Soham offers yoga and mindfulness training for teens
A free, month-long pilot programme has paid dividends for Soham, the social enterprise that uses yoga and mindfulness to help young people grow into their best selves and live their best lives.
Tiffany Paynter, the founder and chief executive of Soham, launched the pilot in March – and then took data, findings and testimonies from the programme to potential sponsors.
And now, BF&M Limited has come in as the lead sponsor of Soham’s teen yoga after-school programme at the Bermuda Society of Arts for 14 to 18-year-olds.
The programme costs $65 and is limited to 15 participants. It runs every Tuesday and Thursday for eight sessions beginning next week and running through October 13.
Two further series of eight sessions, also sponsored by BF&M, will follow back-to-back, with the programme wrapping up in December.
Ms Paynter is a graduate of the fifth cohort of the Ignite Bermuda entrepreneurial accelerator, and recipient of the cohort’s Entrepreneur’s Choice Award, which was voted on by her peers. She is now a resident adviser at Ignite.
She said: “When we launched the pilot programme earlier this year I paid for everything myself because we were using a lean start-up approach.
“Ignite teaches a ‘build-measure-learn’ process to create something your customer truly values. And we learnt some valuable lessons from the pilot that have shaped the direction of the programme and enabled us to reach out to companies such as BF&M with the confidence that our teen yoga programmes are not only viable but impactful.”
She added: “Last year the United Nations issued a policy brief urging the need for action on mental health issues for children and teens. Our yoga and mindfulness programmes are a low cost high impact response to this growing crisis.
“The NHS [in Britain] also warned that 75 per cent of young people struggling with mental health won't receive the help they need. Which means that young people need tools such as yoga and mindfulness more than ever to give them agency over their own health and well being.
“We help teens to learn how to control their body and difficult emotions through breath, movement and meditation. Our pilot programmes and camp have shown us what hundreds of scientific studies have proven – that yoga helps us on several levels.”
Ms Paynter said 100 per cent of participants in the pilot said they benefited from their time with Soham.
Eighty-two per cent felt less anxious after the programme, and 72 per cent reported that they felt more calm, more peaceful, and better in their mind.
She said “a little yoga every day keeps the blues away. And I believe our children and teens should be given tools and practices that they can use in real time when they wake up, or get on the bus, or during school to feel better in their bodies and minds.
“I want our young people to fall in love with yoga and for it to be a source of joy and empowerment in their lives.”
BF&M’s sponsorship includes an in-kind component consisting of journals, pens, and water bottles for 45 participants.
The journals and pens are used during a free-write reflection component at the beginning of each class.
Abigail Clifford, group president and CEO of BF&M Limited, said: “BF&M’s Livewell programme and philosophy are built around the premise that mental and physical wellness programmes can help improve health and quality of life.
“Tiffany Paynter’s commitment and important work aligns with our view. We are proud to support an initiative which gives teens the opportunity and tools to prioritise their well being in a stressful world.”
Ms Paynter said: “The location at the BSoA offers a neutral ground where students from private and public schools can come together twice a week and break down some of the preconceived notions they may have about one another.”