“Wheelchair yoga?” Nah, I’ll take the term “adaptive yoga” any day. Getting out of your wheelchair and onto the mat is one of the best things about an adaptive yoga class. An “out of the wheelchair” yoga class is more like it.
These two videos – one of a crazily agile paraplegic, the other a high level quadriplegic who needs assistance when practicing – show how no matter your level of spinal cord injury, you can still get out of the chair and do yoga.
The first video comes from our member Wheelz04. He is a T6-8 paraplegic and is totally into yoga. Since he has full upper-body movement (times a million), he’s able to transfer himself onto the mat and put himself into dozens of poses (he’s so strong he can even walk on his hands!). In fact, there’s a chance he might be the strongest person in a wheelchair I’ve seen.
His video shows a short sequence of yoga poses. He starts by transferring onto the mat and goes into a Sun Salutation, two different Warrior poses, the Lizard, Pigeon, Child’s Pose, a handstand, a forward bend, a pose called the Bridge, Happy Baby and ends with Savana (translation is “copse pose,” where you lay completely still and just breathe).
The second video comes from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and shows how Samantha Drost, a high quadriplegic with no arm movement, practices yoga (with an assistant). In this video (beautifully narrated by Sam), she shows her favorite poses and explains why she loves them.
I, along with Sam, was one of the students featured in this adaptive yoga video series called: Yoga For Your Health. I can certifiably say that Samantha is one awesome lady you can learn a lot from.
A lot of people ask me, How and why do you do yoga? The answer is simple: Because your legs and wherever you’re still paralyzed, are still a part of you. And yoga (unlike any other adapted sport out there) honors that.
Have you tried adaptive yoga? How has it helped your quality of life?
Watch the Videos!