A new social enterprise has announced plans to pilot an ambitious new project which brings together community activism with yoga and meditation as part of a plan to tackle the growing problem of loneliness. Peace Yoga Foundation will launch its pilot project in Essex but hopes to roll out nationwide after being inspired by the work of the late Jo Cox, MP.
Research has found that Britain has a serious problem with loneliness with more than nine million people often or always tackling feelings of loneliness according to a 2017 report published by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
“When people are feeling lonely, depressed, sad, or broken they reach for pills, drugs, or drink to eliminate their feelings of loneliness and isolation if they have no alternatives available,” explains co-founder Shah Badyari.
“Our goal with Peace Yoga Foundation is to offer hope in our community and support those who experience loneliness, depression, anxiety and social exclusion, so that we can promote health, well-being, and inclusion within our community.”
The Foundation will offer free and low-cost yoga and mindfulness classes with the objective of bringing people together and creating participation and learning opportunities in therapeutic horticulture, which focuses on conservation and gardening activities to promote mental and physical well-being. The Foundation will work to particularly assist those communities and individuals who might not otherwise have ready access to these activities for reasons such as affordability, physical ability and social isolation.
In Britain, loneliness and isolation is considered a threat to social services. The government has created a Minister for Loneliness, a role currently being performed by MP Mims Davies to continue Jo Cox’s work. In October, Prime Minister, Teresa May set out the very first government loneliness strategy, noting that it was one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. The strategy will see GPs able to refer patients suffering from loneliness to community activities and voluntary services within the next four years.
“We want to confront the challenge of loneliness and social isolation and roll out a pilot scheme starting with our community in Essex,” says Shah Badyari, “and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the young, by the elderly, by carers, and by those who have lost loved ones.”
The Peace Yoga Foundation is investing in social yoga and mindfulness activities, and will make yoga accessible to all. It will unite the local community through classes, mindfulness and therapeutic horticulture programs. Each specialist yoga session is designed to include some social time after class where participants can share ideas and food and come together to help build community spirit.
“Yoga is not just a form of exercise, it is a multi-dimensional holistic practice which works on all four areas of our being; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The practice can be very beneficial and effective in so many ways and can play a huge part in stabilising a person’s mental emotional and physical wellbeing,” says Shah Badyari
The Foundation is currently crowdfunding to get its pilot program in Essex off the ground.
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To show your support for this project, donate at https://www.spacehive.com/yoga-for-active-hope