Yoga, Mindfulness & A Safe Community Space
Through the practice of yoga and mindfulness seminars, Friendsline is focused on improving the mental, physical and social wellbeing of women who have suffered gender based violence in developing countries.
There is evidential research to support that yoga has many benefits for reducing levels of stress, anxiety and depression by slowing down the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and regulating respiration.Chronic stress and levels of cortisol (the body’s primary stress hormone) that are consistently elevated underlie many physical and mental health issues. Regular practice of yoga, however, has been found to naturally decrease cortisol levels. Yoga poses stimulate the release of hormones which promote overall physical and emotional/mental health. Through learning skills and strategies to remain calm and focused, yoga also provides the space for deep concentration and meditation to quiet the mind and be better equipped to manage negative feelings. Our seminars include Trauma informed yoga which is aimed specifically at using a range of yoga practices for those who have been exposed to abuse. Mindfulness activities, such as meditation, breathing and colouring, are also seen to reduce levels of stress and anxiety.
Alongside our yoga and mindfulness programme which has been implemented since 2018, we are now working on expanding our work to introduce virtual group counselling sessions and an educational programme to challenge and demystify the cultural stigmas associated with mental health and gender violence. In many parts of the world, particularly those areas which are poverty stricken, there is little education around mental health and gender violence which results in women being blamed, stigmatised and further abused by society. Our aim is to eradicate these stigmas at local community levels.
Friendsline creates a safe environment for women who have suffered gender violence to come together and build strong community support networks. When women have better mental health, it leads to greater self esteem, better relationships, an increase in workforce productivity and socioeconomic benefits through society.