The 9th GBA Awards Winner Uddhava Samman

Uddhava Samman

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear Yoga pants. At a time when services were unavailable, inspirational yoga teacher, Uddhava Samman generously gave his skill to a diverse group of people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

He delivered over 1,049 virtual sessions over 8 months – despite not having used Zoom before. His innovative 45-minute seated yoga classes provided accessible, wheelchair-friendly, whole-body, exercises for flexibility and muscle strength. Every session was unique.

Uddhava explained, in mellifluous tones, how to adapt every exercised to suit each person's abilities. Using water bottles, thera bands, balls, or a rolling pin, made it easy to take part from home. Mindfulness at the end of each session helped people let go of stress and cope better.

He declined payment, suggesting donations to the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. Connecting with others at the start and end of each session helped participants feel much less isolated and boosted morale, as did cute appearances from his black and white cat!

"MS is isolating enough, without lockdown. Uddhava has given us regular friendly faces and something positive to come out of being stuck at home."

"His Zoom classes have also been an important place for me and other members who have MS to discuss and catch up. I cannot stress how much help this has been for my mental well being over the past 8 months."

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