These days, it’s a little intimidating if you want to try yoga. Never mind that it’s always been a little bewildering watching someone float into a headstand when you can barely move your neck. These days, with “impressive” poses everywhere on social media, that one Instagram shot of a yogi doing a handstand on the edge of a cliff might turn your potential desire to buy a yoga mat into a firm statement: “There’s no way.”
You are not alone by a mile (or more). More people are in the “no way” category than you think. Nearly half consider themselves beginners, and more than one half of people who practice yoga are in the Baby Boomer generation, mostly likely seeking stress relief and physical healing. More medical programs are supporting the alternative therapy of yoga for treating a huge range of ailments and conditions.
“I think we’re moving from yoga for the few to yoga for many,” said Jivana Heyman, founder of the first-ever Accessible Yoga Conference, which will be held September 12-13 in Santa Barbara, California. Heyman teaches yoga to people with HIV/AIDS through California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and is bringing together pioneers in the adaptive yoga movement to help make yoga accessible to everyone regardless of ability or condition.
“I’ve been teaching adaptive yoga for twenty years,” he said in an email after we chatted, teacher to teacher, on the phone. “The basic concept of Accessible Yoga is that we are making the yoga teachings available to a larger population – we’re throwing the doors wide open!”
An open door might be exactly what yoga needs right now. With star teachers and bendy beauties seemingly everywhere, some potential yogis with disabilities, chronic illness, or even just tight hamstrings often don’t feel welcome in the thousands of sweaty classes offered across the U.S. Continue reading >>