The British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) is holding its annual Congress this weekend and 2015 marks a special year for the organisation, as it’s their 50th anniversary. BWY is the largest yoga membership organisation in the UK and the national governing body for yoga as recognised by the government’s Sport England. Over the course of the three day Congress there will be practice sessions, lectures and a plenary talk on the evolution of Yoga.
As I scrolled through the session overview section of the Congress site, reading tutor bios, an interesting theme jumped out at me: the number of teachers and experts who offer yoga and yoga related therapies to specific groups – from those recovering from addiction, to ADHD sufferers, children with autism, those with mental health issues, and the homeless. What a wonderful thing, I thought, to share a gift – particularly one rooted in interconnectedness and compassion, as yoga is – with those who could really benefit in their day-to-day lives from the mindfulness and sense of calm it offers. It can serve as a supplement to other forms of treatment with the added benefit of ability for self-practice.
Still, I suspect that these are not the immediate groups that one would come up with if they were asked to think of a yoga class. With the soaring popularity that yoga has seen in recent years and its move to the more main stream, perhaps this is part of the next iteration; realising and serving new communities that can be supported by establishing a yoga practice, as we do at Ourmala with one of the most vulnerable, marginalised and under-represented communities in the UK, refugee and asylum-seeking women.
At June’s BWY London Festival 2015, Ourmala’s founder Emily will be leading a session called Yoga from the heart. On the Saturday evening of the festival, renowned teacher Nikki Slade will be leading a mass kirtan in aid of Ourmala. Click here for details.
By Lynn Begany
Yoga practitioner, Ourmala volunteer