Health professionals and academic researchers are working with the yoga community including local and national Yoga teachers to offer yoga in GP surgeries, hospitals libraries, council offices, and schools on International Yoga Day (Friday 21st June).
The Lancashire wide celebration of yoga is the inspiration of Dr Sakthi Kurananithi, Director of Public Health, Lancashire County Council who has practiced yoga since his childhood. He said:
“Yoga has moved from the margins to the mainstream in our society. It can be a very effective way to maintain and improve our health and wellbeing, and it has a range of proven health benefits. A movement of health professionals and yoga teachers are working together under the banner of #yoga4all and we are encouraging health professionals to promote yoga as a social prescribing activity and local people to give yoga a go to experience how beneficial it can be while being a gentle and relatively easy thing to do.”
Not only is the local partnership promoting yoga backed by science and research but there is now an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which is considering the health and wellbeing benefits of yoga and its potential as a social prescription on the NHS.
People can find local yoga classes easily and we are encouraging residents to contact local yoga teachers and have a go at yoga in a class. For those who cannot get to a class with have joined forces with the Minded Institute to offer some videos of simple yet effective yoga practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mods678eAVM
The aim of the #yoga4all group is to support yoga as a relevant health and wellbeing practice. To do this the group will be raising awareness of the relevance of yoga in today’s society, advocating for Yoga related policy and practice; advancing the research and development of Yoga in human society; and helping to make yoga accessible and affordable to all.
Emma Lowther-Wright, Preston based yoga teacher and owner of the Mandala Yoga Centre, Preston said: “Yoga really is for everyone, whether we are looking for physical or mental strength, balance or flexibility; or to cultivate a calm body and mind. Yoga can improve balance, strength and flexibility to support our muscles and joints and improve our ability to breath fully, slowly and consciously to reduce anxiety and improve cardiovascular health, mood state and digestion.
“All of us associated with Yoga4All want to share this knowledge that this simple practice can be so effective at supporting physical and mental health. We want to see yoga being socially prescribed by Drs, taught in schools, colleges & universities and made available in prisons.”
Dr Rakesh Sharma, Hyndburn GP and GP lead for mental health in Pennine Lancashire said: “Good mental health goes hand in hand with good physical health. Yoga is a powerful way to combine this. It can help people feel calm and relaxed while at the same time it can help people to be physically fit and flexible in a gentle way. As well as the physical exercises, relaxation and meditation practices can help people to manage stress and anxiety and can be a gentle way of building personal resilience and the ability to cope with things.”
During the next 12 months, the #yoga4all group will be running various #Yoga4all events and workshops.
On the 21st of June, which is International Yoga Day, yoga teachers in Lancashire will be providing free taster yoga sessions in GP surgeries, hospitals libraries, council offices, and schools. In addition, yoga classes are being provided to health staff at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospitals, as well as at the Acorn Health Centre, Accrington.
The British Wheel of Yoga has a yoga class finder if you are looking for classes in your area: https://www.bwy.org.uk/find-a-yoga-class/ or on the Independent Yoga Network, you can locate teachers in your area: https://www.independentyoganetwork.org/teachers