Brighton Yoga Foundation Trustee Hannah Lee Weller honoured as Community Champion during COVID-19 Pandemic.
In response to a call-out from Councillor Alexandra Phillips, Mayor of Brighton & Hove, local residents have nominated over a hundred Community Champions who have been honoured for going above and beyond in their efforts to support their community during the Covid-19 crisis.
Nominations came in support of a huge variety of people, including teachers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, shopkeepers and a large number of local volunteers.
BYF Trustee and Community Outreach lead Hannah Lee-Weller is truly deserving of this title, volunteering many hours of her time to lead our free therapeutic yoga programme.
The aim of the programme is to reach the most vulnerable people in the community who might not be in the right headspace to visit a studio or can’t afford to attend yoga classes but could hugely benefit from the positive mental and physical effects of practicing yoga. This includes women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence, people affected by cancer, mental health challenges, substance misuse, and chronic illness.
When the COVID-19 lockdown began in March, it was Hannah’s mission to keep supporting our community through the yoga outreach programme in a time when people might need it the most, Hannah said:
‘We were really sad to have to close down our yoga outreach programme with very little notice in March. We were running 6 successful classes, and supporting up to 50 women a week, with various sessions of therapeutic and trauma informed yoga. Therefore, it was our top priority to provide some sort of online alternative to our attendees as quickly as possible, so our support could continue. We aim to provide not only the direct benefits of yoga, such as improved flexibility, ease of breath and calm mind, but also be a source of friendship, support and structure within the week. For many of our participants this is just as important as the physical yoga itself. ‘
The classes taught by Hannah and our team are therapeutic yoga, which is a gentle, mindful, practice where participants are guided through movement, stretches, breath awareness and finishing with a guided relaxation.
One of the key aims of the classes is to create a sense of safety, Hannah and the team look to create a space where the participants can step onto their mat and use yoga as a tool to reconnect to their body and mind so one day they may feel safe living in them.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, one attendee shared their story:
‘The BYF online yoga practice leaves me feeling peaceful, calm, energised, grounded and expanded. A wonderful silence echoes through my being, I am free. ‘
On receiving the COVID-19 Community Champion award Hannah said:
‘I am really delighted to have been nominated for the community champion award. Our yoga outreach work is a group effort, by not only all of us at the Brighton Yoga Foundation, but also the many participants who engage with and donate to our work. I feel very proud of the work we have done to bring yoga and meditation to those who can really benefit from it, through these troubled times.We look forward to continuing, and reaching as many people as possible.’
If you know of anyone who may benefit from joining our free therapeutic yoga classes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.