Yoga for Homeless Young People – an Update

Bringing mindfulness, yoga and community yoga practices to young people aged 16-25 experiencing homelessness in Brighton, a collaboration between Nine Lives Yoga and The Clock Tower Sanctuary.

“I feel my confidence in my body improving, it’s good for my health and also I feel more calm in my mind too. I have been using the breathing exercises when I’m stressed to give me a minute to think.” Anon

A pilot class in April 2015 inspired a fundraising campagin to run a yoga course that went ahead in November 2015. The course was well received with over 20 people attending classes overall, with up to 10 in each class. The project was extended by 2 months and it has now been voted an essential service to provide to young people aged 16-25 experiencing homelessness in Brighton. The project is being delivered by partners Nine Lives Yoga and the Clock Tower Sanctuary. Cat now runs ongoing weekly yoga classes at the Sanctuary which are open to young homeless people in the area aged 16-25 years and the volunteers and staff.

The Sanctuary is the backbone of where I am now and how much I have progressed. Without this place I would still be sleeping under Brighton Pier, it’s as simple as that.” Mark, 24

Content & Feedback

During the yoga sessions we focus on breathing techniques to calm the mind, stretching out the lower back and shoulders to release tension from sleeping rough plus helping with self control and having a clear head are being rated as some of the most useful tools. It’s great to hear from the participants that yoga is having a positive impact on their lives and that they are experiencing improved patience and calm reactions to stressful situations. It’s even boosting their relationships with partners, helping them be more relaxed together.  The project is open to drop-ins, is LGBTQ friendly and targeted to young people aged 16-25 years.

Since attending the classes, participants have said it is helping them feel calmer, more patient and whilst improving their body confidence and self control in managing addictions and compulsive behaviour. More men than women are coming to the class statistically, and keep coming back!

“Yoga stretches are really helping my back ache from sleeping on the streets, I’m doing some every morning now” Anon

Changing Behaviour

As a case study, one male participant who started attending the yoga classes then took part in a ‘Dealing with Anger’ workshop. His intention was to use cannabis to address feelings of anger and frustration but through speaking with a youth worker during the workshop, he learned to control his breathing and busy his hands in a stretch as an alternative method and was very open to these suggestions. This is just one of many examples where yoga has been used to help young people to find another way to keep their emotions in check whilst looking after their own well-being.

This example alone is proof of how vital it is to offer yoga classes to young homeless people and also to provide them with a supportive team to help reinforce what they have learned in their sessions. This gives them a new choice of behaviour when faced with challenging situations.

I think the yoga is keeping me and my girl together right now, it’s tough in the tent cos we got no space from each other, I think the breathing exercises are helping us lots, and we do the partner yoga stretches together which is cool.” Anon

To help support and expand the project donate now via our Go Fund Me Campaign

About the Partners

Nine Lives Yoga

Yoga for Young Homeless People -Cat DuvalCat Duval founded Nine Lives Yoga to open the door to yoga to everybody with every body type in fun and inspiring ways but with a depth of spirit that can help people make big changes in their lives.  Nine Lives Yoga offers social yoga and personalised yoga programmes for clients wanting overcome barriers and live happy and fulfilling lives.

Cat Duval has been teaching for 7 years, practicing for 12 and takes a multi-disciplinary approachas previously she has worked as a youth worker in London and New Zealand and has worked on community projects for over a decade.

Cat is trained in Hatha (YA), Vinyasa flow (YA), Unity Partner Yoga (IYN), Sun Moon Partner and Community Yoga (YA), Acroyoga (AYI), Thai Yoga Massage (AYI), Yoga Nidra, Meditation, Mindful Meditation, Hypnotherapy (ANLP) and NLP (ANLP) as a Practitioner.

Through Acroyoga and partner and social yoga, the Nine Lives Yoga tribe has brought friends, communities and couples together playing, laughing and building trust, connection and collaboration. Cat works with a hand-selected team of wonderful teachers on the projects and events she runs and is deeply inspired to expand the impact yoga can have to bring happiness to people in challenging circumstances.  Check out Cat’s Bio  for more info.

The Clock Tower Sanctuary

Yoga for Young Homeless PeopleThe Clocktower Sanctuary offers signposting and support services for 16-25 year olds experiencing homelessness in Brighton. Many also struggle with addiction, substance and alcohol abuse having dealt with seriously challenging circumstances that led them to be homeless in their teens and early 20’s.

The Clock Tower Sanctuary is the only drop-in service providing all-round information, advice and support to homeless young people (aged 16-25) in Brighton & Hove. The centre is open 6 days a week.

They provide a friendly, bright, centrally-located, safe space for young people to engage with their peers and other visiting agencies – without the worry of having to share a service with older people who can be intimidating. Among support services are healthy living activities that the young people choose to take part in from healthy cooking to yoga and music.

We are looking to expand the project’s reach locally, and then putting a programme together to set up courses to run with partnerships with national and international partners.

You can help!

To help support and expand the project donate now via our Go Fund Me Campaign

“If I wasn’t here I would be walking to the tent and stressing, or scoring probably. This is literally a life saver for me” Anon

I love every session I do and i will never stop doing yoga I can’t wait til the sessions in the future.” Anon


Cat Duval | Founder of Nine Lives Yoga | 07557911520

 [email protected] |

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