International children’s cleft charity, Smile Train, is excited to announce that their annual fundraiser, Yoga for Smiles, will return for 2021 – helping to bring some much needed ‘zen’ to our lives after a challenging year for many of us.
Yoga for Smiles encourages friends, families, colleagues, and students across the UK to practice yoga whilst raising vital funds for Smile Train – so they can continue to support free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally.
To help lift spirits and keep the nation smiling, Smile Train is encouraging people to ‘Give 5, Take 5’ on International Day of Yoga (21 June) – by taking a five-minute break out of the day to stretch, breathe deeply, and smile, then donate £5 to Smile Train.
Yoga focuses on the body, breath, and movement and can be a brilliant tool to manage and reduce stress – an emotion that has been heightened for many of us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. So whether you choose to carry out your 5 minutes of yoga at home, in the gym or at your local park, you don’t need to bend over backwards to get involved. Five beginner poses to try include:
1. Child’s pose: This is a very calming pose that gently stretches your lower back, hips and thighs.
2. Downward-facing dog: This pose helps to strengthen the arms, shoulders and back.
3. Tree pose: This can be carried out to improve balance and strengthen the core.
4. Cat pose: A simple pose to help stretch the spine, back muscles and neck. You can couple this with ‘Cow pose’, which stretches the front of the torso and throat area to create a calming warm up.
5. Bridge pose: Acting as an accessible backbend for most people, this pose is a great way to strengthen the back, glutes, hamstrings, and legs.
Many children worldwide with cleft do not have access to proper treatment, which can permanently impact their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To address this issue, Smile Train empowers local medical professionals in 70+ countries with the training, funding, and resources they need to provide free cleft surgery and other forms of essential care to children in their own communities.
Any funds raised through the Yoga for Smiles initiative will allow Smile Train to continue its’ life-changing work, giving more children the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives. So, get stretching and help to change the world one smile at a time!
Those taking part in the fundraiser are encouraged to share their pose on social media, tagging five friends to do the same and including the hashtag #YogaForSmiles.