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Yoga for Homeless Young People now considered essential by The Clocktower Sanctuary 

Yoga for Homeless Young People Twisted Lunge

After the success of the 6 week course in November/December 2015, and the popularity with the young people in January 2016, The Clocktower Sanctuary have decided yoga needs to become an integral part of the weekly programme offered by the centre.  This is wonderful news, especially considering funding cut backs in recent times, so this is is quite a statement as to how effective it has been for these young people.  

"Love the feeling after, and enjoy every session I do. It's a really good experience" Anon

Cat is now teaching classes there each week, every Tuesday from 3-4pm, free of charge to anyone who uses their services aged between 16-25 years experiencing either homelessness or in insecure housing.

"If I wasn't here I would be walking to the tent...and stressing" Anon

This obviously means funds are needed to maintain it and it is high priority to keep it ongoing. Sadly there are no guarantees with funding, so your support is hugely valuable to help make this happen.  

Your donations go directly to help these young people learn valuable skills to maintain balance and wellbeing during this turbulent time in their lives. 

Donate Now: http://www.gofundme.com/yogaforhomelessyps

The sessions are themed and offer young people the time to connect to themselves, their bodies and develop practices to overcome low confidence, anxiety and depression, improve body awareness and confidence and tackle negative self talk, as well as providing a positive distraction from other challenges they face.  

"I think it is very 'connecting' by which I mean connecting to myself and learning to trust myself and also other people with all of the different types of yoga we do. I loved the partner yoga and acroyoga - lets do that more!" Anon

Any funds you donate to help support the project go directly towards keeping the premises open, employing an on site youth worker and the yoga teacher to deliver yoga and mindfulness sessions for the young people. They also support the overall administration of the project to ensure feedback is gathered and the space is safe.  

We have had yoga mats generously donated by local people in Brighton that we have collected at our Yoga Raves and other events. We are still in need of some warmer clothes for the winter and any yoga trousers, especially ones that will fit men.  Please only send clothes that are still in good condition that can be worn with pride! Email me if you wish to donate some clothes.  

  • We explore themes such as trust, communication, cultivating self love, keeping cool in hot situations, teamwork, confidence and self esteem during the classes in the context of yoga
  • There are 20 users of this service so far, and we get anything up to 10 in each class
  • More men than women are coming to the class statistically, and keep coming back!
  • All participants have said it is helping them feel calmer, more patient, and improved their body confidence
  • Participants comments include that yoga is having an impact on their lives and that they are experiencing improved patience and calm reactions to stressful situations. It's even boosting their relationships with partners, helping them be more relaxed together. 
  • Breathing techniques to calm the mind, stretching out the whole body and helping focus are being rated as some of the most useful tools.
  • The project is open to drop-ins, and is LGBTQ friendly and targeted to young people aged 16-25 years.

The Clocktower Sanctuary work specifically with young people experiencing homelessness in Brighton.  

"I feel my confidence in my body improving, it's good for my health and also I feel more calm in my mind too. I have been using the breathing exercises when I'm stressed to give me a minute to think." Anon

This project is self-initiated by Nine Lives Yoga and the Clocktower Sanctuary, but we are looking to support these young people into their new lives once they get back on their feet, so please dig deep to support this project:

Donate Now: http://www.gofundme.com/yogaforhomelessyps

Young Homeless Young People Forward bend

"Yoga stretches are really helping my back ache from sleeping on the streets, I'm doing some every morning now" Anon

Changing Behaviour

One of the young people who took part in a 'Dealing with Anger' workshop the following week after their first yoga session with Cat, was going to smoke cannabis as a technique to address anger when the youth worker, Kirstie, reminded him that controlling his breath and busying his hands in a stretch could be a possible alternative...and he leapt on it. The Youth worker reminded him of some of the techniques that were covered in the yoga session Cat did with them and he remembered and was open to using that instead.  This is only one of numerous occasions where yoga tools have been used to help young people keep control over their mind and actions and maintain their own wellbeing.

This goes to show how important it is not only to keep yoga accessible but also to have a supportive team on site who can reinforce the techniques that are covered in the sessions. This is why we need to fund the youth worker being present during the sessions, so new habits can be reinforced in between sessions and help create a new choice in the face of habitual negative patterns of behaviour.

The Project Aims

This project aims to offer young people in Brighton experiencing homelessness some useful tools to get out of their minds and into their bodies through the practice of yoga. Cat's aim with this course is to offer the opportunity to look at key principles of self acceptance and self empowerment through yogic philosophy and practice.  To offer straight forward tools and a key set of principles that these young people can apply to their own challenges and life situations, both on and off the mat.  A way to bring focus to the physical when the mental chatter is relentless, a way to calm the body when heat builds, to cool with the breath, to regain control and awareness and move forward from a place of balance in mind and body.  

Here is a bit of info about the partners:  

About the Clocktower Sanctuary

The Clocktower Sanctuary is a day centre which provides information, advice and support to 16 - 25 year olds who are homeless or insecurely housed. Since we began in 1998, we have helped thousands of vulnerable young people with support and advice - offering a friendly safe space, meals, showers, access to computers and the internet, laundry facilities, information about housing, health, education, employment and social services - as well as practical and emotional support to help young people get their lives back on track.

About Nine Lives Yoga

Cat Duval was inspired to set up Nine Lives Yoga to open the doors of yoga to people who feel alienated by the pictures of people doing handstands off the edge of a cliff on Instagram! To offer real yoga tools and principles to real people.  Cat is a trained youth worker with a background in working with young people in challenging circumstances.  She now teaches yoga full time and am trained in Unity Partner Yoga, Sun Moon Acro-Partner Yoga and Community Yoga, Hatha and Vinyasa Flow and completed her training to become an AcroYoga Teacher in May. She is also a trained NLP Practitioner and uses positive visualisation techniques in leading meditation.  She runs Nine Lives Yoga which is about making yoga accessible for all.  It is yoga for everybody with every body type. This includes people that don't consider themselves yogis.  Yoga has numerous profound benefits for health, not least the capacity to take control of negative self talk, improve body confidence, clear the mind and develop strategies to overcome mental health issues such as depression and anxiety that are prevalent in our society.  Developing a yoga practice helps us to overcome challenges within ourselves and take control of our lives. Cat loves working with the Clocktower Sanctuary and all those involved!

The inspiration

Cat grew up in Hackney and saw people sleeping rough whatever the weather. Brighton attracts people who need to sleep rough because our nights are the warmest in the UK and, with rising housing prices and the closure of youth and community centres in recent years, the financial pressure on young people to fend for themselves is huge. On top of this, state support is diminishing so charities like the Clocktower Sanctuary are vital in offering support to help young people get back on their feet.

This age group is a pivotal stage in our lives where we gain faith in humanity, or lose it, and all we truly need to succeed in this life is people around us to believe in us, and to help us believe in ourselves. We are so much in our heads when things go wrong, and the opportunity to be in our bodies offers the chance to be in the present moment. That is the beauty of the practice: it distracts us from our chattering minds and gives us tool to create our own happiness.  It puts us in charge.

These classes will offer a chance to stretch, collaborate, learn breathing exercises and improve body awareness that can help us to let go and take time out from the stresses of life. It is so important for young people to feel supported in order to flourish. If they simply get a chance to breathe, find some time to relax, connect to themselves, stretch together and take away something useful, then Cat will be happy.

Access to the Project:

The Clocktower Sanctuary, Wenlock House, 41-43 North Street, Brighton BN1 1RH.
Access is via Lewis's Buildings in Ship Street.

Tuesdays 3-4pm:   Yoga with Cat Duval.

Your donation goes directly to help these young people learn tools to maintain balance and wellbeing during this turbulent time in their lives. 

Donate Now: http://www.gofundme.com/yogaforhomelessyps


Other blog items about his project: