Over recent years, there has been increasing clinical research that supports the claims that yoga can be extremely beneficial for both physical and mental health.

In the last year, there have been major developments around yoga within the National Health Service – including:

  • NHS England has called for yoga to be made available for all NHS staff;
  • In February 2019 there was a watershed conference organised by the Minded Institute on Yoga in Healthcare;
  • Duncan Selbie, Head of Public Health England, said he intended every GP to have the facility for social prescribing by late summer 2019 with which they could prescribe yoga (amongst other well-being activities).

Working proactively with these developments in the NHS, the BYF, in partnership with Om Retreats, is developing and delivering therapeutic yoga courses in the community, in line with the NHS social prescribing guidelines.

We now run a 10-week therapeutic yoga course, available via referrals from GPs, clinicians and link workers in the NHS.

This specialist course will offer participants 10 x 2- hour sessions, with onward signposting to other suitable yoga in the community once the course comes to an end. We will be actively welcoming the populations that are regularly excluded from general yoga sessions, often because of poor physical or mental health, underlying trauma, social isolation, or financial barriers.

The content of the course has been co-created by:

  • experienced yoga teachers with yoga therapy and trauma-informed training;
  • former class participants who have been affected by the issues we seek to address;
  • psychotherapists with specialist experience in trauma-informed work;
  • social workers with experience working with the client groups our course will reach;
  • input from the referral partners and charities with which we work.

It was crucial to us that the content be co-created with the participation of all these stakeholder groups – in order to devise a course that has the input of not only the “experts”, but also of the attendees it is meant for. They are ultimately the real experts and share with us the effect that yoga has on their own experiences of vulnerability, trauma and survival.

From this core foundation course – we are developing adaptations for specific settings, including:

  • An onsite 6-week yoga programme for residents of Millview mental health hospital
  • A shorter 6 - week yoga programme participants unable to commit to the full length version
  • A specific, therapeutic yoga programme for essential NHS and care home workers who have been affected physically and emotionally by their work within the Covid-19 situation

If you would like more information, to make a referral or request a course at your healthcare setting, please get in touch with Laurie Cooper at BYF: