The Iyengar Yoga Development Fund is a non-registered charitable fund that was started with the support of BKS Iyengar to assist disadvantaged groups in accessing Iyengar yoga classes.  40% of the licence fees paid by Iyengar yoga teachers each year goes towards this invaluable work.

The IYDF enables Iyengar yoga teachers to reach some of our society’s most challenged members. This week, Jen Henwood shares her experience of teaching yoga to recovering addicts at Brighton Housing Trust’s Recovery Project.

“I have been teaching an IYDF funded class at Brighton Housing Trust’s  Recovery Project (RP) for nearly three years.  BHT’s RP provides safe housing and  rehabilitation programme to enable residents to sustain abstinence and rebuild their lives following addiction to alcohol and/or drugs.

Jen Henwood in India

Jen Henwood at the RIMY Institute in India

The RP explores the individual circumstances of each client and provides a programme of support which enables residents to learn the skills they need to maintain their recovery, within the safety and support of the recovery community. The programme includes keywork and groups, in which residents are given support  to look at the reasons behind their substance use and the consequences of it, to learn how to live without alcohol and drugs, and to develop self-responsibility and the skills needed for independent living.

In addition, the RP offers a range of classes, such as art, creative writing, and yoga, to support residents in building more healthy and satisfying.

Some students have told me that they feel better in themselves, more balanced and co-ordinated since attending yoga classes. Others have reported have that their breathing is better, their mood is lifted, that they feel less anxious and that they sleep very well after class. One student, on leaving RP after successfully completing the programme, said that the yoga had really helped her and her recovery.

Yoga has so much to offer people who are trying to transform their lives.  It offers to recovering addicts an alternative way of coping with life’s inevitable challenges and difficulties, as well as a structure for developing self-discipline, self-respect and self-confidence. I hope that yoga may help residents when they leave the RP and need to maintain abstinence and a healthy lifestyle whilst living independently.”

See Jen’s teacher profile and classes here 

To make a donation to the IYDF please click here

To find out more about the BHT’s Recovery Project, visit their website here