...The reality is that even the superheroes need a day off, we all know you can’t pour from an empty cup...
I hope this post finds you healthy in mind and body, and where possible finding ways to connect with community and find soul food as we move through Lockdown 2.0 here in the UK.
Challenging times and circumstances bring out different traits and characteristics in us as a society and as individuals. While many instinctively throw on their superhero capes and step into roles of support, leadership and problem solving, there are many for whom such energy isn’t an option, and with reduced access to resources, routine, and contact with community, mental and physical wellbeing is impacted in a huge way. The reality is that even the superheroes need a day off, we all know you can’t pour from an empty cup, but self care is the thing that gets put on the back burner as we strive for resilience and strength in the face of adversity. While superheroes far and wide search desperately for face masks to match their lycra onsies it is widely accepted that alongside the Covid-19 pandemic we have a global mental health pandemic, as people across the spectrum struggle to find stability and security in a world bereft of such luxuries.
Sadly living in survival mode has long been a way of life for huge sections of the UK population with around 14 million people in poverty, including 8 million working-aged adults, 4 million children and 2 million pensioners¹. As the rest of the nation face their own unique pandemic related challenges I sincerely hope that when the dust has settled we acknowledge the failings of modern economic structures to support our communities, and a thorough review of our systems leads us to a world where equality, distribution of resources and opportunity are more than hashtags and election buzzwords.
On our journey we have been blown away by the amazing organisations and initiatives that are working to create a positive future.
At Flip Your Dog For Mental Health we place raising awareness around mental health and fighting for access to mental health support and resources for all at the heart of what we do. We believe challenging stigmas and making mental health available to all is at the heart of a healthy society. We facilitate open to public and work place yoga, meditation and wellbeing classes that raise funds for targeted outreach work with vulnerable and marginalised people in our communities.
On our journey we have been blown away by the amazing organisations and initiatives that are working to create a positive future. As we grow we are keen to share news and information about the life changing and often pioneering work that inspires us to keep going, and to create a community of shared resources and support.
Mahadevi's therapeutic yoga treatments are open to all families with children with special needs including autism, Down's Syndrome, epilepsy, ADHD, cerebral palsy.
One of the organisations we have come across is the MahaDevi Yoga Centre on Eden Grove, Islington, North London. MahaDevi was founded in 2015 as a social enterprise running therapeutic yoga and regular adult classes from a converted shop space. 5 years later they are now a registered charity and the UK’s only yoga centre specifically for people with additional and complex needs. Profit from regular yoga classes goes towards subsidising sessions with clients at 40% less than the UK average.
Under the guidance of centre founder SriDevi Denisa Nenova Mahadevi work with around 100 families, running 85 one to one sessions per week.
Mahadevi offer use the Yoga for The Special yoga methodology, a pioneering practice developed by world renowned yoga teacher Sonia Sumar that has changed the lives of countless children with special needs around the world. The therapeutic yoga treatments are open to all families with children with special needs including autism, Down's Syndrome, epilepsy, ADHD, cerebral palsy. The ground floor space is accessible to wheelchair users and others with mobility issues. The practice of yoga followed by deep relaxation can significantly help reduce anxiety, irregular emotions, hyper arousal, overactivity as well as a host of proven benefits for the body ranging from increased flexibility to muscle control. There are also many social benefits as young people learn to navigate social situations including money management and independent travel.
With support from Unite Students, MahaDevi Yoga Centre have been able to transfer their full programme online and continued to deliver yoga therapy sessions.
While they have delivered this inspirational and life changing work for 5 years, the team at MahaDevi emphasis that first and foremost the centre is a community hub where everyone is truly equal, irrelevant of age, race, gender, background, sexual orientation, ability or religion. Their mission is not only to teach classical yoga and bring yogic principles to the mainstream, but also to foster community, consciousness and connection with everyone who walks through the door. This approach to community is based on the belief that true societal change doesn’t happen when a handful of people live perfectly, but when a larger group of individuals are willing to make small changes to create a big impact.
COVID lockdown has had a serious impact on families of children with special needs. But with support from Unite Students, MahaDevi Yoga Centre have been able to transfer their full programme online and continued to deliver yoga therapy sessions. Offering two online classes a day Monday to Saturday and working closely with parents, they also check in with families wellbeing in general in the belief that it is vital to support families in the fight against a mental and physical health crisis.
sustainable growth as a charitable organisation that champions the benefits of yoga and meditation, and puts community and humanity at the centre of their ongoing work.
While short term goals are simply to get back to running as a financially stable community hub with something to offer for everyone, longer term plans are to open a second centre in South London.
Having met the team at Mahadevi and taken regular classes there on my return from Australia to the UK back in September 2019 I can wholeheartedly recommend connecting with them. Not only is their yoga divine and their energy amazing, they provide huge inspiration for us at FYD4MH with their model of sustainable growth as a charitable organisation that champions the benefits of yoga and meditation, and puts community and humanity at the centre of their ongoing work.
To find out more about the Mahadevi Yoga Centre use the links below.