Three Different Versions

When one finds their true purpose in life, whether it is being a parent, a doctor, an electrician, an artist or a Yoga teacher, it is unequivocally important to listen to and to pursue the nudging that your soul speaks.  I believe that if we never follow what our inner voice is asking to do, we will endlessly spin during this human life looking elsewhere for fulfillment, continually lost and yet often seeking.

It is hard for me to imagine what may have happened had I not listened. Especially during those days of diapers and snotty noses, when I was seeking some sort of resemblance of control by manically cleaning and organizing my life, that my purpose was lying dormant until the perfect time to emerge from the darkness.  I know more than anything that my girl was absolutely placed in my life to open the door for me to walk into my soul purpose.  The winding road was difficult and took many detours, but ultimately it was her who said, “Come on Mom, something really great awaits you.”

This is how I have come to be here today, and how my passion became my purpose.  It is also how I took a challenge that life handed me and helped me to create meaning not just for myself, but more importantly for others.  If you can glean any insights into not only teaching Yoga to people with unique needs but in everyday life, then it was all most definitely worth it.  I believe after-all each of us is supposed to do something powerful with our lives and we use our challenges to make the world a better place.

Part of my yoga teacher mentoring program is diving into the method that I have created and have seen incredible success from across various settings and abilities. My method touches on the teachings of Yoga and has much less focus on the physical body than many Western teachings. It seems our physical focused culture equates Yoga with touching our toes or putting ourselves into strange shapes. This focus lends many who mentor with me or those who are curious about my students to ask questions and wonder.

The question that I get asked more than any other question in the mentoring program from other yoga teachers is — how do you take traditional yoga postures and make them available to people with various levels of mobility?

I teach in my mentoring program that fundamentals that I believe every class has to HAVE to happen: community, movement, breathing, and gratitude. The movement part is what we tend to focus on, but many of my students are not able to move their bodies independently so some tweaking to the postures becomes a little more challenging. If they are willing to allow you to move their bodies for them (with lots of tenderness) then it really is not much different. 

Notice below in this picture there are three different versions of seated mountain pose. One with both arms, one with one arm, and one with the student assisting herself with her partially paralyzed right arm to extend it to the sky. 

Are all of these versions “correct”? Does that even matter? To me, not at all. Each of these students are connecting to themselves and are in it. They are each experiencing their own unique sensations, thoughts and feelings about the shape that their body is creating, and that is the ultimate essence of Yoga.

Nothing makes me shake my head more that when someone says that can’t do yoga because they are not flexible. Our silly minds have such a way of distorting truth and coming up with irrational reasons as to why we resist something that may be different or new.

I say often there is a method to the madness. Yoga is about awareness and union with ourselves and the avenues in which we travel to get there is actually quite similar to a traditional class, regardless of style or ability, if the intention is aligned. When we connect and let go of the chatter that something has to be “right” or done in whatever ideal of perfection one thinks, we then find the union we are seeking.

If you are a curious Yoga teacher wanting to learn more, reach out to me for additional opportunities to learn and be part of an online forum of learning.

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Inclusion Yoga

Inclusion Yoga is a dynamic form of living and sharing the true essence of Yoga that embraces as its main focus the principles of inclusion.

The dim lights of the Yoga space were easy on the eyes.  The wood floors were cool to the feet that padded along in eager anticipation for the arrival of Yogis. Voices of fellow Yoga teachers whispered around the room.  Candles flickered with shared excitement.

The energy itself was touchable.

As I knelt on my mat prior to the first arrival I witnessed in myself an acknowledgement of what brought me to this day.  With sweet tears, I first saw my beautiful daughter.  Images of her sweet life from birth to this day.  Without her being in my life–exactly as she is–I would not be sitting on that mat preparing to meet my vision.

Next, I remembered my first Yoga class where I was the student.  I remembered my first teacher gently planting seeds that I would soon discover about myself and about Yoga.  I remembered my first Yoga conference when I was eager with excitement and driven to be doing it “right”.

Being told to just be yourself and teach from your heart were wise words given to me.

This moment was indeed divinely guided.

The room filled and people settled in.  Mats were placed in a circle; a circle of inclusion, of equality and of acceptance.

I dropped to my knees and felt the tears sting my eyes as I saw my friend in her wheelchair arrive.  She was the exact reason my heart knew that this calling was not to be ignored.

At that moment, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I spoke my truth and I taught from my heart.  There was inclusion and pure acceptance.  I got to see huge willingness and courage.  

Witnessing pure love.

I closed the class in complete wonder for what just occurred and with a reading of how it began.  There was deep gratitude for the faith people had in me. Also for the support from others and for the opportunity.

Years that the foundation of inclusion is the essence.

I am blessed to bring adaptive yoga into long term care centers, assisted living setting and group homes. To learn more about my services, check out this gorgeous webpage that explains it all.