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Yoga Service, Outreach & Volunteering

Lots of Ways to Get Involved

Many amazing people are making yoga more available to under-served and specialized populations.

And with such organizations as Accessible Yoga, the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, and Trauma Sensitive Yoga (to name just a few), now there is also excellent support for teachers of mainstream classes to be more inclusive, accessible, socially- and racially-just, and trauma-sensitive.

Here we’ve brought together organizations that you may wish to volunteer for, raise money for, highlight during your classes, cross-promote with, or otherwise support and be inspired by. If you know of more organizations we can list here so that teachers might connect with them, please contact us.

See Also

    • Teacher Training Calendar –We’ve compiled a listing of teacher trainings and events focused on yoga outreach and service to marginalized and underserved populations.
    • Inclusion & Diversity Tools – See the Teaching Methodology & The Art of Teaching for wonderful tools such as Creating a Welcoming & Inclusive Space, Inclusive Word Choice and Cultural Appropriation vs. Exchange.


Organizational Resources for Yoga Service

Yoga Service Resource Guide

    • The Yoga Service Resource Guide is a nicely designed pdf file prepared by Kripalu and The Give Back Yoga Foundation.
    • It is a comprehensive, 51-page resource that lists the many yoga teachers and organizations that bring yoga and meditation to those in need.
    • We don’t see a published date on it. We recall linking to it in, perhaps 2013 so it may be somewhat outdated at this point but it’s so comprehensive we believe it’s still worth checking out.
    • A wonderful feature of the Guide is an index that lists organizations by populations served, including Armed Services, Cancer Survivors and Incarcerated.

Yoga Service Council

    • The Yoga Service Council is a group of organizations bringing yoga to underserved populations that work to support each other, exchange ideas, and collaborate to “make all of our efforts stronger and more intentional.”
    • It was founded by The Art of Yoga Project, Bent on Learning, The Lineage Project, Little Flower Yoga, Niroga Institute, Off the Mat into the World, Sprout Yoga, Street Yoga, YogaHOPE, and Omega Institute and grows each year to include more organizations.

Yoga and Body Image Coalition

The Yoga and Body Image Coalition is committed to body love by developing, promoting and supporting yoga that is accessible, body positive and reflects the full range of human diversity. Our mission not only advocates yoga as an essential tool in personal transformation, from the inside out, but also includes a critical social justice component by challenging industry leaders and media creators to expand their vision of what a yogi looks like.

See: Yoga and Body Image Coalition


Global Efforts

Accessible Yoga

Accessible Yoga is an international grassroots organization dedicated to sharing yoga with everyone. Our non-profit organization is made up of volunteer teammates on seven teams. These teams plan and orchestrate the Accessible Yoga Conferences, and advocate world-wide as Accessible Yoga Ambassadors.

Accessible Yoga

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project empowers over 250,000 Kenyans a year through the power of yoga. Our 52 AYP teachers see no boundaries of sharing this practice.  They teach in prisons, schools, special need centers, HIV rehabilitation centers, deaf schools and the masai villages. We hold 250 free classes a week in the slums of Nairobi and reach 5,000 people per week.

Africa Yoga Project

Deafhood Yoga

Deafhood Yoga inspires kindred spirits to experience Deaf-centered yoga, through fluent sign language. Includes online classes.

Deafhood Yoga

Eat, Breath, Thrive

Eat Breathe Thrive was founded by Chelsea Roff, a yoga and mindfulness instructor, research collaborator, and thought leader in neuroscience and integrative health. An eating disorder survivor, Roff has an intimate understanding of the depths of human suffering and the conditions necessary for individuals and communities to thrive. Her vision in creating the program was to ensure all people have access to the resources they need to recover, and thus are able to more meaningfully contribute to themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

Eat, Breath, Thrive

Embody Love Movement

Their mission is to resource all self-identifying girls and women to reclaim beauty on their terms by building self-approval and cultivating compassion for themselves and others. The Embody Love Movement spearheads initiatives such as awareness campaigns for school kids that support positive self-talk and non-judgmental attitudes, self-love transformational workshops to teardown media-perpetuated myths and bolster self-worth and purpose, and a summer camp where “girls ages 9-12 are given the opportunity to move, breathe, be creative and find joy in the bodies they’re in today.”

Embody Love Movement

Off the Mat and Into the World

Off the Mat and Into the World (OTM) uses the power of yoga to inspire conscious, sustainable activism and to ignite grass roots social change.

Off the Mat and Into the World

Special Yoga

Special Yoga was founded by leading teacher trainer of Special Yoga, Jyoti Manuel. The community was created as a consequence of Jyoti dedicating years to travelling the world and witnessing the invaluable difference Special Yoga made to children’s lives. We have now shared this knowledge with thousands of students who go on to successfully encourage people with special needs to exceed their expectations through Special Yoga.

We welcome, support and nourish all special children on their unique journey to embrace their potential through our respected Special Yoga practice.

Special Yoga

Warriors at Ease

Our mission is to increase awareness about the power of yoga and meditation and educate a network of professionals qualified to share evidenced-based practices through programs that support the health and healing of service members, veterans and their families.

Warriors at Ease

Y12SR: Yoga of 12-Step Recovery

Yoga of 12-Step Recovery was created as a holistic model to address the physical, mental and spiritual dis-ease of addiction. Informed by the latest research in neuroscience and trauma healing, Y12SR “connects the dots” by combining the somatic approach of yoga with the cognitive approach of the 12-step recovery model – the most well-known addiction recovery program in the world, with millions of active practitioners.

Y12SR: Yoga of 12-Step Recovery

Yogamour

Yogamour is a registered 501(c)(3) located in the United States with a presence in Asia. It offers yoga volunteer retreats, workshops, and trainings around the world. Yogamour Stateside has a home studio, Yogamour Yoga & Healing Arts Center which is located in North Frederick, Maryland.

Yogamour’s mission is to be a part of the healing community in offering the benefits of yoga and mindfulness practices. Its public STUDIO AND POP-UP classes as well as trainings, retreats, events and workshops help raise the funds necessary to offer therapeutic yoga and mindfulness programs for survivors of trauma, under-resourced and marginalized communities as an adjunct therapy in the healing process through the Yogamour Outreach Lab.

Yogamour offers a 240 hour Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training for those who would desire to acquire the tools for internal regulation and strengthening the mind body connection. ALL yoga classes should be taught from a trauma-informed perspective! This training takes the student beyond the traditional training as it is specific in offering the practices of yoga as a tool for self-regulating. The 240 Hour Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training is for those who wish to enhance their own practice and learn how to teach yoga to all people in varied contexts through a trauma-informed lens.

Yogamour

Yoga and Body Image Coalition

The Yoga and Body Image Coalition is creating a safe space for bodies of all types and promoting yoga that is accessible, body positive and reflects the full range of human diversity.

The Yoga and Body Image Coalition

Yoga Fusion

Yoga Fusion explores the potential of Yoga Karma -action and possibilities- in post-conflict reconciliation processes to tackle visible and invisible challenges in overcoming individual and social traumas improving the success rate of complementary initiatives such as truth and reconciliation commissions and reintegration projects.

Yoga Fusion

 Yoga Impact Institute

Yoga Impact Institute is a residential and online yoga training school.

It is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that focuses on sharing yoga with vulnerable populations – women and children in shelters, at-risk youth, senior citizens, war veterans, and prisoners, as well as the homeless. It’s founder Nancy Candea also mentors yoga therapists and yoga teachers in their work with these populations. Her approach to teaching yoga is the product of 32 years of her own practice, her ownership of a successful yoga studio in Hawaii for 5 years, 10 years of training yoga teachers, 4 years of training yoga therapists and 21 years of teaching. She is truly a “yogi without borders.” She is the director of Calm Steps to Vibrant Actions: Yoga, Spirituality, Trauma and Social Justice Summit. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Yoga Therapy Today, Boulder Magazine, and Natural Awakenings. Nancy has done yoga therapy presentations at the International Women’s Writing Guild, Global Ayurveda Conference, LLC, and Northern New Jersey Transitional Yoga Conference.

Yoga Impact Institute

Yoga Medicine Foundation

Yoga Medicine is a community of teachers who are trained to understand the function & dysfunction of the human body in order to work more effectively with healthcare practitioners. Their community of teachers is trained in Eastern & Western modalities to effectively work with doctors & practitioners of many types so that they can understand the student better & apply the practice to the individual. Their job is to be of service to & support the medical system & the medical providers by working with them to assist their patients along their journey to health.

Yoga Medicine Foundation


United States-Focus

Coco: Connection Coalition

CoCo is the organization formerly known as Yoga Gangsters. It’s short for Connection Coalition. The name has changed but the mission remains the same: CoCo works in collaboration with youth organizations to provide access to tools that help calm the nervous system and allow better decision making like yoga, mindfulness and meditation. What does that look like? Yoga programs in schools, shelters, jails, foster homes, rehabs and more, all led by our CoCo instructors. OUR FREE YOGA YOGA PROGRAMS HAVE REACHED OVER 17,000 KIDS ACROSS THE US!

Connection Coalition

Exalted Warrior Foundation

The Exalted Warrior Foundation facilitates an adaptive yoga instruction program that is designed for wounded warriors in the active military, veteran hospital facilities, and veterans within communities around the country.

Exalted Warrior Foundation

Firefly Yoga International

The Mission of Firefly Yoga International is to promote psychological and physical healing for survivors of trauma by providing evidence-based yoga programming, creating a network of trauma-informed yoga teachers, and contributing to the fields of public health and yoga through scholarly research.

Firefly Yoga International

Give Back Yoga Foundation

Give Back Yoga Foundation believes in making yoga available to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the transformational benefits of this powerful practice. We do this by supporting and funding certified yoga teachers in all traditions to offer the teachings of yoga to under-served and under-resourced socio-economic segments of the community and inspire grassroots social change and community cooperation.

Since the inception of the Give Back Yoga Foundation in 2007, I’m proud to say that we have helped yoga teachers bring yoga into prisons, hospitals, and mental health centers. We have trained over ten thousand yoga teachers and healthcare workers, awarded more than $400,000 USD in grants, and distributed more than 25,000 mats to kickstart programs in communities where there are barriers to access health services. —  Rob Schware, Give Back Yoga Foundation Co-Founder & Executive Director

Give Back Yoga Foundation

Liberation Prison Yoga

Liberation Prison Yoga’s mission is to serve prisons and jails, bringing yoga programs to incarcerated individuals and those whose lives are affected by incarceration; to train yoga instructors to work inside the prison system; and to educate the public about trauma-conscious yoga.

Liberation Prison Yoga

Prison Yoga Project

The Prison Yoga Project advises prisons, private entities and/or individuals about establishing yoga programs as part of a rehabilitation program, and provides an already proven to be effective curriculum and facilitation protocol. Additionally the project offers trainings for yoga teachers who are interested in working with at-risk populations.

Prison Yoga Project

Purple Dot Yoga

Purple Dot Yoga Project’s mission is to empower and support individuals impacted by domestic violence and trauma using yoga as a healing tool. They started with a simple desire to assist individuals impacted by domestic violence and trauma to be able to move on their healing journey from survivor to thriver.

Purple Dot Yoga

SafePlace

SafePlace is ending sexual and domestic violence through safety, healing, prevention and social change. SafePlace:

    • Provides Safety for individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence.
    • Helps victims in their Healing so they can move beyond being defined by the crimes committed against them, and become Survivors.
    • Promotes safe and healthy relationships for the Prevention of sexual and domestic violence.
    • Works with others to create Change in attitudes, behaviors and policies that perpetuate the acceptance of, and impact our understanding and responses to, sexual and domestic violence.

SafePlace

The Dharma Project

The Dharma Project was founded in 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia and is led by Rutu Chaudhari, who brings over 17 years of experience in teaching yoga and mindfulness. Driven by the intention to diversify the audience of people who teach and benefit from the practices of yoga and mindfulness, the Dharma Project has partnered with organizations such as Decatur Housing Authority, the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, the Stewart Center, Odyssey Counseling Center, Chris180, and Greening Youth to bring yoga to over 150 community members and leaders. In addition, in 2017, the Dharma Project has launched programs to serve police officers from 3 precincts in Atlanta and over 20 teachers across the metro Atlanta area. The Dharma Project was selected as a winner of the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s SPARK Prize and Rutu was named “Best Yoga Teacher in Atlanta” by Creative Loafing, was awarded the 2016 Civic Innovation Fellowship through the Center for Civic Innovation, and received an investment from SPANX founder Sara Blakely for her work.

The Dharma Project

VETOGA

VETOGA instructs military veterans on how to become yoga teachers to teach other veterans. VETOGA’s mission is to provide yoga, meditation, and healing arts to military, veterans, their families, and communities. We accomplish this by holding free monthly yoga classes, events and veteran specific 200-Hour Teacher Trainings throughout the year.

VETOGA

Yogis Heart

Yogis Heart is a volunteer organization devoted to providing yearly unlimited yoga scholarships to young adults who are seeking a consistent yoga practice.

Yogis Heart


Eastern United States

Bent On Learning

Bent On Learning is a nonprofit organization committed to teaching yoga to New York City public school children. We bring yoga to as many students as possible—not after school, but right there, in the classroom, where the learning happens. By providing every child with their own mat and integrating the practice of yoga into their daily routine, Bent On Learning helps children learn to feel better about themselves, release stress, and calm their emotions— all of which makes them healthier and happier. And let’s face it: Kids need to be healthy and happy in order to learn.

Bent On Learning

Cultivate Union

Cultivate Union is a community non-profit organization that promotes sustainability, access and equity across the yoga community.

We create sustainable yoga community through scholarship and stewardship.

We offer financial assistance for advanced trainings to certified teachers who want to serve their students with even more skill and care. At this time, Cultivate Union financial assistance is only available for people in the Atlanta area.

Cultivate Union

Exhale to Inhale

Founded by a yogi, supported by the yoga community, and guided by professionals with experience working with domestic violence and sexual assualt survivors, Exhale to Inhale strives to empower women who have experienced intimate partner violence and sexual assault heal and reclaim their lives.

Exhale to Inhale provides weekly yoga classes at domestic violence shelters and community centers throughout New York City, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut, and most recently Los Angeles.

Exhale to Inhale

Hands to Heart Center

Hands to Heart Center – Yoga for the People is a nonprofit organization that shares the healing practice of yoga with people affected by addiction, poverty & trauma in Boston. HTHC provides high-quality, customized yoga classes that are accessible, inclusive and inspiring. HTHC volunteers are 200 and 500-hour trained yoga teachers who lead free community-based yoga and mindfulness classes in low-income, under-served neighborhoods of Boston. HTHC trauma-Informed yoga teachers work with non-profit organizations and high-poverty schools in Boston that serve vulnerable populations to develop and teach individualized classes that promote healing, increase capacity and build resilience.

Hands to Heart Center

Light A Path

Light a Path’s mission is to create resilience through connection, by bringing yoga, meditation, strength training and running to youth, the incarcerated, the unhoused, low-­income community residents, and those in recovery. Through connection to these modalities, and to a devoted volunteer, we facilitate the ultimate connection: to inner reserves of resilience, peace and wellness.

Conceived as an expression of service by a group of Asheville-based yogis and other practitioners, their mission grew out of the idea of creating community and resilience in underserved populations of Western North Carolina through offering evidence-based wellness tools at no cost.

Light A Path

Love Your Brain Yoga

Love Your Brain Yoga believes that yoga and meditation empower people to positively adapt to changes in their lives. They support people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury and their caregivers to participate in a free, research-backed, six-week yoga and meditation series designed based on the science of resilience.

Love Your Brain Foundation

Yoga 4 a Good Hood

Founder Imani Olear, strongly believe that bringing Yoga For A Good Hood into the city of Rochester will begin to address the issues of brokenness, hardship, struggle, abuse and self-degradation and people will find peace within instead of always seeking something outside of themselves. She also believes this project will help bring; Peace of mind for all; Peace of heart for all; Peace of community. And in turn, we all can say with confidence – Blessed are the peace-makers and be called children of God. Whatever that looks like or defined as – for us individually in our communities.

Yoga 4 A Good Hood

Yoga 4 Change

Yoga 4 Change achieves lasting, demonstrative change for veterans, incarcerated individuals, vulnerable youth, and those dealing with substance abuse through a purpose-driven yoga curriculum.

Yoga 4 Change

Yoga By Design Foundation

The Yoga by Design Foundation transforms lives through the healing practices of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, empowering underserved individuals and populations to live to their highest potential. A volunteer-run organization, money raised goes directly into programming. Current recipients include Veterans with PTSD, victims of Human Traffiking, Political Refugees, Homeless young adults, Cancer Thrivers, Children in Alternative Schools, incarcerated young men, sheltered vulnerable abused children and adults with Developmental Disabilities.

Yoga By Design Foundation

Yoga Foster

Yoga Foster believes that every educator should be empowered with the tools and skills to create mindful classrooms. They develop programming to teach educators how to foster yoga in their schools. To make it possible, they rally the wellness community to put their practice into action – raising funds, donating gently-used mats, and advocating for the wellness of everyone in their community, no matter how small.

Yoga Foster

Yoga Gangsters

Yoga Gangsters is a Miami-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower youth by addressing the symptoms of trauma and poverty such as limited education, addiction, violence, incarceration, teen pregnancy, homelessness and more using the practice of yoga, to deliver messages of empowerment around self respect, self control, and self awareness.

Yoga Gangsters serves under served communities by providing free yoga classes, teaching the practice of yoga to kids in crisis and at-risk youth in schools, jails, youth centers, homeless shelters, rehabs, foster centers and through other non-profit organizations.

Yoga Gangsters

YoKid

YoKid is committed to bringing yoga to under-served kids & teens. Yoga classes for kids & teens can be found on-site at schools, community centers, and youth friendly places in Wash DC, Virginia, and Maryland. Get certified to teach yoga to kids & teens. Basic yoga training and continuing education courses. Great for yoga teachers, educators, parents, and clinical workers. YoKid has Volunteer opportunities in Washington DC, Virginia, & Maryland. Choose the volunteer opportunity that’s best for your schedule and begin teaching YoKid yoga to kids & teens today!

YoKid

Yoga2Sleep

Yoga2Sleep is dedicated to empowering the overwhelmed by using the principles of sleep, yoga and natural living to promote better sleep for the best life. They offer yoga therapy, sleep wellness coaching, corporate mindfulness, group yoga and conservancy for cultural competence.

Yoga2Sleep


Western United States

Recovery 2.0

Through more than 20 years of recovery from addiction, noted yoga teacher and founder of Recovery 2.0, Tommy Rosen learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in recovery. From his explorations on the yoga mat and in 12-Step rooms, he found a path to sustainable recovery that includes mind-body practices, a profound look at diet and a more holistic and inclusive perspective on the 12 Steps.

Recovery 2.0’s mission is to educate and inspire. They provide an assortment of ways for you to engage with this vibrant community and fresh approach to life and recovery. It is a membership site for people in recovery, their families and people who work in the field.

Recovery 2.0

The Art of Yoga Project

The Art of Yoga Project focuses on early intervention to help marginalized and justice-involved girls prepare for a positive future. We are leaders in the treatment and rehabilitation of justice-involved girls by offering gender-responsive, trauma-informed, culturally-responsive, and strengths-based programming.

Our mission is to lead at-risk, exploited and incarcerated girls toward accountability to self, others, and community by providing practical tools to effect behavioral change. We send specially trained yoga teachers, art therapists, creative arts and writing educators into facilities to deliver our mindfulness-based curriculum.

The Art of Yoga Project is a 501(c)(3) non profit

The Art of Yoga Project

Yoga Behind Bars

We’re reimagining the criminal justice system, we envision a world where all communities are healthy and thriving, where people feel safe, connected, and valued. Our work is about more than just yoga. We open doors to self-understanding, resilience and transformation. We advocate for restorative justice solutions, holistic re-entry services, and the removal of other barriers that prevent formerly incarcerated people to rebuild their lives upon release. We work with the state corrections leadership to create new cultural opportunities within the system, including yoga classes for prison staff and yoga teacher trainings for inmates.


Canada

Yoga Outreach

Yoga Outreach has been supporting adults and youth through trauma-informed yoga programming within community service facilities, across British Columbia, since 1996.

Yoga Outreach

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