Yoga Quadriplegic Style
For those that follow us on social media, you know that I am a huge fan of yoga. Some of you reading the newsletter may not be aware of that. But now you are!
And I’m not a fan of just watching it, I actually do yoga and to my great surprise, it has been beneficial to me in many ways. I resisted doing it for a long time. My sister, a huge yoga fan, felt that it benefited her to such an extent that she felt yoga would also help me. Luckily she had a woman in her yoga class that needed extra hours to get her Masters in yoga. To do that you need to put in one-on-one hours with a unique client. And I got to be the unique client. How could I resist free yoga classes on my terrace!
That introduction to yoga brought many benefits. My breathing improved. My flexibility improved and my strength improved. I began to move my arms, body, and abdomen in ways that I never imagined that I could accomplish. And I felt so much better. More centered, and mindful.
I began taking classes at the studio that this teacher started with two other women. First one-on-one classes and then I joined a group class. One class was a relaxation class. The second class was slow Flow Yoga, but it involved movement. I figured I had nothing to lose and the instructor knew me and knew that I could come up with my own moves when I couldn’t do something in the class. The other members of the class got used to me and were not distracted by my going outside of the box.
So, you may wonder how I do it. If it is breathing or arm movement it is not difficult. But when poses come into play and legs start being used I just substitute. For me, when the instructor says to move the right leg, I use my right arm. The same with the left. When there are stretches for downward dog, I use my arms and neck to get a good stretch. And if there are leg and hip circles I use my arm again. I get a good stretch, fantastic workout and build my core.
I just started a new yoga class with an instructor that never met me. I told her at the beginning of the class not to worry or let me distract her or the class. As I have done in the past, I told her I would do my own thing if there was something that I could not do. Again, I used my arm instead of my leg and many of the moves were easier then I expected.
After the class, the instructor came up to me and told me that she couldn’t believe how much I could do. I felt so good. Not only because it was great to get back to yoga, but that my unique tactics for substitution worked for me and were impressive to the teacher.
Shame on me that I resisted for so long. I may be restricted in moving my body, but that doesn’t mean that a little creativity and thinking outside the box makes yoga feasible and a great part of my week.