Print Posted 08/08/2017 in Community

Instill conference

Instill conference

The Teen Yoga Foundation’s Instill conference is now in its 3rd year.  For many years we had been training people to teach young people yoga, and we were aware of a need to further the conversation around this area, bringing together educators, researchers and yoga practitioners. The first conference in 2015 was set up to respond to this need. It was a highly successful event; Dr Sat Bir Khalsa of the Harvard School of Medicine, one of the leading researchers in the field gave a keynote outlining the outcomes from the last 30 years of his research into the impacts of yoga on young people. We also had the honour of listening to the experienced psychologist Lucy Arnsby-Wilson on the impact of yoga on Autism and ADHD. Her talk gave rise to many discussions around the use of yoga as a Special Needs measure in schools, especially by Teaching Assistants.

Dr Madden, a Public Health Doctor – gave a very interesting talk on her work within the field and especially on how the government is looking to create interventions to prevent mental health and obesity among young people in the UK. Dr Vaishnavi Madden, a TeenYoga student herself, found that yoga would be a very effective tool in this area.

The highlight of the conference, was the key note by the well-known and well-loved educationalist and biographer Sir Anthony Seldon. Sir Anthony cut an impressive figure as he spoke freely about the importance of stillness for young people and the importance of yoga to him personally throughout his life.

After this first event, feedback from participants indicated that a two-day conference was the next step. In 2016 we were able to extend the conversations, covering a range of topics that our delegates had identified as important, including Mindfulness, Yoga for SEN and yoga for mental health. We invited experts in the fields, including Yoga Campus’ Dr Lisa Kaley Isley and Heather Mason from the Minded Institute. We were very excited to hear the latest update from the MYRIAD project (mindfulness in schools project) and also had the pleasure of hearing from Nic Dakin, Shadow Secretary for Schools and Chris Ruane, MP, about the impact of Mindfulness within Government.

Now in 2017, we are returning to a one-day format, to keep the cost accessible. We are also offering more hands-on workshops during the day, to help build skills for the classroom and the yoga classes. With experts in the field of schools, prison work, PRU, psychology and counselling, we will be offering a wide array of interactive sessions to further explore the art of using yoga to reach young people in truly transformative ways.

The focus in 2017 is very much on the practical aspects of yoga in secondary schools, and this will include input from Sport England about how to access funding, a key issue in our community.  Lee Atkins, of the Anna Freud Institute in London will discuss effective measurement of the outcomes and impact of yoga, which is also vital to provide evidence of the value of yoga for young people, for example in the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in the NHS, in which we participate.

But perhaps the most valuable part of the Instill conference in the conference this year will be a session led directly by young people, about their experience of yoga. Our Youth Patron, Robin Watkins – Davis will host a panel of teens to talk about their experience and their perceptions of the current state of affairs in the UK in relation to mental health, yoga and education.

If you want to find out more, you can check out the Teen Yoga Foundation website for profiles and interviews with all the contributors and the detailed schedule of this years’ conference in London.  It promises to be an important, vibrant and inclusive discussion, focused on the core of what it is to teach yoga in schools in the UK today.

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