‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit meaning to yoke or join together and most of us experience feeling more 'joined up' in body and mind after a good session on the mat. But yoga is about connection in many other ways, especially in the way it introduces us to new communities (I've certainly met many great people through yoga classes and retreats).
It's part of what's behind a yoga event in London this Saturday at 11am that we'll definitely be signing up for. Organised by Lululemon, it features an hour-long class with international yoga teacher Gloria Latham (she normally resides in Greece so this is a rare chance to practice with her) who specialises in Kundalini yoga and is a Lululemon ambassador.
The event introduces yoga fans to the life-changing work of the UK charity Ourmala . All proceeds will go to supporting the organisation, founded by visionary yogi Emily Brett and which helps refugees and asylum seekers - many of whom have experienced torture and sexual violence in conflict - recover from atrocities, allowing them to move on with their lives through access to therapeutic and restorative yoga classes. As well as specialising in yoga for those who have experienced trauma, Emily is also on the board of the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance , a team of experts focused on integrating yoga into the NHS.
It's well known that yoga is a highly effective method for improving physical and mental health, soothing anxiety and depression as well as increasing inner resilience and confidence. Ourmala offers a safe, welcoming space and free therapeutic yoga classes to do just that. It also provides hot meals, donated items such as towels, sanitary products and nappies, and helps people access other support services, such as legal aid, healthcare and housing as well as English lessons.
It’s the chosen UK charity for Lululemon’s social impact programme, Here To Be , launched in September 2016, when it committed to donate $25 million over five years by partnering with best-in-class organisations to make the healing benefits of yoga and meditation accessible to under-served and at-risk communities.
Tickets costs £25 and all proceeds from the event go to the charity.