Mindful Connection

Collective Being's approach to bridging the wellbeing gap

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lululemon's Here to Be partner, Collective Being, is a not-for-profit dedicated to providing underserved communities with impactful body-based mindfulness programs. Delivered in partnership with key community and health services across Victoria, Collective Being’s free programs focus on trauma-sensitive, mental health aware and gender and culture responsive care.

 

Founder and Director of Collective Being, Jo Buick believes her team’s commitment to embodying their values and practices is the most important part of their work.

 

"We’ve placed a big emphasis on dismantling barriers, creating high quality curriculum, refining our processes and training our team. "

 

“Our vision is a world where everyone is resourced, resilient and connected, and that has to begin internally with us,” Jo shared.

 

A key focus for Collective Being is making wellbeing more accessible, while creating safe spaces that reflect the needs of the communities in which they operate.

 

“Wellbeing has shifted from being a shared, community responsibility to something that people need to organise and subsidize themselves,” Jo said.

 

"With this comes huge risks of exclusion, and a ripple effect on the mental and physical health of entire communities.”

 

We sat down with Jo to learn more about Collective Being’s impact, what sets their programs apart and how the Here to Be grant has supported their ongoing growth.

 

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lululemon: Can you describe the programs Collective Being offers and how your facilitators drive these programs?

 

Jo: We offer four key programs: Soma Play (therapeutic children’s program that integrates creativity, play, movement and mindfulness), Soma Skills (youth program that supports young people to explore embodied strategies for self-regulation, stress-relief, social connection and rest), Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (adults program designed for trauma-survivors in complex and clinical settings), and Staff Wellbeing (somatic education program that shares resources that support connection and resilience).

Whist we have a core curriculum for each program, our facilitators are encouraged to teach in a way that is authentic and embodied. This means that we all facilitate in slightly different and unique ways.

 

lululemon: How have Collective Being programs supported underserved communities?

 

Jo: We run our programs in partnership with key health services and ensure that there is no cost for participants to attend. Where lack of access to comfortable exercise clothing, yoga mats or props may be a barrier, we provide those, and when services can’t find an appropriate space for our sessions, we facilitate pro-bono space hire with local yoga studios. We also aim to understand and meet the cultural safety needs of group participants. For example, if a group feels safest with a person of shared lived experience facilitating their sessions, we ensure that this need is met.

We have learnt a lot over the past five years about inclusive and accessible practice. It’s important to us that we always have a program on offer that is accessible for people living with chronic pain, illnesses and disabilities. We have learnt over time that in our case, our online programs tend to meet this need best, as people can join from home and have the resources that they need on hand.

Participants share with us that our programs positively impact their mental health, physical health, and connections with community.

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lululemon: What impact has the Here to Be program had on Collective Being?

 

Jo: Through our partnership with Here to Be, we have engaged in crucial work that has both stabilised and grown our organisation. With the support of Here to Be, we have been able to pay salaries for our small team, and as a result, expand our service reach by 106% in the past two years. This year, we were able to launch our Community Wellbeing Fund, which makes our programs free for services who are grassroots and/or underfunded. We’ve already started rolling out these programs and are excited to deliver more! Here to Be is a uniquely hands-on funding partner, who is genuinely interested in growing organisations that increase access to wellbeing.

 

lululemon: What’s next for Collective Being and how can people support you?

 

Jo: In the future, we really hope to be supporting people with a library of free digital resources and even more accessible programs, both in-person and online.

In terms of how people can support us, we’d love for you to tell someone you know about our work, follow us on socials, and if you’re able to, make a tax-deductible contribution to our work.

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Powered by lululemon's Center for Social Impact, the Here to Be grant accelerates the work of community-led non-profit organizations around the globe that are advancing wellbeing.

lululemon's 2025 Here to Be application-based grant is now open and will be accepting Letters of Intent until Friday June 28 2024. Click here to find out more.

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