Ourmala: Yoga for social justice
Alternative London, Friday 12 September 2014, by Leah Davies
“Following my heart is how I live my life. Sometimes it’s really easy, and other times it is challenging and terrifying, but by placing my trust in life itself, the most incredible opportunities and experiences have opened-up.”
“And when I can’t hear my heart, I know the most important thing is to get into a position where I can, and then I listen and the answer becomes clear.”
This is Emily Brett, yoga teacher and founder of Ourmala; a small charity in London that helps refugee and asylum-seeking women find strength through yoga. The main group they work with are registered with the UK Home Office to seek refuge in the UK.
I met with Emily at Ourmala’s headquarters, a converted shipping container overlooking the trees, field and pig pen at Hackney City Farm in East London.
Emily has changed the lives of more than 170 refugee and asylum-seeking women living in London since starting-up in 2011. Ourmala now has a waiting list of women wanting to practice yoga and organisations that work with refugees wanting yoga classes at their centres. I wanted to understand her story, motivation and actions behind her grand vision.