Established in 2006 by two renowned Scottish yoga teachers, Bruce Mackay and Dr Brian Cooper, Yoga Alliance Professionals has grown to become the UK’s leading accreditation body for yoga teachers and training providers, supporting over 8,000 yoga professionals.
During the Covid-19 pandemic the business “really came into its own”, to quote Victoria Cunningham, a long-standing member of the organisation and director of Stretch Body Mind, a yoga studio in Musselburgh.
After observing the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health of both yoga teachers and their students Yoga Alliance Professionals took it upon itself to help their community survive. The not-for-profit negotiated an insurance policy that would enable their members to teach online and provided regular updates and communications on the relevant government guidelines for yoga classes.
Doing so enabled yoga teachers to continue providing this all-important wellbeing service to the public, at a time when people’s mental health was deteriorating.
Yoga has long been recognised for its mental health benefits, and is deemed to improve the quality of life in regular practitioners. Continuing to offer yoga online was a lifeline for the practitioners and the yoga teachers providing the classes.
Even as lockdown restrictions were lifted, the organisation continued to support its community by providing regular updates and communicating the government guidelines in an accessible way to reassure the yoga world.
Melissa Albarran, a spokesperson for the organisation, said “We saw the devastating impact of the lockdowns on our yoga teachers who suddenly couldn’t work, and we heard first hand from friends and family how horrific they were feeling. It became hugely important for us to make yoga accessible and encourage our teachers to get online by providing informative guides and negotiating with our insurance broker to include online teaching in the policy. Now as concern rises with the Omicron variant, it’s likely that more people will once again choose to practice yoga online rather than entering the studio”.