About us

Our mission is to expand access to trauma-informed yoga programs to heal and connect communities.

What We Do

Yoga Outreach has been supporting adults and youth through trauma-informed yoga programming within community service facilities, across British Columbia, since 1996.

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Our Programs+

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We Serve:

  • Women and children fleeing violence
  • Incarcerated & at-risk youth
  • Those accessing mental health services
  • Those recovering from addictions
  • Women in jail

Our weekly programs offer individuals an opportunity to heal from trauma by learning to reconnect with and feel safe within their bodies (a key element in trauma recovery), while also re-establishing a sense of social safety by participating in group classes within facilities they are already accessing and familiar with. Yoga Outreach program participants learn and practice techniques in order to cultivate safe and compassionate relationships with their bodies. Our trauma-informed programs provide participants with choice, a sense of community connection, and tools to draw from in order to self-regulate and manage daily circumstances.

Our weekly programs offer individuals an opportunity to heal from trauma by learning to reconnect with and feel safe within their bodies (a key element in trauma recovery), while also re-establishing a sense of social safety by participating in group classes within facilities they are already accessing and familiar with. Yoga Outreach program participants learn and practice techniques in order to cultivate safe and compassionate relationships with their bodies. Our trauma-informed programs provide participants with choice, a sense of community connection, and tools to draw from in order to self-regulate and manage daily circumstances.

become a facility partner

Yoga Outreach's past 20 years of community service has only been possible thanks to volunteers and individuals like YOU who donate to support the healing of your community.

Training for Yoga Instructors & Community Support Professionals+

Our volunteers are qualified yoga instructors who are then further trained on how to deliver trauma-informed and strengths-based yoga classes through our 18 hour trauma-informed yoga training (The Yoga Outreach Core TrainingTM).

We provide ongoing training, mentorship, and community building opportunities to yoga teachers and community support professionals, in order to enhance the delivery and accessibility of the benefits of yoga in service settings.

our training programs

Reaching Out with Yoga Project

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Trauma-informed Yoga for Women and Children in Shelters, led by the British Columbia Society of Transition Houses in partnership with Yoga Outreach, will deliver and test trauma-informed yoga programs in 24 women’s shelters and transition houses across BC. The program will promote physical and mental health to women and children who have experienced family violence. Trauma-informed practice is based on an understanding of the impact of violence on people's lives, and focuses on respect and empowerment. This project is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Trauma-informed yoga for justice involved youth

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Yoga Outreach has received funding from the Department of Justice Canada to develop, run, and evaluate a two year pilot project that will provide trauma-informed yoga programming alongside drug treatment programs for justice involved youth. Our project will evaluate the efficacy of trauma-informed yoga (TIY) programming in enhancing health outcomes such as self-regulation and impulse control for justice involved youth within drug treatment programs.

Our project will also provide training to support staff within the facilities receiving TIY programming and evaluate the effects of yoga based tools within their work with youth and for their own self-care.
We anticipate the project will reveal positive outcomes for both youth and their support workers in measures of: Anxiety and stress levels, Overall well-being, Ability to self-regulate both emotionally and physically, Reduction of physical pain, Enhanced sleep and somatic experience.

​In addition to specific outcomes for youth, we also expect the project will provide information to the justice sector, yoga sector, and public health sector on trauma-informed yoga as a health promoting intervention for justice-involved youth in drug treatment programs, including how these outcomes may be experienced differently according to age, gender, and ethnic/racial background.

By establishing the viability and success of implementing TIY programs in conjunction with existing drug treatment programs for youth, we expect to increase knowledge about the process of implementing such programs in terms of accessibility, community capacity, and program sustainability: Ultimately enhancing program delivery for youth in the justice system and youth deemed 'at-risk'.
We are very excited to be working with facility partners throughout the province of BC on this pilot. This project is funded by the Department of Justice Canada.

How Yoga Outreach Started

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In 1996, Annabelle Tame, from the Prison Phoenix Trust in England, spoke about teaching yoga within the prison system. Inspired by Annabelle’s talk and under the direction of Sandra Sammartino, a group of yoga teachers came together to bring yoga into the correctional systems within BC. Yoga Outreach programs quickly gained notoriety and it was not long before we had programs in mental health, addiction’s recovery, and women’s and youth groups. In its early years Yoga Outreach programs were taught by graduates of Sandra’s teacher’s training program.

In 2003, Sandra handed off the reigns of Yoga Outreach to Beth Sampson. It was Sandra and her students that planted the seeds, and in turn it has been Beth, that nurtured Yoga Outreach into maturity in her role as Executive Director and then stewarding Yoga Outreach as the Board President until retiring in 2014.
Yoga Outreach has grown from this foundation, expanding to serve a diverse range of facilities. The love, commitment, and passion which began that project continues today.

Yoga Outreach became a registered Canadian charity in 2007. Today, our programs are taught by certified yoga teachers who have completed Yoga Outreach's Core Training™ in order to deliver trauma-informed yoga programs within social service settings.

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Yoga Outreach became a registered
Canadian charity in 2007. Today, our programs are taught by certified yoga teachers who have completed Yoga Outreach's Core Training™ in order to deliver trauma-informed yoga programs within social service settings.