Scottish Parliamentary Reception on Yoga: Mental Health and Wellbeing.

l-r Robert Nesbitt SAMH, Colin Mackay, Gary McLaughlin and Angus MacDonald MSP

l-r Robert Nesbitt SAMH, Colin Mackay, Gary McLaughlin and Angus MacDonald MSP

Bringing to life how yoga can support positive mental health

Walking Football Scotland trustees Colin Mackay and Chairman Gary McLaughlin joined others at a special parliamentary reception in the Scottish Parliament, sponsored by Angus MacDonald MSP on Tuesday 2nd of September.

 The event highlighted the benefits Yoga has on our mental health and acknowledged SAMH, who were celebrating the successful launch of their Mental Health Charter.

 The Charter has now attracted 114 signatories from sports governing bodies, local authorities and clubs from across Scotland.

Lindsey D Porter of Yoga-Nu-U led the discussions and introduced the workshops and demonstrations on the benefits Yoga brings to mental health.

 The speakers were inspirational and included Agnes Houston MBE who has experienced dementia for over 12 years.

She told the audience: “Dementia is about more than memory; yoga is more than exercise."

 John Arthur shared his experiences of a traumatic upbringing, the impacts of this on his life, and his battle with alcohol and drug addiction.  He spoke movingly about the benefits of Yoga and how it transformed his life and both were great advocates for the power of a healthy lifestyle and good mental health through yoga – proving once again that physical activity through sport or recreation has a positive impact on our lives and the lives of others.  

Robert Nesbitt, the Head of Physical Activity and Sport, for SAMH talked about the benefits of physical activity on our mental health.

 He added: “We all have mental health, but that doesn’t mean we have to struggle with it, there are so many opportunities out there within the physical activity and sports communities, but we have to ensure that there is no barriers to engaging, participating and achieving.”

 WFS Trustee Colin MacKay said: “The evening was fantastic and everyone who spoke did so with strength, passion and humour. Agnes and John’s stories were inspiring and will stay with me for a long time.”

WFS were one of the early organisations to sign up to the Charter, declare our support and create an action plan to demonstrate our commitment to promoting mental health and wellbeing.  We have been engaging with SAMH in the promotion of activities, whilst they are providing resources for affiliated groups that supports, raises awareness and makes us appreciate how physical and mental health are equally important to our general wellbeing.

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