WORKING with the COMMUNITY
I have developed an inclusive support package for vulnerable and socially excluded people across Shrewsbury and Telford. This is a Yoga and self empowerment Project using movement and breath control to access the mind in order to gain strength, flexibility, confidence, focus and a better quality of life in this ever changing society we live in.
During 12 years in the Charity Sector my primary role was in Advocacy. I practiced in all disciplines of Advocacy in a range of settings including Community centres, Psychiatric Hospitals, Secure Services (Adult and Children), prisons, group homes and on a 1-1 basis.
IMHA (Independent Mental Health Advocate)
IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocate)
Care Act Advocate
Forensic & Secure Services Advocate
After 10 years working alongside individuals I managed the Contracts with Commissioners for these services on the South Coast of England. In 2013 the research learning continued around South East Asia, Australia and India where the most recent years were spent training student yoga teachers on 200 hour Teacher training programmes; during this time I was fortunate to learn, train, understand and participate in many tools and practices, which have been a huge contribution to this project.
Yoga and Empowerment Project in Action
My mission is to support the whole person, not just sections of their life.
There are no charges to the individual for this work and the Advocacy empowerment support is currently being provided for free, in order to measure outcomes and evidence the work formally.
Any vulnerable people can access the service including; Learning disability, Physical disability, mental health disorder, Trauma survivors, PTSD, Brain injury, Sex abuse survivors, literally anyone who feels vulnerable, socially excluded and disempowered.
Yoga and Empowerment Project who has agreed to take part in a case study to evidence the outcomes achieved from this support. This volunteer is currently homeless, abuses alcohol and has experienced family break down and poverty since COVID 19.
The Funds already provided by Energize have enabled me to offer completely free yoga sessions with added empowerment and support tailored to each individual.
A brief example: P is a 40 year old man who has worked all his life as a Chef. During the Lockdown and the COVID 19 Pandemic (August 2020) P lost his job. Due to having no job he also lost his home and started to rely on alcohol to get him through the day. P's relationship broke down and over the months P was unable to function day to day. This resulted in P having no contact with his young daughter and partner. P did not know where to turn and had nobody to listen to him. He continued to abuse alcohol and eventually ended up in hospital with serious health problems related to his diabetes and his lifestyle. P continued to struggle and by last month was sleeping on the streets in poor physical and mental health, no money, and no support.
Once arriving at the Prince Rupert P realized there were people who wanted to listen to him, and hear about his thoughts, wishes and feelings. People who wanted to support him to be healthy and happy. To empower him to make informed life choices and to carry out those choices in a way that he can maintain.
After 3 weeks of supporting P:
P is able to perform and practice Yoga Asana and has developed insight and clarity around the functions of his own body (through specific movement created based on needs)
P is able to recognise repetitive unhelpful thought patterns- (Teachings of philosophy and breathing control)
P realises that moving his body is having a significant effect on his health and wellbeing- in just 3 weeks!
Pete feels calmer, more focused and ready to take authority of his life.
P has now registered with Telford and Wrekin Housing (Goal setting and achieving!)
P has started a new job.
As you can see from the list above there have been significant changes made in a short space of time, It is important to note that Yoga has played a huge role -particularly due to the individualised empowerment and support work it
For 12 years I acted as a voice for a range of vulnerable groups including those with Profound learning disability and challenging behaviour, substance misuse, alcoholism, mental health disorder, PTSD,
Working together to develop self awareness and insight into personal circumstances. Using movement (yoga) and specific breathing techniques (pranayama) as a tool to access the mind. This is a dynamic form of meditation, which allows the mind to quieten,
in order to access more clarity and brain function.
Alongside these techniques I use specifically planned sequences to sooth the nervous system, strengthen and lengthen the muscles to support a more balanced state of being.
Bringing together years in empowerment advocacy and a deep knowledge of the practice of yoga, I will support individuals to develop a deeper sense of self, security, self worth in a safe and non judgmental space where they can explore their thoughts and feelings to make more informed choices about their lives.
My mission is to deliver sport and self help as an inclusive package . Working towards a better future in an ever changing society for vulnerable and socially excluded people.
Yoga can be a great confidence builder, enabling people to develop physically and mentally to create more possibilities in other areas and sporting activities.
A great starting point to develop physical agility and strength in addition to all the Mental benefits
Within my role I can provide independent 1-1 support, Sign posting access to services through building relationships in the local community.
My main focus for clients is to support them to regulate their breathing pattern. This is the most important part of the practice of yoga. We will try different types of breathing techniques which help to either lower or increase heart rate, soothe the nervous system and stimulate the endocrine system. Basically using the breath as a tool to access the mind through the body.
The movement (asana) will give the muscles length strength and help with all the above.
The aim is for us to work towards Breath Synchronised Movement in order to avoid unnecessary or repetitive thought, which most of us could do with a break from, however when substance, alcohol, trauma, feelings of being unsafe or unseen are involved then it’s harder to focus the concentration clearly. My role is to hold the space and guide the process so clients can eventually hold attention, focus and take ownership of their thoughts, actions and life.
The Yoga practice will vary week to week, depending on observations of individuals and based on their needs, biology/biography, current situation, future plans etc.
I intend to use the practice of Yoga as a tool for connection, support and empowerment. Not only focusing on Yoga, but relating its teachings to daily life.
It is scientifically proven that Yoga can have a profound effect on our physical and mental state, if used correctly and with individual guidance and support. With my background in Advocacy and empowerment, particularly with vulnerable groups and the socially excluded I feel that this project could be a real life changer for those that engage.
Regarding engagement, I will hold a safe, confidential and open space for all to speak freely, openly and without judgment.
As well as breathing techniques, breath synchronized movement and meditation, I will be offering a short neck/head massage at the end of the session. Along with physical adjustments through the movement practice to ensure correct body alignment, helping to avoid any repetitive unhelpful patterns in movement.