Frontline Yoga launches a crowdfunding campaign to take the support classes around Australia

Calming force: Frontline Yoga teachers Kate O'Donoghue and Meg Spry in the latter's Newcastle studio. Picture: Simone de Peak.

Calming force: Frontline Yoga teachers Kate O'Donoghue and Meg Spry in the latter's Newcastle studio. Picture: Simone de Peak.

A HUNTER mum who has pioneered yoga classes for frontline workers is poised to launch a crowdfunding campaign with plans to take the business national.

Maitland businesswoman Kate O’Donoghue, who runs Sprout and Bean Yoga in High Street, launched her Frontline Yoga classes in January after almost four years volunteering to run yoga classes for defence personnel at RAAF Williamtown. 

“The feedback I got from people was that it was really valuable and helped them wind down,”  says Mrs O’Donoghue, whose husband is a former defence officer deployed in Afghanistan, and whose late father was a Vietnam veteran. “Defence personnel face a lot of stress and those who did my classes said they felt more relaxed, slept better, and felt it when they missed a class.”

Seeing scope to offer her class not just to serving defence personnel but also to former defence officers, defence spouses and frontline services workers, Mrs O’Donoghue made contact with Rob Ginnivan, a yoga teacher and author who volunteers with defence support group Soldier On.

The duo moved quickly to set up Frontline Yoga with former army officer Chris Thompson-Lang and former military police officer Brad Williamson, both of whom have battled trauma and trained to teach the classes: “They bring the substance to make the classes applicable for current and serving military,” Mrs O’Donoghue said.

Frontline Yoga Newcastle

She teaches Frontline Yoga classes in her Maitland practice, while Meg Spry runs the classes at her business Yoga Bodyworks in Newcastle. 

Mrs Spry, a psychologist at Newpsych Psychologists in Cooks Hill, said there was mounting evidence to show that yoga reduces the symptoms of a range of mental illnesses and increases wellbeing in the face of stress, depression and anxiety.

Frontline Yoga class teacher guidelines include setting up mats to so participants face the door, giving them permission to leave at any point, avoiding contact, not having incense, music or ‘omming’ [all potential work trigger points] and avoiding fast flowing sequences.

“The sequences help people feel really in control of their body because a lot of their traumatic experiences relate to not having any choice,” said Mrs Spry. 

Mrs O’Donoghue recently won $1000 in the Awesome Newcastleprogram and is launching a crowdfunding campaign for Frontline Yoga, keen to create scholarships to train teachers nationwide. 

“Our goal  is to have Frontline classes through Australia for whoever needs them,” she says. “It’s all about giving back to those who serve us when they are most in need.”

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