Everyday, we use yoga to help refugees and others seeking international protection to improve their mental health. On World Mental Health Day, we take a moment to overview OURMALA’s work in this light.
Fewer people know that we also provide yoga in workplaces and for other groups in London to improve mental health, self-care and resilience, which helps us fund our free classes for refugees.
For example, the NHS recently commissioned us to work with the community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, including survivors and bereaved families. In our workplace yoga programme, clients range from one of London’s largest architectural firms to a small company where a handful of people meet every week for their yoga practice which they love and find so helpful.
All helps us provide our specialist and free yoga programme for refugees and other seeking international protection in the UK. We also refund the cost of travel so there is no financial barrier to participation. Given that most we work with live on £5 a day, this is essential. We also provide volunteering opportunities for people to get more involved and use their skills whilst they seeking asylum and therefore banned from working.
In a recent survey, 93% of participants seeking international protection who took part reported improvements in their mental health, through our yoga programme, and 95% reported a positive change in their confidence and ability to integrate better into society. Major depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, sleep issues and PTSD are common. Repeatedly, we are told how much the yoga helps and independent evaluation of our yoga programme has found it to be highly effective at improving mental health, sleep, confidence, wellbeing and ability to integrate better into the UK as well as physical health.
We also offer training in how to teach yoga most effectively to improve mental health.
If you are interested in commissioning a yoga programme, write to firstname.lastname@example.org