I Love Yoga!
There, I have said it, I love it, it is time and space and stretching and strength all for me. I am allowed to be in the inherent here and now through my breath, to feel the stretch of my muscles when I am in Uttanasana (or standing forward bend for those who are thinking huh?!?), to find my balance when I am in Tadasana (tree pose). Each action, each conscious breath, each taught muscle brings me home to myself and to my peace, to my calm.
In my developing yoga practice I have come to consider what yoga means when it comes to disability.
So firstly, here are some experts thoughts on yoga . . . (cause really . . . I ain't no expert!! Not yet anyway!)
(image via pinterest)
"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self"
- The Bhagavad Gita
'Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build strength, you start to believe in your own potential.'
- Tiffany Cruikshank
'The very heart of Yoga practice is abhyasa - steady effort in the direction you want to go.'
- Sally kempton
'Yoga is not about touching your toes. It's about unlocking your ideas about what you want, where you think you can go, and what you will achieve when you get there.'
- Cyndi Lee
"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.'
- Thich Nhat Hanh
(Okay, not a quote directly linked to Yoga, but its essence sits with the idea that in yoga class there is no judgement, you are in a pure space where you can accept yourself as you and that that is a beautiful thing.)
Yoga is a journey, a physical and spiritual journey inside, into your heart. Yoga is not a competition where you are trying to out-pose the person next to you, or pushing yourself to be the first person to layer through to Vrschikasana (don't know what that is? Google!). Yoga is about exploring your space, your limits, with a gentle and open heart. It's about trying things out, modifying, getting bad-ass creative with your body and mind, finding that stretch, that open-mind. Through yoga, you come to realise that we are who we are and in that moment we are free of the past and the future, that we are truly in the present.
So, how does this seemingly intense physicality and spiritual mojo link in with disability? How can people with various disabilities DO yoga?
(image via pinterest - please go check this link out, this yoga chick is awesomely rad!!)
Both Yoga and disability can be regarded the same - difficult, hard, and stuck within the paradigms of peoples perceptions. However, as discovered above, yoga is all expansive, flow-able, open, wide, like a bright blue sky on a clear Autumn morning. What if I were to say disability is the same? And when you combine disability and yoga together, sometimes the most creative moments can arise.
Disability is so varied, so open to all, it is not reduced to the other as many would think - we are all affected in some ways. In this respect, however, disability can be the ultimate human experience in creativity. Think about it - the marvelous adaptions, adjustments, ideas, and thoughts emerge into world through the experience of disability. Just the same as yoga, right?
My experience of yoga, with my disability, has been exactly that, working with what I have and seeing what I can do, gently pressing the limits of body, mind, and space. My disability is not a barrier, but a creative force with which to approach and consider each pose, each breath, each moment. Nothing is impossible, with the right support, the right thought, the right attitude - and this can really be said about life for all of us.
No excuse exists, no denial, no doubt.
we can all learn to accept and grow with what life has given us.
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright