University of Westminster

Integrating yoga into the health system

The University of Westminster is leading the way in helping to integrate yoga into the health system.

They teamed up with the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance (YiHA) and the College of Medicine to host the first Yoga in Healthcare Conference in the UK. The conference aimed to bring together leaders and pioneers in yoga, healthcare and health policy, to identify a road map to integrating yoga into prescribed healthcare.

Social Prescribing is already in place in some parts of the NHS and allows GPs and other health and social care professionals to refer patients to personalised activities to improve their health and wellbeing.

Initial studies show that yoga could reduce hospital and GP visits by 20%. For every £1 you spend on yoga, you can save the NHS £4.

Prince Charles provided an opening written speech for the conference outlining support for yoga in healthcare, stating that “yoga builds discipline, self-reliance and supports self-care, all of which contribute to improved health.”

The University of Westminster is currently carrying out an evaluation of a 10-week Yoga4Health Programme run by the West London Clinical Commissioning Group. Early feedback from participants has shown that yoga sessions increased mobility, improved ability to manage stress, increased confidence and reduced aches and pains.