Yoga charity offers free online classes during coronavirus lockdown
07 April, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson
A YOGA charity specialising in classes for disabled children has rolled out a programme of free online classes for all to promote physical and mental wellbeing during the coronavirus lockdown.
The MahaDevi Yoga centre in Holloway Road usually charges for adult classes, with the proceeds paying for one-on-one yoga therapy offered to disabled children.
But during the lockdown these classes will be free or by donation, and any money raised will be used by the MahaDevi Yoga Centre to help them continue their work with disabled children.
Managing director Ben Eydmann told the Tribune the charity was aware that many people were struggling financially during the lockdown, and wanted to offer classes as a way to help everyone.
“Our social enterprise is that the adult classes usually fund the classes for children with disabilities,” he explained.
“But everyone is struggling, mentally and financially at the moment. So we wanted to make the classes accessible to everyone.
“People can donate, and those funds will go towards paying for our classes for disabled children. It’s a reduced service at the moment, but we’re still holding about 40 one to one sessions with children over Zoom and the like.”
Two or three hatha yoga classes catered to different levels will held online from Mondays to Saturdays.
The charity is the UK’s only yoga therapy centre specifically for people with disabilities, and their therapy treatments are open to all families with children with special needs including autism, Down’s Syndrome, epilepsy, Prader-Willi Syndrome, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and wheelchair users.
Rachel, a yoga student at MahaDevi, said: “I had been struggling with my lack of routine working from home during the lockdown, so when MahaDevi started streaming their classes I thought this was an amazing idea.
“The class started a transformation, not only in my day and mindset, but reminded me of the importance of trying to fit something in every day.
“I would recommend it to anyone, especially those who have wanted to try a class but maybe felt self-conscious in a room full of strangers as you now get to try it out in the comfort of your own home.”
Ben Eydmann, Managing Director of MahaDevi, added: “We already know that leading a sedentary lifestyle is not good for our physical and mental health. This compounded with the elevated stress, anxiety and fear that Coronavirus brings is a recipe for a mental health disaster.
“It’s important to take regular exercise and activities that de-stress whilst in lockdown and yoga is certainly something that can help – from your living room.
“Routine is so important for young people, especially for the children with special needs that we see.
“Right now, we are trying to run sessions online with the support of parents and where this isn’t possible, we have regular check-in calls with our young people to maintain a good relationship and to give them some familiarity.”
To see the charity’s new timetable and sign up for classes, visit: https://mahadevicentre.com/online-yoga-classes