At this point, we all know that the ancient practice of yoga is infused with some sort of magic. Even if we haven’t practiced yoga ourselves, it’s impossible to ignore the constant chatter about its many benefits for the mind, body, and soul.
One of the best aspects of yoga, that many don’t realize, is that it is truly accessible to everyone - including people living with a physical disability. This particular form of yoga is aptly named Inclusive Yoga or All Ability Yoga and it has a magic all on its own. Throw out the idea that yoga is limited to being for thin, 20-something-year-old females who only drink green juice and eat kale.
Speak to your doctor about incorporating yoga into your life if you haven’t already. Then, try out these 3 beginner-friendly asanas (poses), which are especially useful for people who are living with physical disabilities.
Shavasana is the quintessential rest pose of yoga and is revered by yogis everywhere as one of the most relaxing and peaceful asanas. One of the best benefits of Shavasana is the mental serenity it often brings.
Shavasana is typically practiced laying down on your back on a mat or on the floor with your legs out and arms by your side but not touching your body. If that position is uncomfortable for you, Shavasana can also be practiced in the same way by sitting in a chair and sprawling the legs out.
The true essence of this pose is restfulness. That means you can practice it however feels most comfortable for your body. Once you find the way that works best for you, close your eyes and focus on where your breath is most present. Stay here for 3-5 minutes and allow complete relaxation to wash over you.
Also known as Marjaryasana/Bitilasana is a simple flow between two poses, which is especially known for opening the heart space. Cat/cow pose is implemented into nearly every yoga sequence because it is simple, accessible, and a wonderful way to warm up the body and mind.
To do cat/cow pose, you can either be on all fours or sitting down on the ground or a chair with your legs out in whichever way feels best for you. As you inhale, broaden your chest and look up towards the sky. Exhale as you round your back (like a cat who just got spooked) and bring your chin towards your chest.
This is a favorite morning posture and is a great way to start your off your day. Practice this series a handful of times until you feel like you’ve gotten the most from it.
Also known as mountain pose, tadasana is another wildly popular yoga pose that is often incorporated into beginner’s classes and expert classes alike. The key benefit from mountain pose is the emotional value it brings - true to its name, it is meant to bring forth feelings of strength, fortitude, and stability.
Tadasana is especially great for those experiencing physical pain because it is effective in grounding us in the present moment, which helps us to be more aware of our surroundings and focus less on negative thoughts.
Mountain pose is typically practiced standing up, with the arms by the side but not touching the body. The palms are facing out away from the body and there is a slight tilt of the head towards the ceiling. However, tadasana is just as effective sitting down and has many of the same heart-opening benefits of cat/cow.
Try pairing a grounding affirmation with tadasana such as, “I Embody Strength in My Own Unique Way” to fully embrace the benefits of this quintessential pose.