As I have shared before on this blog, yoga has been something I have loved for a long time.
I “discovered” yoga at my last inpatient stay for anorexia back when I was 15. I ripped a sun salutation sheet out of a magazine and taped it to my wall, the only thing there besides some framed art they purchased in bulk.
For the next 3 months, every morning and every night I would do a series of sun salutations. Up, down, stretching my limbs wide towards the sky, and then diving back down to root myself into the carpet. Every breath, every movement a promise to myself that I deserved to be here on earth.
Yes you are allowed to exist and yes yes yes you are allowed to take up room.
Since then I have done yoga in varying amounts throughout different chapters of my life. I did it occasionally in high school and college and went through a few periods of doing it here and there in my mid-20s.
I revisited yoga and fell deeply back in love with it after I got sick.
It had been waiting for me and when we reconnected, it was marvelous. I finally found a way to move my poor pain riddled body. Yoga was something that could be slow and steady or rigorous and fast paced. The days I could make it through a 20 minute video or drag myself to a yoga class were days that I felt infinitely proud of myself.
I did yoga whenever I could even if it meant going 3 months without because my body couldn’t handle it. I was delighted to discover that when I was feeling “okish”, I was actually “good” at yoga and that it challenged me the same way running had.
Some days I could handle harder sequences and sometimes I could barely handle laying on the ground at a restorative yoga class. I did what I could and felt grateful to just have a practice even if it was sporadic.
My yoga practice came to a screeching halt when I became disabled.
The chair yoga videos I found weren’t really geared towards someone like me- a 30 something year old in a wheelchair who couldn’t get out of her wheelchair easily and also couldn’t tolerate touching her legs. Most of the chair yoga videos either had people get out of their chair halfway through or had people grabbing their lower legs and stretching them in ways I couldn’t get my legs to move. I could barely leave my house so going to a yoga studio was out of the question.
I stopped doing yoga.
I mentioned this issue a few times to my best friend Amber who owns body positive yoga. Amber is passionate about making yoga accessible to any population. After several conversations, we realized that there was a population of people like me who desperately need yoga but don’t know where to begin.
People in wheelchairs, people using canes, people who don’t use mobility aides but still struggle to move their bodies due to chronic pain and illness. People who want to try yoga but aren’t sure a yoga studio will know how to handle a body that is different. People who want to give a yoga a go but don’t know how to find a video that caters to their particular body.
Yoga is so good for us and it is particularly great for people who cannot exercise or even go for a walk. Moving our bodies is really important but what do you do when you want to start a yoga practice but don’t even know where to begin because you are disabled?
Please help us get our “spoonie yoga crew” going by taking this survey so we know what content is needed.
Do you want short videos or long videos? Do you prefer we do some core work? Is it easier for you to do yoga on a bed or a floor?
We are going to be creating a series of videos tailored to people like me and you so we need your input!
I don’t think I can begin to explain how excited I am to do this project.
I have been wanting to find ways to give back to the spoonie community and I think this project is an important one. It also encompasses everything I love-body positivity, disability, yoga, feminism, AND best of all…I get to do it with my best friend.
Please fill out our survey and stay tuned for more updates on Spoonie Yoga Crew!!!