"The Yoga in Healthcare Alliance (YIHA) is a social enterprise set up to widen access to people who could benefit from yoga – recognising the growing evidence of yoga to reduce disease-related suffering and deaths caused by non-communicable diseases.  YIHA is fast establishing itself as a major force to increase adoption of yoga in NHS social prescribing schemes, occupational health, community services and workplace stress reduction

In parallel with the growing interest in wellness and mindfulness practices, the role of yoga is evolving as a ‘whole body and mind fitness solution’ to alleviate some of the ills of modern society — inactivity, information overload, disconnection and alienation, insomnia, stress and anxiety.  

The evolving role of yoga has been helped by the increasing body of evidence showing yoga’s benefits in reducing low back pain, alleviating depression, anxiety and stress, and managing diabetes, cardiovascular problems and cancer. A recent survey conducted by Opinium Research showed that when people who do not currently practice yoga, were presented with this evidence, two in five would be likely to try it.

This high level of interest in the general population shows that there is significant potential for yoga to enhance self-care, prosocial behaviour and individual health ownership and should earn its place in NHS social prescribing and corporate wellness schemes.

Speaking at the 2017 International Day of Yoga (with ‘yoga for health’ recognised by the UN’s sustainability programme  for 2030),  Dr Nata Menabde, Executive Director of the New York Office of the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that: “Yoga is a practice that can be relevant to all ages, relevant to all cultures, irrespective of what socio-economic status people represent. It can be used to unite our complex and difficult world to promote not only healthy lifestyles but to promote peace and security in the world.” 

I am pleased to be involved with other national stakeholders from across NHS, policy, third sector and commercial organisations all coming together to help put yoga on the map for all those who can benefit in society."

Letter written by Lord Stone of Blackheath, Founder of All Party Parliamentary Group for Yoga