The Give Back Yoga Foundation has a proud history.
For the past twelve years, we have provided high quality yoga programmes to people in prisons, hospitals, and mental health centers. We have trained over ten thousand yoga teachers and healthcare workers, provided resources in forty-six U.S. states and nineteen countries, awarded more than $400,000 in grants, and distributed more than 20,000 mats to kickstart programmes in communities where there are barriers to access health services. It is from this strong foundation that we plan to grow.
The mental and physical health crisis we face as a society is unprecedented, with increasing pressure on government health services to meet these needs. People are coping with more complex health and social care problems than experienced by previous generations. And all this comes at a time when the National Healthcare System (NHS) is facing significant financial pressure. Knowing the extent of these challenges, we believe we must use our knowledge, expertise and resources to help more people and reduce the burden on the healthcare system. A growing body of research suggests yoga can shorten treatment time, prevent relapse, and improve health outcomes for a number of chronic physical and mental health challenges.
This year, our board approved an initiative to expand operations to the United Kingdom. This initiative will be spearheaded by UK Operations Director, Chelsea Roff, who founded and has served as a Senior Programme Director for our Eat Breathe Thrive programme for the past five years. Ms. Roff will continue in her role as Senior Program Director, as well as her new role as UK Operations Director. Over the next year, we will incorporate the Give Back Yoga Foundation as a registered charity in the UK and rollout our existing evidence-based yoga programmes for individuals facing cancer, addiction, eating disorders, and mental health challenges.
Our three-year strategic plan is ambitious, innovative, and informed by over a decade of work in forty-six US states and nineteen countries. During this period we intend to establish our existing programmes (for addiction, cancer, eating disorders, and trauma) in the UK; support and rollout new programmes for beneficiary populations; train at least 3,000 yoga teachers and healthcare workers; grow our granting capacity; invest in research; support the development of health policy across the UK; and grow our infrastructure so we can deliver supplies to communities with barriers to access.
But we can’t do it all ourselves. We intend to work in partnership with existing civic and government organizations across the United Kingdom — such as Edinburgh Community Yoga and the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance — as well as clinical commissioning groups and local authorities in the NHS, to achieve these goals. We will nurture and grow these partnerships for the benefit of the populations we serve. We will also work in collaboration with universities and academic institutions to invest in and disseminate research on the benefits of yoga for beneficiary populations.
There is still a great deal that needs to be done; we want to make an even greater contribution to this work in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. We are grateful to those who have supported The Give Back Yoga Foundation over the years and look forward to working together to make this vision a reality.