CLOSING 2021 AND LOOKING FORWARD TO NEW BEGINNINGS IN 2022
2021 will probably be remembered as the second year of Covid, a year most people might want to forget, so much of our freedom curtailed and so many restrictions on our movements. Many yogis have a free spirit and thrive off travel to India and the Southern Europe both for work and for play. Within the yoga world there has also been a tangible split between the pro and anti vaxers, causing some tension. We have also seen some yoga teachers hanging up their mats to take more reliable jobs and sustain a steadier income stream.
However, it has also been an invitation to slow down and find our inner stillness and joy, to nurture ourselves in our communities and find the source of joy in our hearts and in the nature around us.
For TeenYoga, it has been a continued year of growth, now in its 18th year, with more opportunities for collaborations far and wide and a continued expansion into Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Canada and the United States.
Our most exciting collaboration this year has been close to home, with London Youth, an organisation that brings together Youth workers from all over London. When they reached out to Charlotta, it was a project close to all our hearts – how do we support the mental health of young BIPOC women? Charlotta devised a training programme for Youth Workers in how to lead Talking Circles, this is an innovative 2-tier programme, bringing yoga techniques together with active listening and trauma sensitive therapeutics. Many report unprecedented disclosures in these safe spaces for 10-13 year old girls, some opening up for the first time about their sexuality or about uncomfortable issues at home or in school. At its best youth work is extremely fun and rewarding, but with this added skill, it also becomes a necessary piece in the jigsaw of how to stop so many girls from falling into mental and emotional despair. 70 girls were then chosen to go on an Ambassador weekend where they were trained to share some of these skills with their friends and peers. This project has been extremely successful and is being repeated in 2022 thanks to Tampon Tax funding.
Similarly, our relationship with lululemon Regent Street continues to enrich the lives of many young people, as the $10,000 grant this year went towards offering just over 500 teens yoga in schools that otherwise could not afford it. It also stretched to supporting 3 bursaries for the Teen Yoga Ambassador courses. Moreover, 3 staff from lululemon Bath and Lorna, manager of the Covent Garden Branch, are running for the foundation at the Bath Half this year aiming to raise over £2000, funds that will also go towards the Teen Yoga Ambassadors’ programme.
The programme has been very successful and created a bit of a stir. Sir Michael Dixon at the College of Medicine is keen for it to be rolled out in an entire county and measure the effects on the school culture and also on CAMHS, bringing health and education together, in line with new government guidelines and also with the ethos of Social Prescribing and the emerging ICS (Integrated Care Systems) culture. We are in discussion with three different counties to roll this out. The evidence on the impact of the Ambassador course has been overwhelmingly positive, but as with any project we need to be able to provide proof of concept on a larger scale with a health researcher on board, as we did with the Hippocampus, before expanding. So, we look forward to working together with a chosen county in 2022 to develop our Ambassador programme. If you have teens (students or otherwise) who would like to participate or for more information about the course, please visit our website www.teenyogaambassadors.co.uk. If you would like to be part of the successful rollout of this course in the UK, and have money to donate, please do get in touch with Charlotta directly on email@example.com.
What is more, during 2021, we were extremely lucky to have the support of a technology company in South Africa, to help us develop our app, which will be ready to launch in February of this year! This app, which will be called the TeenYoga app, is designed specifically to aid and support the TeenYoga teacher in ensuring that our young people keep practising at home in a way that supports them the best, tailoring the practise to their needs.
Our monthly themes have been run by our team of volunteers, who every month come up with original content for all our teachers and others who may benefit on a theme we feel fits the season and the specific issues that young people are facing. We would love to honour and thank Barbara Durrand who has been holding it all together throughout 2021 and welcome the new team who will be starting shortly. A big thank you also goes out to our Social media team: Claire, Jo, Juliet, Lisa, Lorna and Sabrina who have been keeping our followers updated with everything that goes on here at HQ!
The 7th TeenYoga summit was a resounding success thanks to Nicky Dye and her tireless crew, more about that in a previous blog.
The Ambassador programme is being masterminded and run by Debbie, who engages with the students and helps them through the process of bringing yoga to their peers The ambassador programme has been mostly run online in 2021 and we will continue to do so, so we can effectively engage with YP from all over the world and the nation. However, we are very keen to run one of the levels at a school, so if you know a school who might like to host this ground-breaking programme, do get in touch directly with us. We are also looking for more mentors for the young people to help them in this process, if you are interested, do get in touch with Helen@teenyoga.com.
Jess, one of our trustees, started our monthly online Chai and chat, where we get together to inspire and uplift one another and she has also helped many students to build their yoga businesses over the year.
Our 2020 conference threw up many working parties, the Retreat group came to fruition this year and we have now booked our first venue in the beautiful New Forest for Easter 2022. Two of our top teachers, Debbie and Dianne will run the retreat in the forest and we welcome applications for the retreat, just get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We have also decided to offer some of our workshops as CPD days in 2022, namely Lisa Harwood and Natalie’s workshops – more about them later!
The webinars continue to run every month, the first Saturday of the month, investigating the monthly theme in more detail and with the option for a Q and A with Charlotta.
Last but not least, Charlotta was awarded the Master of Yoga award in 2020 by the International Yoga Alliance, the only woman in Europe. She has also now sold over 3,000 copies of her book – TeenYoga for yoga therapists and is planning on launching the first ever Spanish speaking course in Autumn 2022. 2020 was also the year Charlotta became approved as an E-RYT 500 by the Yoga Alliance USA.
We feel that year 2022 is the year of hope for young people and we see the dots joining up, thanks to all the support of our members from all around the world and thanks also to a much closer collaboration with the College of Medicine.