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Image by Christopher Sardegna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Your Breath Matters Association, formerly Ujjayi Matters
 

The association was founded in February 2017 with the aim of offering yoga on a donation basis to sex workers in challenging life situations, transgender persons, men and women. The association is politically and denominationally neutral. The former naming "Ujjayi Matters" means Ujjayi Breathing Matters. The Ujjayi breathing technique from the yoga practice is meant to help the practitioner or practitioner engage with the mind-body connection. Translated, "Ujjayi" means victorious. Breathing can become victorious when it helps the practitioner to calm the flow of thoughts. Ujjayi, according to the classical yoga scripture Hatha Yoga Pradipika, unlike other breathing techniques from yoga, can be practised on all occasions. Ujjayi breathing is an audible breathing technique. By breathing in and out regularly through the nose with the lips closed and a slight constriction of the glottis, a gentle rushing sound is created in the throat, reminiscent of the sound of the sea. The sound gives the practitioner direct feedback as to whether there is too much or too little tension on the vocal cords and whether too much or too little force is being used. The Ujjayi breathing technique can be practised in demanding moments as an anchorage in the present moment. 
From July to December 2017, a pilot project "Yoga for Sex Workers" was carried out with financial support from the Social Department of the City of Zurich. In October 2017, the association was exempted from taxes due to non-profit activity. From March 2018 to October 2020, various therapists and yoga instructors agreed to open offers for the target group, such as free yoga classes for sex workers in exchange for a flyer, TRE® in a protected setting or discounted yoga classes for IV recipients. Since sex workers are often in precarious financial situations, free legal advice by telephone was also provided. The offers were not used by the target group. 
In January 2021, the Prevention and Health Promotion of the Canton of Zurich agreed to finance part of the revised project "Ujjayi Matters - Alternative & Complementary Medicine". The Arud, Centre for Addiction Medicine, offered to co-sponsor the project. The second part of the funding did not come together through fundraising. Therefore, and also due to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, the project was suspended until further notice. In the revised project concept, it was defined that the target group should not only benefit from open yoga classes and yoga therapy, but also from other health-promoting offers from alternative and complementary medicine. 

In spring 2022, the name of the association was changed from "Ujjayi Matters" to "Your Breath Matters".
 

According to various statements by social organisations working with sex workers, the demand for alternative and complementary medicine is not too great. According to Chantal Riedo of the FIZ (Fachstelle Frauenhandel und Frauenmigration), many sex workers concentrate on earning enough money for themselves and their families. Those clients who are interested in alternative and complementary medicine are linked by the FIZ to the association "accompagno". According to Ms Riedo's assessment, "accompagno" can cover the demand in Zurich well. The offer of "Your Breath Matters" will therefore be adapted. The focus is now on accompanying sex workers and addicts in acute crisis situations. The network "Your Breath Matters" will continue to exist, i.e. the referral to alternative and complementary therapists or the recommendation of yoga classes as well as legal counselling by telephone are still part of the offer. 
 

Since sex workers and addicts are often in financially difficult situations and rarely have supplementary insurance, it should be possible to settle the costs incurred according to the SKOS guidelines via the situation-related benefits SIL of social welfare. The association "Your Breath Matters" recommends the expansion of the situation-related benefits SIL in social assistance in the event of greater demand. Promote education and health!

6 December 2023: By decision of the association's board, the association activities of "Your Breath Matters" will be discontinued until further notice. The website will remain online and the network will continue to exist.

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