Strengthening Social Service Providers

Supporting clients in crisis is what social service professionals do. Juggling at-risk clients is a large piece of the puzzle and they do it every day.  Learning how to mindfully support these vulnerable populations while practising self-care is where the Yoga Outreach Society steps in.

Thanks in part to a $5,000 grant from the Envision Financial Community Endowment, Yoga Outreach is able to enhance the delivery of services by improving the training for social service professionals. Reaching beyond yoga, this program is about supporting clients through trauma and teaching front-line staff new skills to address marginalized youth and adults in crisis. Role playing and visualization techniques are just two of the ways used to help guide and strengthen the social service toolbox.

Using Yoga in Your Work is a teaching module that trains counselors, support and healthcare workers in the effective and compassionate applications of specific therapeutic breathing, grounding techniques and meditation when working with clients. The training is specifically designed to meet the needs of front line support workers, care providers, social workers, occupational therapists and teachers across various social service settings. It assists these professionals in addressing client symptoms associated with trauma including emotional and physical regulation.

Founded in 1996, The Yoga Outreach Society partners with volunteer yoga instructors, social service agencies, community organizations and correctional facilities to provide mindfulness based yoga to those at-risk.

Strength based, trauma informed and student centred, Yoga Outreach programs serve men, women and youth facing homelessness, mental health, poverty, violence, addiction, trauma and even imprisonment in the Lower Mainland.

“Training front-line support staff in this way is a new and innovative idea,” says Delanie Dyck, Executive Director of The Yoga Outreach Society.  “Many of the populations we serve embody multiple risk factors and this training will contribute to the long term stability of social service providers and their clients.”

Participant Feedback:

  • “So helpful – loved the practicality and experiential aspects as well as the theoretical groundwork. Good balance.”
  • “…recognized the value of mindfulness for clients with trauma histories, techniques are simple accessible, and can be easily taught to clients in any situation.”
  • “I just wanted to thank you again for coming… and doing the session with us last week, it was perfect for our staff! And really helpful both in our work and also for our own self care.”

With more than 1,300 yoga classes taught annually, Yoga Outreach currently supports 33 volunteer yoga instructors in a wide variety of settings including treatment and recovery centres, seniors’ residences and correctional facilities. In addition, a small team of five community engagement volunteers work with special projects and capacity building. For more information, please visit