Accessible Yoga

[Instrumental music] So, anybody here breathe? There you go. You’re doing yoga, right? Anybody here think? Occasionally, yeah? Even you, do you think… What’s great about yoga is
that it’s really about connecting with yourself, and part of yourself
that’s unaffected by what’s happening in your body,
you know and so it’s like, it’s really a
spiritual practice, and even if you don’t
believe in spiritual stuff, it’s fine. It’s still about just
connecting with some truth. Some essence of us
that we find within. Whether you have full mobility
in your body or not is irrelevant to yoga. It’s what goes on here,
and whether this is what I call a garage sale,
or it’s a library, it doesn’t matter. So if you want to do
yoga to feel good… …it’s still about just
connecting to some truth. Some essence of us
that we find within. And that part of us is
always there no matter what, and so I say yoga
is so powerful, and it can use these
very simple practices, the body, the breath and
the mind to connect with some essential self. Deep breath in. Really slow breath
out through the nose. We’re here to help educate
people with disabilities, or people who have, not the exposure to
yoga, about yoga. And then people who are
already yoga teachers, we educate them on how they can
inspire themselves to learn more about working with
different populations. I think the ability to
self-sooth with breathing is, is, um, I think the best,
one of the pinnacle benefits. Because regardless of
what you come in with, to be able to tap
into that effect, that parasympathetic
nervous system calming that breathing has crosses all
boundaries, all levels. It can help with, you
know they did a study, um, where with meditation and
just doing mindful meditation can have a profound
effect on chronic pain. So that meditative
breathing… stretching and exercising
is awesome, but it’s, it’s just being able to tap
into using the breath properly. Find that soft, subtle inhale, imagine you have the
breathing ball in your life. A very slow deliberate exhale. So if somebody’s got kind
of we call it the monkey mind, when your mind is
kinda going ahhh! You know, whether
it’s chemical, you know, or whether
it’s psychological, just to go, “I need to
take a deep breath”, and to help
people learn that they can do that for
themselves, right? It just, it’s…so
powerful, you know? Whether you’re the person
who has something going on, or you’re a caregiver. You use the body, so we’re
moving the body in these poses, but the point of it is not just
to do poses but actually to get relaxed and peaceful. And I think that’s
so often lost. So I think almost every
disability can benefit from some kind of practice. Now, it may not be
always physical. Because meditation
is part of yoga. So, it’s just how like,
mindfulness and awareness of your breath, tools like that
are useful for almost everybody. The transformation in
the students that, in the able-bodied
students, was amazing. It was like a piece of poetry. Because watching people with
various disabilities come in and figure their bodies out, and
figure out how to work with me to get them on the floor
and back in the chair, and watching them transform, witnessing people who are
different than them, that I think just didn’t cross
their minds, you know. That they were in
some ways excluded. And so watching them
like bloom and be opened up was almost as
rewarding as watching the people with disabilities
start to get into yoga. And having worked with the kids,
um people would bring in kids that were like on
the autism spectrum, and I was starting to see
how they were responding, and taking little trainings
here and there learning about restorative yoga and the
practices that would apply to differently abled bodies, I
started to put two and two together and say, I think this
is where I really want to spend more of my time. Um, and learning more about yoga
anatomy and how yoga poses that we know about are
supposed to fit the bodies, not the body is supposed
to fit into the yoga poses. And the psychological and
physiological effects can work despite– you know,
regardless of whatever body you bring to the table. You don’t have to
have, you know that, yoga model’s body. …the shoulders relax. Let your lips come together. The tongue gently pressed
against the roof of your mouth. Know that this process is
accessible all the time to you. Any moment you can simply close
your eyes…take a time out. If you have a disability,
or, even if you don’t, I mean all of us are under a
lot of stress and we all need to find a way to
handle that, right? To deal with our stress. And that’s what
yoga’s so amazing at. It was literally
designed to reduce stress. And I think it’s like the
perfect antidote to this crazy modern life that we have. has a
map of all their instructors. And so all you have to
do is go to their map and dial in your
location and you will find an accessible
yoga trained instructor. There might be people who
are interested in yoga but are afraid or haven’t
done it yet, and um… I would just kinda
review a few things you could do if
you’re interested in starting yoga,
you could always, you know do a
little research online, and find out if there’s
a local class that sounds appropriate for
your level of activity. And that’s the thing is to
really read the descriptions of the classes and see, does that
sound like something I can do? And there’s wheelchair
yoga classes available in most communities these days, so that
can be very accessible to start. Um, and then, if
you’re still insecure, to try to reach out to the
teacher directly and actually see if you can communicate with them before you go to
the class and ask them. Maybe tell them, say,
“I have this disability” or this issue, or
this chronic illness, you know is this
class appropriate for me? Open to questions if people want
to go to the website and send me questions, my
email is on there so, I’m happy to point people
in the direction if I can’t provide the resource then I love
to be a network resource for other people, to send
them into the right place. Once the palms are
open, bring them together. Hands close to your heart. Sealing our attention in,
taking care of ourselves today. Mind, body, and spirit. In the tradition
of a yoga class, we honor each other
with a word that means “the light in me sees
the light in you”. That word is namaste. Namaste. When you’re ready, let
your eyes flutter open. Thank you. [Applause] Captioned by

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