Sequence and she offers classes, workshops, retreats and TTCs all year round in Greece, Europe and Asia.

You can read more about Kristina and her work here: www.yogapractice.gr

Catch Kirstina’s talk on Saturday 14 July, midday at this year’s festival.

Festival Feature: Cosmic Kids Yoga

We’re super excited that Cosmic Kids Yoga will be joining us at the Festival this year. The biggest kids yoga channel on YouTube, Cosmic Kids is driven by the enthusiasm of Jaime, who has achieved more than 50 million views on her videos, telling engaging, interactive ‘yoga adventure’ stories that get kids doing yoga. Jaime makes yoga fun for kids – and has helped millions with their self-regulation, balance and confidence.

Jaime is also a leader in online kids yoga teacher training with 20,000 people having taken her kids yoga crash course and more than 1000 certified Cosmic Kids teachers teaching kids yoga professionally around the world.

Cosmic Kids will be hosting a very exciting session of ‘Star Wars Yoga’ – one of the most popular Cosmic Kids adventures on the channel, re-creating Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope in yoga! And the hugely popular Squish the Fish will be making an appearance taking us on another yoga adventure, as well as a meet and greet.

Take a look at Cosmic Kids online: www.cosmickids.com

Festival Feature: About Balance

About Balance is a low-cost, fair trade, well-being centre, that aims to make the wellness industry affordable and accessible for all.

It all began when Effie Love (the founder) was working as an acupuncturist in Brighton, she quickly realised that the cost of her treatments were not easily affordable and accessible to everyone. Knowing this, she was driven to create a space that offered treatments, yoga and well-being services for all, as well as making sure teachers and therapists could make a living! Part of About Balance’s success has come down to their unique ‘Karma Card’ initiative, which works as a clever membership scheme, giving you a hefty discount off classes and therapies, and unlike a gym membership, you don’t have to be locked into a contract, with a choice to pay month by month if desired.

We spoke briefly with Effie ahead of the upcoming Yoga Festival…

How did you hear about Brighton Yoga Festival?

About Balance and Brighton Yoga Festival are actually exactly the same age! We were one of the original organisers of the festival,  setting up About Balance alongside getting the festival going! We had a stand at the festival even before we were open, so we feel a strong connection to it! About Balance has come along way since then, 4 years down the line we have a bigger venue, a shop that support local producers and 2 floatation tanks. We feel very blessed!

How you will be involved in the Festival this year?

We will be sponsoring one of the main areas, as well as giving away 20 yearly Karma cards to big donators (sharing the love and all that!). We will also be teaching 3 yoga classes, have a retail stall and I’ll will be giving a talk about ‘The value of yoga and accessibility’ with the ‘Joyful Web’.

Why is it important for everyone to experience yoga?
Yoga is like coming home. Yoga is the place where you are fully awake and fully absorbed. You learn this through the asana practice, but if you are lucky, you will take the tools that you learned there and take them off the Mat. The reason Patanjali gave Asana such an important part in the 8 limbs is because what you can learn on the mat by following your breath and movement, you can take to your life off the mat to get closer samadhi- full absorption. Like Jim Terran (of Vajrasati yoga) once put it so beautifully- it’s like when you are smelling a rose, and the scent is so beautiful, you are fully absorbed, there’s nothing else in the universe bar you and that rose in that moment. This is yoga for me.  Oh yes and it makes you flexible and beach body ready! 😀
About Balance is based at 20-22 Gloucester Pl, Brighton BN1 4AA 

Find out more and check out their daily schedule here: www.aboutbalancebrighton.com


Festival Feature – Chant Malas

Helen Forester –  Founder and Creatrix

Helen is a mum of two small humans and began creating mala beads in 2014, around the birth of her first child, when she become more immersed in her own japa meditation (meditation using a mantra and a set of mala beads to keep count) practice as she prepared for her first birthing experience. Helen lives her life by the moon and is inspired by the goddesses of the world. Both of these things heavily influence her work and craft. Helen is passionate about honouring the roots of mala beads and, for her, the mantra and the mala are inseparable.

Helen is a passionate advocate of working with charities and businesses run by women, supporting women in India and the UK, and is currently working with Ashadeep, a mental health NGO in India supporting women with mental health challenges and learning difficulties.

All of the mala bags that Helen uses to house her designs are created from field to final product by the women living at the women and she is very excited to be introducing a range of meditation cushions made by the women later this year. All products purchased are not-for-proift, ensuring that the women are fully reimbursed for their time and energies.

This year, Helen is sponsoring the retail zone at the Festival, and thrilled to be supporting the Foundation’s community work, as this is something that runs very close to her heart. Be sure to pop by Helen’s stall at the festival or come to one of her talks and guided meditations and say hello!

Helen will discuss why 108 is an important number in yoga and do a guided visualisation using mantra. She will also be running two yoga classes full of stories and laughter for children and also run a yoga for Teens class.

Visit: chantmalas.co.uk


Festival Feature: Ram Vakkalanka

Ram Vakkalanka was born and brought up in India, steeped in the Yogic tradition. He studied Sankskrit language, Yogic philosophy and Nada Yoga since childhood. Based in Toronto, Ram travels all over the world sharing his deep knowledge of Yogic philosophy, Sanskrit and Nada Yoga. So far, 22 CDs in three languages, one DVD as well as an online video course about the origin and evolution of Yoga of his works have been released, as well as appearing on Radio and TV.

Ram will be presenting three sessions over the Festival Weekend, including a Nada Yoga workshop (a guided meditation on the Chakras to the accompaniment of live Sitar), leading the Saturday Kirtan and taking us through the sacred texts of Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras on Sunday.

For more about Ram, please visit www.aksharayoga.com

Festival Feature: Be-Yoga

Be-yoga in Haywards Heath is a dedicated space for the community to develop and deepen their yoga practice. Their mission is to provide ‘Yoga for Everyone’. The team are passionate about the benefits of Yoga and have classes for all abilities, ages and levels of fitness.

The studio has a full schedule of classes including; Dynamic Vinyasa Flow, Nidra, Restorative, Yin, Yin-Yang, Gentle Hatha, Warm Yoga, Yoga for Over 55s, Yoga for Teens and Children’s Yoga. They also have a number of hot yoga classes (all hot yoga classes are Hatha yoga), with most of these held in a heated room – about 32 degrees! With hot yoga, the body responds better to stretching as the warmth gently increases our natural flexibility and the heat helps us to relax. If you’re not very bendy – hot yoga is for you!

Be-yoga believe yoga is for all, so whether you’re an experienced Yogi or brand new to yoga, whatever your age or experience, this studio will provide a warm welcome!

Find out more here: http://www.be-yoga.uk.com

You can find Be-yoga in the Children’s area at the Festival this year, their teachers will be holding a number of classes throughout the weekend.