Accessible yoga, or adaptive yoga, is a developing focus within the yoga world. There seem to be new forms and genres of yoga sprouting up every week, thanks in large part to social media and YouTube. However, only recently has there been a movement to include ALL bodies, regardless of size, ability, or access (financial included). Many people who wanted to experience yoga felt they wouldn't fit in to a "traditional" class. Add to that some misconceptions of a physical yoga practice (thanks in large part to "yogalebrities" on social media) and some controversy surrounding Lululemon Athletica's yoga clothing sizes and you have a perfect formula for making people not feel welcomed anywhere near a yoga class.
Fortunately, there are teachers working to make a yoga practice more accessible and spread the word that "if you have a mind and a body, you can do Yoga!" (Jivana Heyman, founder of the Accessible Yoga organization). Movements on social media and the inaugural Accessible Yoga Conference held last September in Santa Barbara have made adaptive yoga a major topic of conversation and blooming area of learning for yoga teachers.
So, what exactly IS "accessible yoga" then? As far as I'm concerned, as a yoga teacher and practitioner, it is providing a means of participation for absolutely anyone who wants to experience a yoga practice in their own body. It is about making yoga work for anyone who is interested and expanding the outreach of the yoga community to include everyone, regardless of age, weight, illness, disability, trauma, finances, etc.
I will be introducing my own ACCESS YOGA class starting June 2nd at Full Circle Yoga in Yorba Linda, CA. This class is mindfully designed to be fully inclusive of all abilities, backgrounds, and experiences. It will introduce students who may not otherwise have access to a yoga class to the subtle practices of pranayama (breath), asana (physical movements), and easy meditation. I hope to empower students by helping them reclaim their physical and mental space, embrace change, encourage growth, and transcend any challenge they may face - on AND off their mat. I am there to hold space for my students, guide them through a yoga practice that suits their goals and keeps them safe, and grow right beside them.
What does "accessible" or "adaptive" yoga mean to you? Do you know anyone whose been hesitant to try yoga due to a perceived limitation? Please share this information with them; our ultimate goal is to share yoga with everyone!
If you would like more information on the Accessible Yoga organization, the 2nd Annual Accessible Yoga Conference, and how YOU can become a sponsor for the upcoming conference, please visit http://www.accessibleyoga.org/index.html.