Changing Minds and Bodies One Class at a Time

Yoga4Change serves the local community by offering mindfulness-based yoga sessions to alleviate pain, reduce stress and strengthen the body

New Haven senior yoga class. Photo courtesy of Yoga4Change.

In 2014, Yoga4Change (Y4C) received a Year Round Small Grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to support a pilot program to bring yoga to four different community settings in Wallingford and New Haven. The 10-week mindfulness-based yoga sessions were introduced to under-served populations to alleviate pain, reduce stress and strengthen the body's wellbeing.

"During its pilot year, Y4C served 420 students, including low-income seniors, low-income families, students with special needs, and trauma survivors." says Chaucey Perreault, Executive Director of Yoga4Change. "I believe The Foundation grant went a long way to help us spread the word about our program to reach those students."

Benefits were felt by participants like Anita, who came to the program in a wheelchair, after battling obesity for decades and following bariatric surgery and extreme weight loss.

"Anita came to class to deal with ongoing swelling and mobility issues. In addition to the class activity, the Y4C instructor gave her practices to do at home to reconnect with sensation in her body and build strength. Equally as important, the instructor gave Anita a sense of hope that a healthier lifestyle was possible," recalls Perreault.

As she participated in her last class of the session, Anita stood with a walker for over 2 minutes - the longest she recalled standing in 35 years.

The Foundation's small grant also yielded other benefits. Yoga4Change was able to recognize unmet needs of low-income seniors and leverage additional funding from the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut.

"We formed new partnerships in the New Haven area, including one with the Elderly Services branch of the City of New Haven," says Perreault.

Yoga4Change's mission is to empower individuals facing multiple barriers to success with the health and wellness benefits of yoga. For more information, visit their website at

Did you know?

Yoga can lessen chronic pain, lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.