Laura Mangen from WEAVE youth and community services

What made you first start wanting to practice yoga?

I was coming out of a long chronic health journey and was at a stage where my body was ready and able to move again. I had previously been practicing Barre for years but wanted to try something a little gentler. I had always been interested in yoga as it seemed to nurture the body, mind and spirit connection, and that resonated with me.

How long have you been practicing with Krama for?

Since January 2021

What is your favourite thing about practicing with Krama?

I really appreciate the accessibility of the classes – there are so many classes available throughout the week which makes it easy to find a time to do the classes I want to do, even if my roster is ever changing. 

I love practising in the Krama space, it has a very warm and grounding energy and the teachers and staff are so lovely. I also really enjoy that there are affordable workshops on offer that give you an opportunity to gain a deeper insight into a particular practice or philosophy. 

Do you think yoga helps to further connect you to your community?

Yoga has helped me to feel more comfortable in my own body, which has given me the confidence to connect more to my communities. Plus, I am now stronger and healthier so I have more energy to do so.

Does yoga help you with managing any stress from your job?

I had an understanding of the benefits that practising yoga and meditation has on the body and the mind, but I had no idea it would have such a profound impact on my emotional, physical and spiritual health. 

Not only does it help me to regulate myself after a stressful day at work, but it has helped me through some tough times in my personal life over the past 6 months too. I have had a challenging journey with my body since I was 15 years old and have suffered from many years of undiagnosed chronic health issues. I have struggled with debilitating symptoms for the past 7 years and since starting yoga 6 months ago, they have almost all faded away. 

As a Social Worker, we are often educating the people that we work with about trauma and how it is stored and released from our bodies, how to regulate our nervous systems and how to teach our bodies that they are safe through bodywork practices like yoga. So to be able to experience the benefits first hand, has been so valuable to me. 

What is your role?

I am a Youth and Project Worker at Weave Youth & Community Services. I work in a dual-diagnosis team of Counsellors and Case Workers that support people experiencing mental health and drug and alcohol challenges. I am responsible for developing and facilitating creative youth-led projects, community events and advocacy opportunities. 

My role provides young people with meaningful ways to participate in their communities, providing them with opportunities to learn new skills, build self confidence, advocate for issues they are passionate about and become leaders in their community. I am incredibly lucky to work alongside these young people, I learn so much from them and it’s also a lot of fun. 

Can you explain what Weave is and what they do?

Weave Youth & Community Services is a not-for-profit grassroots community organisation that started in the Redfern / Waterloo community over 45 years ago. Weave exists because there are too many people living in Sydney today impacted by intergenerational trauma and complex social issues resulting in significant disadvantage. 

Weave aims to empower people to change their lives and provide opportunities for a way up and a way forward.

What kind of programs do Weave create – and who do they target? 

Weave provides a range of support programs to children, young people, women and families in the Redfern, Waterloo, Maroubra, Malabar and Woolloomollo communities. These programs include:

  • post-release support for Aboriginal people leaving prison
  • youth leadership and advocacy programs
  • support for homeless young people to find housing
  • support for women and children to be free from domestic violence
  • counselling for young people with coexisting mental health issues and alcohol and drug addictions
  • skills-based recreational programs for vulnerable children to help them build resilience and stay at school
  • free tutoring and mentoring for children and young people who can’t afford to pay for this service
  • support for young people to get their driver’s licence.