An award-winning Huddersfield community interest company is helping people to relax using the power of yoga … and its group sessions are free.

Umbrella Yoga is based in Marsden and is now rapidly growing across Kirklees.

It holds free community sessions that anyone is welcome to attend and since 2020 has helped more than 5,000 people take part in ‘mindful movement.’

Some of the sessions are chair yoga for people with limited mobility and the sessions take place in areas such as Slaithwaite, Holmfirth, Newsome, Netherton and Huddersfield town centre.

And Umbrella Yoga also provides classes in North Kirklees, currently covering Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, Batley and Mirfield.

Umbrella Yoga can specifically help disabled and older people along with those who have survived trauma in their lives. There are special groups for young adults with learning disabilities and another for parents of children with additional needs.

Umbrella Yoga’s early onset dementia group

Umbrella Yoga director Pollyanna Steiner (below, left) said: “We work hard to provide free yoga for Kirklees communities and those with additional needs including partially sighted and blind communities, people with learning disabilities, dementia and early onset dementia and older people. We also support trauma survivors and offer tailored staff wellbeing yoga to private businesses. 

“While research that aims to understand the impacts of yoga is relatively scarce, the results are certainly positive. Studies have indicated benefits for people suffering from depression and anxiety, trauma, physical pain or injury, as well as people living with genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy and neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism.

“People who suffer from any kind of anxiety often struggle to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the body’s brake, or ‘rest and digest’ function. This means they are in a constant state of hyper-arousal and rarely able to rest their bodies or relax their minds.

“Breath regulation, a key part of yoga, is the most effective way to modulate the parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, stress and anxiety is reduced.”

Umbrella Yoga won the Social Enterprise Yorkshire and the Humber Annual Awards (SEHY) award for New Start Up Social Enterprise in 2022.

It was set up by Ellie Firth (above, right) who has a PhD in Cognitive Science, is trained in yoga for adults with special needs and her work involves researching autism and related conditions.

For more information about Umbrella Yoga or to book go to the website or email

The Facebook site is kept right up-to-date and is at

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.