A group of like-minded people from Yorkshire came together during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 with a common goal.
We wanted to establish a way for yoga practitioners and professionals in the UK to practice their gratitude in a tangible way and give back to the country where their much loved practice originates.
As yoga lovers ourselves, we know the positive impact this practice can have and many people in the UK benefit hugely from their yoga practice and yogic way of living.
We recognise how lucky we are in the UK and established YoGift as a response to the complex and ongoing issue of child poverty in India, which has only been made worse by the impact of Covid 19.
YoGift recognises and holds together the commercial success of Western yoga and the dire situation for many children in India.
The process of building YoGift is collaborative and exciting.
We have met in gardens, coffee shops and, of course, over Zoom to keep working towards our goal of activating gratitude to help India combat child poverty.gg
I have been practicing yoga for the last 15 years and it very quickly became a passion. I first visited India about 25 years ago, before I came across the practice of yoga and before I even knew anything about yoga and its origins!
Over the years, as my practice developed I began to read more, though I always wondered how my practice could become more outward looking. In a way, it felt like something was missing from my practice, but I had no idea what!
I have been back to India over the years, however, in 2019 I visited Northern India for the first time, including Rishikesh, a great centre of yoga tradition. Maybe as a result of where I was in my own life, or the people I met whilst I was there, this visit was a trigger to me for reflect on my own yoga practice and how that sits with the western model of yoga and what the missing part of the practice was. The Lockdown that followed shortly afterwards gave more time for reflection, wondering how Covid 19 would have affected many communities in India that were already struggling.
As a result of this a few of us started to have a conversation, looking at how we can show our gratitude for our yoga practice, more conversations followed and YoGift started to take shape. We truly hope that others will share in our reflections and take the opportunity that YoGift offers to look outwards and give thanks for our yoga practice.
I live in Shipley, West Yorkshire, and have an interest in Yoga and in India, which I visited most recently in 2019.
Prior to retirement I worked in senior leadership roles in public transport, being a Director at Metro (West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive / West Yorkshire Combined Authority, based in Leeds) for many years. I was also a Director of a number of national transport organisations, which involved working with a range of private and public sector organisations, as well as with Government.
My work as a Director required skills such as leadership, change management, strategy development and planning, financial planning and management, programme and project management, and partnership working. I hope to use these skills to help YoGift develop and raise funds from the UK yoga ecosystem to help to alleviate poverty in India.
Jamie Blowers is a senior Yoga Teacher, Yoga Coach and YTT Trainer.
Jamie is a self-described yoga technician and is passionate to share precise asana technique to develop greater physical and mental health and happiness in peoples’ lives.
His yoga journey began discovering U.S. school, It’s Yoga International, headed by hugely influential Yoga Guru, the late Larry Shultz. In 2007 Jamie is grateful to have completed 200 hours YTT and then completed training as a first-generation Rocket® teacher, directly with Larry Shultz and his wife Marie in 2009. Larry later invited Jamie to deliver both the, It’s Yoga 200 YTT and The Rocket® Yoga TT as an associate Yoga teacher trainer in 2010.
Jamie has always been hugely grateful for the practice of yoga and its teachings, and YoGift gives us all the opportunity to offer our gratitude in a tangible and meaningful way.
My interest and passion for yoga began by taking my first class in Kathmandu in 2010. On this same trip I first visited India and instantly felt drawn to the people and culture. I have practiced yoga consistently since then exploring the physical and metaphysical elements of the practice. It’s important to me that our yoga practice extends ‘beyond the mat’ and yoga philosophy has helped positively shape my values and attitudes over the last ten or so years. I trained to be a yoga teacher in 2017 in a monastery in Kathmandu and have undertaken Buddhist retreat in both the UK and Nepal.
In my other life I am a researcher and consultant in the field of Organisational Psychology. My research focusses on understanding how people’s values and self-identities impact their goals and motivation at work. I enjoy outdoor swimming, trail running and travelling the UK to climb hills and eat picnics. I am excited to be part of the YoGift team and hopefully connect with many wonderful yoga teachers and charities through the journey.
Hi, I’m Sandy, an Ambassador for Yogift and accountable for Corporate Social Responsibility and Relationship Management.
As a Yogi of British Indian origin, I’ve witnessed the polarities of poverty between the Western and Eastern world.
I’ve had the privilege of working with Harmony House since 2019, teaching children Yoga and enabling social integration.
Going forward, I will showcase where your donations are going and how you are supporting future generations and reducing multidimensional poverty.
My aim is to lead with love and I’m excited to be on this journey.
Why India? We have been asked this question a few times by people looking to understand the relationship between the yoga we know and love in the West and India, where the roots of yoga were established many, many years ago.
India is the cultural and historical birthplace of yoga, with the techniques and practices developed and shared over centuries by teachers, philosophers and Indian lay people. As a result, yoga, meditation and related practices are extensively and deeply embedded within the fabric of the country.
Yoga has been practiced in Western countries since the 1890s. In the last 30 years it has grown exponentially and is widely adopted by those looking to find stillness, good health and spiritual fulfilment in fast-paced modern life
The benefits of yoga are wide-ranging and those who practice regularly note immense improvements to their daily lives, relationship to self and relationships with others as a result.
Thus, the ‘Yoga Industry’ has developed due to a commercial demand for studios, equipment, courses and much more. Today, the yoga studio industry is worth over $88 billion worldwide and is expected to reach $215 billion by 2025. And that’s just studios! It is estimated, once you account for retreats, clothing, mats, etc, that the global yoga market is currently worth well over $130 billion.
Within the UK, the market is worth £908 million and growing at a 2% rate year on year. There are 4930 yoga studios in the UK and we would like to work with them all!
Through YoGift we can give thanks for our practice in a tangible and meaningful way. YoGift raises funds which it carefully directs to organisation in India working hard to alleviate child poverty in India.
We raise these funds through multiple means. YoGift works with UK studios, teachers, practitioners, and brands to raise money that will be directed toward carefully selected partner charities who deliver invaluable work alleviating child poverty in India. Funds can be raised via hosting workshops and events, regular and/or one-off donations and ongoing partnerships.
We aim to use the power of the UK yoga ecosystem to raise awareness of and funds for child poverty relief in India.