International Day of Yoga 2023
Every year, on 21st June, the world comes together to celebrate International Yoga Day. While often associated with flexibility and strength, yoga has in fact proven to be a highly adaptive and inclusive way for disabled people to be more active in a way that suits their individual needs with increased health benefits. Here's how...
International Yoga Day recognises the profound impact this ancient practice can have on our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Today there are a wide range of different yoga styles to choose from and many of which can be adapted to suit individual needs, something that has increased over recent years. This could include a chair based version of the practice or adaptions to help aid participation with specific impairments. A growing number of companies now offer soft prosthetics designed specifically to make participation more comfortable and enhance the experience.
"But how will yoga help me?" you quite rightly ask. Well, lets start by looking at the positive benefits practising yoga can bring...
1. Enhancing Physical Health:
Yoga is renowned for its ability to improve flexibility, balance, and strength.... but that doesn't mean folding yourself in half! Adaptive yoga modifications allow you to tailor poses and sequences to suit your ability and goal, keeping participation inclusive and allowing you to do as much as you can or wish to do. By embracing gentle movements, adaptive yoga helps increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote overall physical well-being. That might simply be an additional 5 minutes of gentle movement that day, all the way through to longer or more involved sessions, the choice is yours.
2. Boosting Mental and Emotional Well-being:
Yoga provides a holistic approach to address mental and emotional well-being, promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and emotional resilience. Breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness techniques integrated into adaptive yoga classes can assist individuals in managing anxiety, depression, and improving overall mental health. Meditation is one of the positive tactics highlighted by Every Body Moves Lived Experience Advisory Board member, Stephen, in this article for Mental Health Awareness Week.
3. Enhancing Body Awareness:
Adaptive yoga can help improve you body awareness, encouraging you to listen to your body and realise what is and can be possible... usually a lot more than we think too! Through modified poses and gentle movements, this increased self-awareness promotes self-confidence and self-acceptance, creating a positive impact on overall self-esteem.
4. Creating a Supportive Community:
Yoga, like many other sports and physical activities, provides an opportunity for you to connect with like-minded individuals, fostering a sense of community, support, and belonging. It's a safe and inclusive space where you can share your experiences, challenges, and triumphs while forming meaningful connections with others who understand that journey.
Ways to participate in adaptive yoga
So there's a brief overview of the broad range of positive benefits participating in adaptive yoga can bring. If you're now keen to give it a try but are unsure of where to look, don't worry, here are our top tips to finding a suitable session.
Free online sessions
No need to leave the house, or even open your wallet! These amazing providers are helping even more people access adaptive yoga via pre-recorded or live online session all for free, legends!
- Adaptive Yoga Live - A huge YouTube library of free online sessions
- Free adaptive yoga sessions every Wednesday morning - Nina Boswell-Brown/WheelPower
Find a local adaptive provider and accessible facility
Look for yoga instructors who specialise in adaptive or inclusive yoga and have experience tailoring session for a range of individual needs. Some places to start are:
Many facilities now list their accessible facility features, such as ramps, lifts accessible changing room/toilets etc. If in doubt, we always recommend calling ahead, all providers will be happy to help with your questions and ensure a positive experience.