Jessica Hobson is the General Manager of The Yoga Foundation, an Australian based certified charity that delivers evidence-based yoga programs to people living with mental illness and experiencing disadvantage that prevents them from accessing yoga.
Jessica, do you practice yoga personally?
I went to my first yoga class when I was living in Hong Kong in 1999 - and didn’t look back. I have enjoyed practising regularly since then. It is a very important part of my life, my wellbeing, a constant friend, and something I can see myself doing forever, as yoga is perfect for all ages and life stages.
Why did you start yoga and what benefits have you experienced throughout your own journey?
I started yoga 20 years ago because I wanted to try something new with my friends. We enjoyed attending classes together - it was really quite social. I benefit in many ways: I have tools and techniques to manage stress or tension: something that is part of all our lives. I love that yoga offers so many key elements of living well: keeping active, being mindful, breathe, practising gratitude. Yoga is the whole package and adapts with you as your life changes.
What are the services offered by The Yoga Foundation?
For the last ten years, The Yoga Foundation has designed and delivered yoga programs for people who can’t access yoga easily. We work with a range of people in hardship with mental health concerns including:
- at-risk youth
- women affected by domestic violence
- homeless people
- psychiatric patients
- forensic patients
- asylum seekers.
People benefit in many ways from social connection, psychological and emotional changes to improving their physical condition. Many of our beneficiaries are dealing with complex conditions and struggle to find activities that suit their needs: we find that our programs enable them to achieve their goals, grow their self-esteem and confidence, build resilience and a sense of agency. It’s wonderful to witness.
How did you become involved with The Yoga Foundation?
I had enjoyed a long career in publishing and was looking for a role with social impact. That was five years ago: working as the General Manager for The Yoga Foundation is extremely fulfilling. I absolutely love it.
What is your favourite moment working with The Yoga Foundation?
My favourite moments are when a beneficiary feels transformed by yoga and embeds it into their lives.
Two of my many favourite moments are:
- Seeing a 15-year-old boy with ADHD and an extremely challenging home life sit calmly, following the teacher’s pranayama techniques, and asking for more yoga classes
- Hearing a woman badly affected by domestic violence say that yoga is a gift.
Yoga doesn’t suit everyone - but it does work for many and for them it can be a revelation.
Do you have a favourite gesture, prayer or teaching you’d like to share with Asana Blue's YogaHUB community?
"Anyone can breathe. Therefore anyone can do yoga”. T.K.V. Desikachar
We teach breath focused yoga and our mission is to make yoga accessible to those in need - most of who feel they can't do yoga. They can.
Where can our YogaHUB Community find you?
The Yoga Foundation run outreach programs so we do not have a studio; we teach across Sydney and greater Sydney at hospitals, specialised high schools and other NGOs. Check out our website, social platforms and video for more information.
Yoga Foundation teacher Harriet, Mission Australia Program student Wendy and Jessica Hobson (Right)
At ASANA BLUE we believe everyone has the right to live outside the bounds of poverty, depression and anxiety.