Social enterprise, Edinburgh Community Yoga (ECY), has issued the One-O-Eight Challenge for 108 people to come together – either online or in person – to do 108 yoga salutations on 6 June 2021 and raise at least £108 each.

The target of £12,000 will provide equal access to yoga for anyone who needs it in the next year.

In case you are not a yogi a sun salutation is a sequence of yoga poses and 108 is a sacred number in many traditions which is why they have chosen it.

Laura Wilson, founding director of Edinburgh Community Yoga said: “The pandemic has been so hard on all of us but ECY, like many small not-for-profit social enterprises, has seen a steady decline in income over the last twelve months as our profit-making work, with our public classes, teacher trainings, retreats and workplace wellbeing programs having been severely impacted by the pandemic.

“We’re working harder than ever to continue to run our Outreach Programs and subsidised Public Classes for those who need them – but we can’t continue to do it without the kindness and support of the public.

“Community is at the very core of what we do at Edinburgh Community Yoga. It’s thanks to our wonderful students who have continued to support us by donating or by taking part in online public classes that we’ve been able to support over 300 people to access our Community Outreach Programs this year, and 330 people who have been able to access subsidised or concession rate public yoga classes.

“But despite this, our ability to continue to deliver these Outreach Programs and Public Classes is under threat. That’s why we want to harness the amazing community spirit that has kept us going this past year, to make sure we can still be there for the next year and beyond. 

“Whether you have been practicing yoga for years, or you just discovered it in lockdown, the One-O-Eight Challenge is a fun, easy and inclusive way to come together, even from far, and raise funds through practicing yoga. To make the event as inclusive as possible we’ve developed three versions of the challenge, a traditional sun salutation, a modified version and a chair version too.

“All funds raised will go toward programs to take the therapeutic benefits of yoga to communities in Edinburgh, ensuring access and inclusion, by working across the cultural, economic and health barriers that inhibit people from taking part. Any excess funds will be used to develop our Social Prescribing Program, working with healthcare organisations to support people to access yoga, and continuing our work on scholarship and mentorship programmes for outreach students who want to explore yoga further. 

“This is particularly important as we consider the significant impact on mental health of the last 12 months as a result of social isolation and COVID-19 related anxiety.

“We know that funding yoga programmes gives people the opportunity to improve mental and physical health through the practice of yoga and to take part in enriched and supportive group-based practices that can reduce social isolation and foster connection. So please take part if you can. You will be making such an important difference to the lives of so many.”

One of ECY’s student’s comments on the importance of their work.

“Even though I love yoga so much, taking yoga classes that are not specifically trauma focused has always felt like a bit of a risk. My relationship with my body is not simple and I worried that the practice might unexpectedly trigger my trauma symptoms in a setting that wasn’t really designed to deal with that. But the beautiful thing is that when my worst fear was realised in tonight’s class I was able to draw on all of those weeks of practicing with you and the other women on Thursday nights and all the amazing tools that I have learnt. I can kind of bring my own trauma informed approach to other classes – even zoom classes when I’m 500 miles away from the studio!”

To find out more about Edinburgh Community Yoga and to take part in the One-O-Eight Challenge, visit www.edinburghcommunityyoga.co.uk

Edinburgh Community Yoga Ltd Beetroot Sauvage Wellness Centre, 33-41 Ratcliffe Terrace Edinburgh EH9 1SX Tel 07966502085

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