Yoga for Refugees evening brings London City to the matt

With passion for yoga among Londoners on the rise, "See you on the Matt," has become the latest catch phrase at a social gatherings.

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Photo: Matthew Burling
Photo: Matthew Burling
Rachel Rigby

Rachel Rigby

Before working at Finbuzz, Rachel spent 12 years at international M&A information provider Mergermarket, most recently as head of special coverage. Her role included liaising with European CEOs and reporting for the Company’s risk arbitrage product dealReporter.
Rachel’s various interests lie in the travel, media, clean energy and healthcare sectors. As a journalist, she has specialised in covering large private equity transactions and M&A deals, including deals executed by the buy-out firms such as 3i, BC Partners, Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and KKR to name a few. Rachel has also worked on numerous high profile deals, including the Kraft takeover of Cadbury, the British Airways merger with Iberia, and the Newscorp stake in BSKYB.She has written articles for Sunday Business, Breaking Views, Media Week, Financial News, and appeared on CNBC.

Rachel is a qualified PADI Dive Master and holds a liberal arts degree in European History from Smith College, Massachusetts.
Rachel Rigby

It certainly was on International Yoga day at Lindley Hall. More than one hundred yoga enthusiasts, – yogi (as Finbuzz likes to call them) stretched their limbs to Jivamukti style yoga, across the massive hall, all in support of charity.

They moved in synch on their yoga matts, to soothing music by producer, Amir Amor of Rudimental.  The feeling of complete zen permeated the vast hall, which was decked in colourful flowers to mark the occasion.

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Matthew Burling
Matthew Burling

The evening was organised by Ourmala, a London based charity focused on helping Refugees. The magical YOGA FOR REFUGEES event was held to raise funds in order that Ourmala, www.ourmala.com, can support an additional 250 women and children in crisis.
As part of Refugee Week 2016, Ourmala invited yoga instructor Emma Henry to lead the class. After Emma’s 2 hour invigorating yoga session, yogis sat on their matts to socialise and tuck into sushi sponsored by Itsu, washed down by coconut water from Vita Coco.

The chatting only stopped when enough speeches were given at the end of the evening and raffle results announced.

Emily Brett, CEO of Ourmala, described how she had found her life’s calling in helping refugee women and children.

“I realised the moment I started working to help refugees that this was my calling. We can never imagine the traumatic events that some refugees have experienced. To be able to help them get their lives back is extremely rewarding from a humanitarian perspective. ” #

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Flora Wilke, a PR professional at EY was happy to participate in the yoga and said, “I feel that being part of an event that helps people unite and integrate, fulfils our purpose. In a world where there is so much disruption it’s important to remember values. I particularly like the yoga aspect as it brings unity of the body, spirit and soul.”

The HBF is a human rights charity based in London that works with Ourmala to help refugees. Founded by Helen Bamber in 2005 it provides therapeutic care, medical consultation, legal protection and practical support to survivors of human rights violations.

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Jeff Green, the CEO of GP Corporate Finance, and one of the sponsors of the event said. “I have a company that puts women on boards http://balancedboards.net. I believe in helping women in all ways I can. Yoga deeply empowers women and so I am happy to support this cause and women in need.”

Photo: Matthew Burling
Photo: Matthew Burling

Yoga deeply empowers women and so I am happy to support this cause and women in need.

Nicole Odafe, is a refugee from Nigeria, and part of the Helen Bamber Foundation (HBF) since 2009. Nicole said, “After going through such rough patches in my life if was hard to regain trust in people. Seeking asylum wasn’t easy, you never knew where you would spend the night, where you would be next. If it wasn’t for various organisations such as Ourmala and the Helen Bamber Foundation, I don’t know what I would have done. I think tonight is a great event. Yoga is used as a treatment for inner well being and helped me find some inner stability and help with anxiety, which came from my past traumatic life. I now have a wonderful husband and am a happy mother of two, things have worked out well for me. ”
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Heather Mason, the founder of the Minded institute, was also a sponsor of the event. “Because we work with the implementation of yoga therapy and mindfulness programmes for mental health it is extremely appropriate for us to work with Ourmala. Partnered with Ourmala, we can show how yoga can impact people with post traumatic stress disorder. Ourmala provides a vital service to refugees because even though the government provides housing and finance for the refugees, we still need to give them well being and community support.

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David Haigh, a management consultant, was on the sidelines of the yoga floor. “I believe in refugees being welcomed so I am here despite not wanting to participate in the yoga. London has always had a big immigrant population. We need that going forward and charity’s like Ourmala, expedite the introduction to the British values. ”

 

Photo: Matthew Burling
Photo: Matthew Burling

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