Rural and Remote Mental Health are advocates for mental wellness, but we are also interested in the importance of maintaining physical wellbeing and its impact on our emotive state.
We recognise the challenges those in rural and remote communities face in finding the time and opportunity to engage in self-care, that’s why we love bringing you stories that not only inform you but support the work of other charities with common goals.
The Yoga Partnership is a registered charity founded by Beth Burgess and Amy Booth.
Beth and Amy recognised the lack of accessibility for yoga in remote areas and their passion for the practice fuelled the movement to take yoga online so that anyone, anywhere could reap the benefits of the practice.
“Based on evidence, yoga and mindfulness is becoming professionally researched and the benefits are many. Research and program evaluations suggest that mind-body practices can provide significant relief from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and physical ailments,” said Beth.
However, availability, travel time and costs, time pressure, stigma, and feeling too shy to get involved are some of the reasons that our participants report not being able to access yoga in their communities. They already have demanding lifestyles and generally do little to support their own wellness. Our classes offer them real teachers, individual support, a community of like-minded individuals, time for themselves, relief from social isolation and lifelong yoga and mindfulness skills.
We began teaching much-needed anxiety courses and then our partnerships grew with the delivery of various programs including Auslan Yoga for the deaf community, rural and remote, refugee, indigenous, wheelchair, seniors, teens, people with multiple sclerosis and underprivileged women. Each course has been free for participants, tailored for participants with specialist teachers and set outcomes
We are now in our second year of offering rural and remote yoga in Queensland, thanks to our funding partner Rural Doctors Foundation. Rural Doctors Foundation’s mission “for rural and remote communities to enjoy healthy lives and access quality local care through innovations, research, and inspiration” aligned to what we were trying to achieve at The Yoga Partnership.
In 2021 we had over 610 people attend free online classes and in 2022 we are now offering our weekly classes as well as specialist beginners, anxiety, men’s, pregnancy and chair yoga classes.
The Yoga Partnership can offer free programs for rural participants online, using Zoom to teach classes, meaning people can only be seen by the teacher during class.
Participants receive support to set up their technology and yoga space, receive a welcome one on one phone call to discuss any injuries or concerns then participate in the classes and often, a coffee catch up afterwards.
Our teachers get to know their participants, classes are live, and our teachers can see all the participants and can offer modifications or adjustments based on ability and participant needs in real-time.
As well as the classes, our online yoga classes also offer connection, groups of people coming together from across Queensland – connecting, talking, and sharing after class which is just as important for your mental health. This connection and group support help to overcome feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
There are various community organisations that get involved, supporting each other at a local level. We have worked with Begonia Sports Club, successfully gaining funding to install an internet connection at the club and then offering weekly classes to their group. Balonne Shire Council and South West Hospital and Health Service offer community-led classes to their regions in addition to online classes.
The results and personal outcomes are a testament to the need for this type of support.
“In our most recent survey, 92% of respondents reported improved mental health.”
“I look forward to every Thursday morning, and I can’t believe how quickly the hour goes before the yoga class is over.It is my only opportunity to participate in an exercise class of any kind as I live on a remote cattle station, and I love the friendly atmosphere and the total support and encouragement from the teachers. My strength and flexibility are both improving, but it’s the improvement in my mental health I’m noticing the most. When I get stressed or anxious, my thoughts go to yoga” – The Yoga Partnership participant.
If you or someone you know would benefit from the yoga classes provided by The Yoga Partnership, visit the link below to sign up! RRMH is always supportive of anything that is beneficial for your mental health.
Beth: 0411 628 417
Amy: 0466 579 708