Build a stronger you through community volunteering
Better physical and mental health and wellbeing, more confidence, new skills and valuable work experience, as well as sense of connection to others in the community, are all flagged by the Royal Volunteering Service as gains for giving time.
And the recent Active Lives Report from Sport England showed regular volunteers in the world of physical activity and sport have higher wellbeing scores and are less likely to feel lonely.
Many yoga teachers are self-employed and manage everything from hall hire, buying equipment, building a website, through to marketing their small business – a big change if you’re used to working in a large organisation. Going it alone can be daunting, according to yoga teacher Alex Reed. London-based Alex moved from managing large teams of people as a TV producer to juggling the different skills required to be a solopreneur.
Becoming an independent yoga teacher can be quite isolating. I really missed being part of a team. Joining my local BWY committee changed all that.
I enjoyed meeting up to plan future events, helping with publicity, hosting on some of the CPD days and meeting other local members. It was a great way to get to know other yogis in the area for friendship and support.
Becoming a volunteer not only connects you with a cohort of like-minded people, but you can help share the benefits of yoga with others in your community, to make yoga more accessible.
For BWY member and winner of the first BWY Community Champion Award, Davy Jones, working with underserved populations and communities prompted him to take the next step to making yoga more inclusive for vulnerable members of his Brighton community:
We can all benefit from yoga but it is the more vulnerable people in the community who would benefit the most and yet often can’t access it. I wanted to give something back to the community by taking yoga to them. We are now helping to reach more people in the community which is very rewarding.
By becoming a BWY volunteer, you not only contribute to breaking down these barriers to effect positive change, but you can empower your personal development too.
BWY committees are responsible for organising activities including masterclasses and guest teachers, open days, yoga festivals and official training days. Skills developed can include organisation, administration, leadership and communication.
There are different roles you can select depending on your interests and skills you want to share or develop. You can be a local area representative, secretary, newsletter editor, website administrator, treasurer, regional training officer or take on a leadership role by becoming the regional officer. You can also deputise in any of these roles if you are time constrained. Full details of these roles can be found here.
South West volunteers Hayley Giles and Emma Whitewood are proof busy lives are no barrier to volunteering.
Hayley is Area Training Officer for Dorset, with Emma as her deputy: ‘I was surprised at how little time it takes up and how much knowledge I already had about hall spaces, the CPD teachers on the list and other information that made it a very quick learning curve,’ said Hayley.
‘I thought I was too busy to take it on, but after chatting with my student who is also super busy, we came up with a plan to do it together.’
Just like yoga, volunteering is about connection and unity. Whether you want to share the role or connect with other people who share your passion for yoga, it is about building community.
When you volunteer, you are not only giving back to your community, but you are also creating a more positive and supportive environment for everyone involved.
Looking for a way to give back, connect with others, and share your love of yoga? Why not see what volunteering opportunities are available near you by clicking on the Communities menu at the top of the page.
British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) is committed to promoting a greater understanding of yoga and its safe practice through experience, education, study and training. Serving 5000+ members across the UK, BWY is a leader in developing high-quality yoga teacher training and champions yoga through events and festivals across the UK. A registered charity and established in 1965, BWY is recognised as the National Governing Body for Yoga by Sport England and Sport Wales.