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Wellbeing Programme for Long Covid & ME/CFS Testimonials

"  YFL classes have been and continue to be a lifeline for me during the most challenging period of my life.
I am so grateful that the Barnet post Covid clinic recommended these classes to me last September. 

At that point the clinic respiratory physio had been working with me to help my dysfunctional breathing pattern which was seriously affecting me, with breathlessness, air hunger etc. I’d been advised to try breathing exercises for 2 minutes, 3 times a day- which I found very difficult and often couldn’t sustain good breathing technique for 2 minutes.

During my very first YFL class the teacher guided us through breathing exercises in a way that miraculously helped me to breathe comfortably and fully for over half an hour.  With regular classes 3 times a week I have since been able to gradually improve to the point that the respiratory physio is really pleased with my progress! 

There are many other measureable improvements from the classes:
    I can sometimes calm palpitations from the class breathing techniques;
  The ‘body scan’ technique helps to locate tensions that affect breathing;
  The way the classes help us to activate ‘rest and digest’ makes an enormous difference and allows more effective rest- essential when living with severe fatigue. 

I believe that the YFL classes have helped me more than anything else on this journey.

The kindness and support of the teachers and community are so deeply valuable. This is such an isolating situation and when waiting lists for counselling services are long this support can make an enormous difference. Some members of the class have said it’s been lifesaving."

"When I first came across the YFLP’s long covid online classes, I couldn’t believe they existed. I was so ill, and health care professionals still couldn’t tell me why. No one around me understood how it felt, or how I could get better. Recovering from long covid--or even just getting a bit better enough to have something distantly resembling my old life--had become a years-long project that I didn’t have the capacity to take on alone.


I started attending all three long covid classes each week and immediately started to feel social, mental, physical, and respiratory relief and progress. I didn’t realise how much I needed to laugh or commiserate with other people like me and to hear their stories, which were so similar to my own. There’s a peace in being with people, even virtually, who know how it feels to be this sick with long covid. And after constantly advocating for myself and explaining a misunderstood, invisible illness, it's a real gift to have the yoga instructors simply listen to how we feel and respond with sessions tailored to what helps us most.


Physically, YFLP’s long covid sessions slowly helped me feel some ownership over my body again: my strength improved in a safe, manageable way, and I was able to discover ways to soothe my constantly-sore muscles.


My breathing, which requires regular maintenance and practice even after dedicated respiratory physiotherapy sessions, has improved over time. This was particularly due to the Tuesday class, which, thankfully, specifically addressed the breathlessness experienced by many with long covid.


Mentally, and socially, I have felt less isolated during the essential ten minute group discussion part of the classes. I've carried that feeling into the rest of my day, making the more difficult days feel a bit more manageable.


I've since been able to take what I've learned in these sessions and apply them in my daily life. I've managed a part time return to work, and I'm hoping to be able to increase my hours even more. I'm finally, slowly, coming back to something that resembles my old life. And I always know that, on worse days, when my smyptoms flare, or I have a crash, and I don't think I can handle another period of worse health after all my progress, I can return to the group who understands the ups and downs of navigating life with long covid and take part in a yoga session which will calm my nervous system, slow my breath, and help me rest.


All of this, crucially, is available with no financial barrier to entry. In a state of constant illness, and desperate to return to a full life of work and hobbies and family, every decision—even ones which could benefit health—becomes a stressful one to weigh.


YFLP eliminates that additional barrier faced by so many who can’t afford to pay for relief, accessible community, and genuine physical and respiratory help. It’s more than a lifeline, and the fact that it exists gives me hope that eventually, we’ll all get better."

"I'm Leanne one of the people that access yfl. We know that LC is continuing to impact on 100000 people in the UK. Despite this services for us have been limited and continue to be reduced with funding cuts and calls to put COVID behind us. For so many of us, we can't just forget about COVID because it impacts severely on every aspect of our life. Consequently for many of us. We have gone from being vibrant. Hard working, passionate people to a  world that has become extremely small. Mainly at home or in bed, mainly isolated because of fatigue and sensory overload. Missing life as it continues around us. Most of us have lost our jobs or are able to work much less. Impacting significantly on us financially. 

LC appears to disproportionately affect women, people that have had difficult early adverse experiences including trauma or already faced other inequalities around health and education. 

Other programs require us to pay when we can't afford even the basics, they require us to leave the house when we can barely move from our beds or they don't provide classes that are out of reach physically which can cause longer term disability.
Claire and yoga for life has removed all those barriers to doing movement and breathwork at a level we can manage and for free 4 times a week. The teachers are specially trained and provide support guidance and beautifully facilitate what has become an essential community. For those of us that most severe, we have quietly disappeared from the world, unable to advocate for ourselves. So no one knows we are missing. YFL has given us a voice, a space to gently move, improve our health, to share, a place to feel seen and understood. We share resources, research and most importantly hope.

Many people have recovered and left partly thanks to this programme, many of us feel this has literally saved our life. It helps us with our physical and mental wellbeing and is bringing us back to life. To lose this valuable resource and community would be devastating to us all. We want to pledge our support for the project and enable to  understand why supporting the project you are reaching and supporting the most vulnerable people that can't access care or support."

"The Yoga for Life Project has truly been a lifeline for me.  I don't know where I would be without it, that is a scary thought.   I caught COVID at work in January 2022. I had fairly mild symptoms initially. I then developed more and more post-viral symptoms. I have significant cognitive impairment, post exertional fatigue, neuropathic pain and about 30 other symptoms. I am/was an NHS employee but even I still struggled to navigate the system and find the support I needed.  My long covid was just too severe for what was being offered and every time I received any intervention I deteriorated due to post exertional symptom exacerbation.  I discovered The Yoga for Life Project through an online long covid support group in December 2022 and have never looked back.  It was there where I learnt to breathe again, to let my body truly rest to recover, to engage in gentle movement that didn't make me worse and, importantly, it was there that I met a community that embraced me in my loneliest and darkest times.  Now people with long covid are signposted to The Yoga for Life Project from NHS long covid services because what they provide is recognised as being so beneficial for people with long covid.  As the spotlight on covid is reducing, so is funding for covid services.  I've seen service after service for long covid close.  This project is a vital lifeline for us physically, mentally and emotionally and I hope it can remain so for those of us who still have long covid and for those who continue to develop it."

"I've been attending YFLP classes for over two years and they have been the most helpful and supportive thing in all my 3+ years with LC.  Their holistic, caring, knowledgeable, community and teachers allowing continuity of physical, mental, emotional, social support is unique and absolutely crucial.  Ive watched people arrive desperate and fearful finding safety and support in these groups over months blossoming to offer this in turn to newcomers as we learn to live with this complex disabling condition together.  This is a long term condition and we need long term communities.  This is the best and most holistic one i have found in all my searching.  The teachers are wonderful!!!"

"Since starting YFL sessions my quality of life has improved. My symptoms have been slowly decreasing, the teachers guide us with a much needed understanding, compassion & wisdom, and the support from the community has been a lifeline for me whilst I've been going through the most challenging, frightening & isolating  life changes I've ever experienced. I don't know what I'd do without my 3 weekly YFL sessions. It should be prescribed by NHS - truly remarkable. ❤️"

"I was referred to YFL just a few weeks ago by the post Covid clinic and even within my first YFL session I was able to improve my breathing and locate inner tensions.

Before my first YFL session I’d been advised by the respiratory physio to spend 3-5 minutes four times a day practising and controlling disordered breathing patterns. In the YFL sessions I’ve found I could control breathing better for long periods of time which was amazing !

This is an important, rare resource and a lifeline for many."

"The Yoga for Life Project has truly been a lifeline for me.  I don't know where I would be without it, that is a scary thought.  I am/was an NHS employee but I still struggled to navigate the system and find the support I needed.  My long covid was just too severe for what was being offered and every time I received any intervention I deteriorated due to post exertional symptom exacerbation.  I discovered The Yoga for Life Project through an online long covid support group and have never looked back.  It was there where I learnt to breathe again, to let my body truly rest to recover, to engage in gentle movement that didn't make me worse and, importantly, it was there that I met a community that embraced me in my loneliest and darkest times.  Now people with long covid are signposted to The Yoga for Life Project from NHS long covid services because what they provide is recognised as being so beneficial for people with long covid.  As the spotlight on covid is reducing, so is funding for covid services.  I've seen service after service for long covid close.  This project is a vital lifeline for us physically, mentally and emotionally and I hope it can remain so for those of us who still have long covid and for those who continue to develop it."

"I contracted Covid in August 2021 and thought I had got off lightly. It felt a bit like the flu but I was very very tired afterwards and took three months to get to a point where I felt okay to make a phased return into work.  Prior to covid I was a full-time social worker with a busy work life and when at home I was cycling about 6 miles each week for fun and I was the member of a samba band in addition to enjoying gardening and walking etc. I gradually got back to full-time working but wasn’t able to do everything that I could before. I stopped cycling and got my bike converted to an electric one but only used it once and I was attending the samba band sporadically. in August 2022, I came down with what could’ve been the flu virus (maybe covid?), and this brought all of my long Covid symptoms back with a vengeance. I got 3/4 day migraines, with only three days in between each one, the fatigue was pronounced, sleep was not restorative and fatigue was worse particularly after I tried to do anything. I sometimes have a fluttering heart and I get brain fog where I forget words that I would previously have been able to trot out with no problem. I get breathless walking up the stairs and don’t wash my hair so often as my arms are so tired! I have now been away from work again for almost a year and I don’t know what the future holds. I have been attending the yoga for life sessions since August 20 23, having been referred by my social prescriber through the long Covid service. this has given me a community of understanding, like-minded people. Running such sessions online requires huge skill due to the emotional nature of the shared experiences, the teachers hold the space very well and allow everyone who wants the opportunity to participate to do so in a safe and non-judgemental format. The classes have explored different kinds of yoga practices, which have been beneficial to me in terms of relaxation, and in particular, breathing.

The classes are used by people who can, for the most part no longer work through no fault of their own, and they provide the benefits outlined for all, irrespective of ability to pay."

"I was previously very well and active, at least five times doing high intensity workouts, swimming, spinning and weights at the gym. I worked full time in a very busy job as an educational psychologist. Always taking on more projects, always working hard and with passion. I have a wonderful husband and we live alone so were very sociable, always travelling. Seeing friends etc. I generally loved life and food and friends and work etc. Apart from when I had a bereavement. I had not taken even one sick day in at least the last five or more years. 

After getting my only  COVID infection in September 2022, I have had a range of debilitating symptoms. My symptoms appear to have worsened overtime.
I have been house.bound for well over a year and suffer with extreme fatigue. I'm unable to carry out almost all daily activities (struggle to brush my teeth, shower, prep food). I no longer go out more than 1 or 2 times a month, always with someone and more recently in a wheelchair. This is due to worsening symptoms and feeling unsteady or frozen/unable to take another step after a short distance. I have sensitivity to light, noise, temperature and movement in front of my eyes in or off screen (sometimes blurred vision or pulsing in my eye). This makes it very difficult to go out anywhere or see people, therefore I am really isolated.

When I found YFL it was amazing. Not just the practice but the knowledge and skill of the teachers to contain our bodies and our emotions/thoughts with such skill during group sharing and discussion. Finally I had found my tribe, a group of people that I could be me, unapologetic, no judgement, just care. Compassion. Understanding. This significantly reduced feeling a of being isolated, it improved my wellbeing. With every season it reduces my symptoms on the day and makes me happier. Over the year I have been engaging. I am also starting to see a real improvement in my overall condition. It's gentle, tailored to my needs and enabled me to participate no matter how good or bad the day is for me.

I am so grateful and can't thank Claire and the team enough. A beautiful idea. So powerful and so needed. Especially with no medical help and many long covid organisations having closed or closing due to lack of funding. I understand COVID will no longer be recognised by the NHS after march 2024. This leaves me feeling upset and left behind and excluded after being a key worker supporting others throughout the pandemic."

"I have been going to the online classes since aug 23 having been referred by a social prescriber with the long covid service. Running these group sessions online requires huge skill due to the emotional nature of the shared experiences. The teachers hold the space very well and allow everyone who wants the opportunity to participate. They make it a safe and non-judgmental forum which encourages openness and honesty. As a result I have felt connected to a community of people who understand and who are so willing to offer support to anyone who needs it. In terms of the yoga, this wasn’t something I had done prior to having long Covid. It has been a revelation. The classes have explored different sorts of practices which have been beneficial to me in terms of relaxation, and, in particular breathing. I can’t thank yoga for life enough, and so hope the classes can continue. The classes are used by people who can, for the most part, no longer work through no fault of their own and they provide the benefits outlined above for all, irrespective of ability to pay."  

"I’ve been attending Yoga for life project’s Long covid program religiously for a bit over a year and a half and it has had a huge impact on me. Both physically and mentally. Physically I have learnt to be with and regulate my body’s and nervous system’s reactions so that it is starting to become normalised, which means I not only have significantly less symptoms but I also have agency to regulate them when they flare up. Which in turns means I can have a more active life and have more capacity to do more of the things that will help me recover. It has also meant a lot psychologically. It has provided me with support, a community and people to offer my support to, make new friends and share in a very difficult and lonely journey, it has been nothing short of a life line. It has also help me give structure to my days, learn a lot of things about the body from the teachers and a range of information sharing from other people with the same condition. I am now 40% percent recovered and have seen a fair amount of people go through the program and thanks to it return to health and their old lives. I really means the world to me and to many others attending."

"The classes have meant a lot to me. Having a condition that doesn't have clear treatment or prognosis, the only option is management of symptoms. The yoga classes play a key role in managing my energy levels and pacing which helps manage all my symptoms. The other part of the classes which is so valuable is the community that comes with the class. Getting ill, I've had to stop working and spend a lot of time on my own at home. To have classes where I can seek advice and share experiences with other people going through the same thing makes an enormous difference both practically, in terms of my quality of life and emotionally. I know that many people using the classes have been significantly financially impacted by getting ill and so having free classes/subsidised classes is really the only way they can access this help and support.

Finally I just want to say Long Covid hasn't gone away and Covid hasn't gone away so this class is still very much needed."

"Joined Yoga for life a couple of months ago and for the first time in almost a year, I feel positive. Feel a strong connection with all in the group. Wish I had known earlier."

"Joined YFL in Nov 22 after months of having no support medical or otherwise from anyone. I was completely alone and there is no long COVID services or help in my area (still not seen any medical professionals except my GP twice in over a year). YFL became my life line, the community brought light to my days, gave me strength when I had none. Educated me about pacing, the power of yoga, mindfulness, being at peace with my body. I am house bound, I don't see anyone or manage any normal activities. These classes give routine to my week which helps my mental health. Give me connection to people that listen and understand. My LC symptoms are consistently better on the days I practice and help me focus enough to manage a small amount of work from home now."

"I love that the sessions are specifically tailored to meet our needs, I can't go out or manage any exercise. Due to POTs, I cannot stand and often pass out.. these classes are always presented with multiple options to help me manage my energy, my body and how I feel. This is unique to yfl".

"I'm relatively new to YFLP. Since LC in July 21 I felt I could not engage in those physically demanding yoga positions so did breathe work only.

I final accepted LC was a long haul illness and through  Covid Aid I was introduced to YFLP.

 I now feel less alone with the shared community, and in the moments of practice there some calm to my very busy mind and body. 
YFLP has made a difference since it made life more bearable and settled during practice.

YFLP was the first time in my long covid journey that I felt seen. The sense of community when this disease is so unknown is so important and being part of this group has helped me more than you can imagine.

Not only have I learned from others going through the same thing, I’ve also had something stable in my life where everything is unstable.

The yoga teachers are some of the most empathetic and compassionate people I’ve met who have helped me in my physical and mental journey while battling long covid. They have helped me more than some of my own doctors and I am so grateful to them and this programme. I hope it is able to continue.

The Yoga For Life Project has been a lifeline to me in the past year. I've gone from being mostly housebound to working full time. The power of connection is really important to me, even if I just listen rather than participate in group chat The teachers are absolutely wonderful and they make me feel so calm in their presence. I can't attend as often now because I work full time, but during a recent acute infection I knew that I'd be safe in the comfort of the group. The sessions have helped me to regulate my nervous system, helped me build some physical strength and has given me time to work with my breath.
I love being guided by the teachers who make me feel safe and knowing that it is a live session with connection with others who completely understand."

"Because the sessions are free of charge it is accessible to me. Similar sessions are available elsewhere but with a change which puts up barriers to myself and others in our healing journeys.
I can attribute a large proportion of my recovery to the work that the yoga for life project have done.
I am eternally grateful for them and that I found out about the opportunity to join

There are so many programmes out there but so many of us have lost our jobs, have to work less or have to prioritise paying for medication, cleaners, carers, more expensive pre-made food, taxis, heating our homes as we can't go out etc. all things we have to do in order to manage minimal quality of life. The financial pressure alongside increasing costs means other programmes are not accessible. The fact we can come for free. Meet others. Have the wisdom of the teachers and each other means it is truly accessible to all."

"To your group message this Eve, I have recently missed the yoga for life as colant fit it in with trying to do the rehab as I was doing the Tuesday session. I've really missed he sessions. It has a sense of community and you know you can join in as you are and that you can join in as much as you wish too, or not . It's nice to get to know faces of others that are there. The sessions I have done and helped ground and relax me and generally feel more relaxed and happier after."

"TYFLP has been a real lifeline for me since I’ve had Long Covid. The sessions have been the most helpful thing I’ve done for both my physical and mental health. They provide an invaluable community of people with Long Covid creating a vital space to engage with others experiencing this life changing and awful condition and to provide each other mutual support."

"I feel comforted by every session, seeing everyone's faces, knowing we're all in it together. To be able to turn up as I am is so amazing, whether I'm wide awake or struggling and in bed. The conversations are valuable too and the sense of wellbeing is like nothing else ❤️ I live in a rural part of Cornwall, so the sense of community is very important for me, especially during the day"

“I’m 53, live in Greenwich, SE London. I got Covid in March 2023. I’ve been mostly housebound since then. I’m unable to cook or prepare meals for myself, have to sit on a stool to shower, I can’t read or write much. My mobility is limited and I now walk with a stick. 

   A friend from a Long Covid rehab group recommended Yoga for Life to me. I’d done very little yoga in the past and was not sure how it could help me given how limited my movement in the last 18 months. 

   I’ve found the classes welcoming, calming, and accessible no matter how bad I am feeling. The class teachers show enormous compassion for us at our different stages in this new debilitating, chronic illness. 

   I can join the class, whether I’m flat out in bed or able to sit up and move a little more. After each class I feel so pleased I’ve done it and feel more grounded and positive.  

   The amazing thing about yoga for life is the community of long Covid allies it has developed. During each class before practice we share our experiences and our feelings. We lean on each other for support information and understanding. 

   Without yoga for life classes, my situation would feel very different. With yoga for life I feel accepted, understood and listened to. I’m regaining some confidence in moving my body. I’m also calmer and much less anxious.”

"Today is likely to be my last regular session as my phased return to work starts doing every morning next week. I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Lauren and Claire. It has been such a positive experience and have really felt it improve my progress in my recovery. Also an even bigger thank you to everyone else. Your feedback in the sessions and WhatsApp group has helped me not feel alone and supported. Also makes a huge difference seeing and hearing people rather than just whatsapp messages Hopefully I'll be able to dip in and attend occasionally but will miss all my new friends" - Steve

"TYFL’Ps classes have been a really important support for me in slowly recovering from Long Covid. The focus on mindful breathing and movement really helps my nervous system to calm so that my body can begin to heal. Being together with other 'Long Haulers’ also means I feel less strange and alone with this condition." - Amalavajra

"I have been attending the Yoga for Life project Long Covid classes since December 2020, since when my wellbeing has improved greatly. The classes are sensitively tailored to the needs of people with Long Covid in a variety of ways from breath work, to yoga for fatigue and guided conversation. I am unable to work at the moment, and taking part in classes has been a key element in my rehabilitation. Now, four months on, I can’t imagine how I would have made this amount of progress without the support of the Yoga for Life project. Hayley Newman, May 2021." - Hayley

"The classes have been excellent. It has been good to talk in a supportive group. My breathing, energy levels and fatigue have improved." - Jean

"The team at Yoga for Life have all been wonderful at providing support, serenity and a listening ear through their Long Covid programme.  I am very grateful for the work that they have put into it and it has really benefitted me both for my physical health and for my mental health.  They are a caring, gentle group who help people who are suffering to feel heard, and supported, and cared for.  I believe their programme should be able to continue for as long as people need it, because it is a healing, caring place, accessible to all, for people who really need this kind of help." - Judith 

"This trio of classes, which I discovered about 10months into my longcovid journey, were a real turning point for me.  They offered a caring community of supportive teachers and positive fellow long-covid’ers which was desperately needed.  The classes together offer a wonderful set of tools that cover a lot of the issues I’ve been struggling with.  They have helped become more comfortable with breathing, helped to explore ways of calming my nervous system without using breath as the main focus (which has been a barrier for many other relaxation techniques for me given my breathing issues) and given me hope and community.  I love seeing the familiar faces every week.  On weeks where I can’t attend for one reason or another, I notice the difference both in my body and in my mental resilience.  I wish these classes could get long term secure funding because they are such an amazingly critical part of what allowed me to turn a corner.  Its such an amazingly helpful and generous offering from this wonderful Yoga For Life team" - Kate

"It is wonderful to connect virtually with yoga teachers who know a lot about wellness. They lead practices that are stress relieving and help with regulating breathing. The instructors are very kind and gentle in their manner and always ‘invite’ us to do a particular movement or offer ways to adapt it, if you need to do the practice in bed for example. There is also opportunity to connect with other post Covid syndrome sufferers. Knowing that you are not alone is invaluable. I always go away from a session thinking ‘I’ve got a new idea of something I can try!’. For many pcs means loss of earnings, which is why making these sessions free or low cost is crucial. I thoroughly enjoy being in the therapeutic space these sessions provide and am always grateful I have made the time for myself. It always cheers me to see regular faces and have some structure in my day." - Camille 

"The long covid program has been phenomenal for my health and well-being, allowing me to breathe more easily, easing stress, unlocking my body and providing me with a chance to talk to others in the same boat." - Tanya 

"Failure from my GP to refer me after 14 months to any long-term Covid clinics, supposedly officially opened now to patients suffering from this debilitating inflammatory disease, meant that I had to look for other alternatives to support me in those difficult times of mental and physical hardship. 

These online classes offered for free by The Yoga For Life Project tailor-made especially for any one experiencing wide range of various post-symptoms of coronavirus from Fatigue, Breathing Difficulties, Headaches, Brain Fog, Myalgia to Anxiety and Stress have been a godsend and a real help to better manage those and take back control of my health. I will classify them as a basic, but all-around rehabilitation programme targeting both the physical (i.e. the yoga exercise therapy) and the mental (i.e. the added support of a psychologist) well-being of the participants or ‘patients’ here. In short, they give me not only a weekly purpose, but also hope towards a full recovery." - Zara

"Claire,  Andrew and Leah support, kindness and amazing sympathy has been a life saver for me. In a long covid journey with so much hit and miss, I look forward to the two regular yoga classes knowing I am in a safe place where everyone understands. The breathing excercise s have helped me no end and the fatigue class is such a welcome break from the pain and stress of again living with LC. I am so grateful these wonderful caring people are here to help. I really hope they can continue." - Zoe 

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