Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body
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Yoga practice has so much to offer us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. But many of us feel discouraged to practice because we see young, slim, flexible, well, and able-bodied people dominating yoga spaces. Yet, yoga is truly a practice for all–conferring enormous benefits to our overall well-being as our bodies change, age, and navigate various health challenges. Jivana Heyman, founder of Accessible Yoga, views yoga as a basic human right–saying we all deserve to practice it in whatever state we find our body or mind. Accessible Yoga offers a simple, clear, and wonderfully adaptable practice for all people regardless of ability, health, and body type. Heyman has spent over twenty years sharing yoga with people of all abilities and backgrounds, and in this book, he shares his knowledge by breaking down complex yoga poses, breathing practices, meditation techniques, and yoga teachings into clearly understandable and practical tools we can use every day, regardless of our limitations or challenges.
From the Publisher
Begin your yoga practice wherever you find yourself.
Elizabeth Wojtowicz demonstrates Warrior 1 Pose with Support
“It helps to really just open my body, and with cerebral palsy my body is super tight, so poses that help to elongate my body feel really good. What yoga is for me is about accessibility and community.”
Tobias Wiggins presents Sphinx Pose with Wide Arms
“Doing mental health work with the LGBTQ+ community has helped expand my knowledge of how trauma and emotional blockages can be stored in the body. Backbends tend to be the master-opener of these raw emotions, as they specifically target energy channels that travel up through the spine. When I backbend, I practice finding trust in myself as I advance toward the unknown.”
Dianne Bondy performs King Dancer Pose with Strap
“This variation of King Dancer Pose lengthens my arms with the strap, because for me, reaching back behind me and trying to grab my foot is inaccessible. I love the strap because it makes my arms longer, and it gives me something to pull back on so I can find my balance.”
De Jur Jones presents Chair Mountain Pose
To assist in making asana more accessible, it can be helpful to raise the floor to us rather than always reaching down toward the floor. This is also the purpose of a chair or a bed—they bring the floor to us.
Chris Stigas demonstrates Eagle Pose with Hug
“For me, my breathing and lungs make up a lot of my core stability. When I am exhaling out in this pose, I lose that characteristic. This makes me have to rebalance myself using other minor muscles outside of my breathing stability system.”
Michael Hayes performs Tree Pose with Chair Support
“Humor, patience, and self-compassion fuel the momentum of my practice. Balance, leverage, and weight are the three principles I use.”
Rudra Swartz presents Chair Fish Pose
“When I first started practicing yoga after using a wheelchair, backbends were my favorite poses. At first I would put my forearms on my armrests and my feet on the floor and bend way backward. After this asana, I would sit up and it would seem like my mind was the most restful it had been all day.”
De Jur Jones performs Accessible Seated Forward Bend
From a mat: You can do Seated Forward Bend sitting on the floor with a bolster under both knees. Hinging forward at your hips, keep your spine long and allow your arms to rest alongside your body without reaching toward your toes. Or use a strap looped around your feet to help keep your spine long by pulling gently and using the tension to lift and lengthen your torso.
Cherie Hotchkiss demonstrates Side Bend with Support
“My assistive devices are a natural extension of my body now and are essential to maintaining my independence and mobility. They even create access to physical poses in my yoga practice, just as using traditional yoga props help all differently abled bodies.”