Health, Yoga

Malabar, FL – Yoga for Adults with Disabilities

One of the cool things about our community is that there are so many yoga teachers with the intention of helping those around them feel good.  Like most writers, I am trying to find fun and meaningful things that I can share with you. I joined a local yogi group on Facebook asked what I should write about next. I was so grateful to receive a lot of wonderful responses!

Through the post, I had the pleasure of getting connected with Gray Dix – RYT 200 Yoga Teacher at Mel O Yoga over in Palm Bay. Gray Shared with me that he taught a Yoga class for the Easter Seals for adults with disabilities, and after speaking back and forth with him for a bit, it was decided that I would come and observe his class! It is a beautiful thing, how life seems to fall into place when you approach it with an open heart and mind.

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I made my way over to the little Mel-O studio behind Zumba Studio 321. Gray and I started to chat about our backgrounds, how we came to yoga, and how we both came to teach. We had a bit more in common then I might have originally thought! We both fostered a deep love of the benefits of yoga after going through a divorce. Flash forward a few years for both of us, here we are happily partnered with each our own new life adventure buddies. Very cool stuff! Gray has studied under or read of many of the same teachers as I have in my RYT 200, and It was brilliant to exchange a few stories with his abundant and fun-loving energy. I accompanied Gray for a walk over to the Easter Seals location which was a short walk up the block from Melo to check in, and then we head back to the studio to finish setting up before all of the students arrive.


As we walked, Gray began to tell me how he came to teach this class. Gray teaches a gentle class on Friday’s that accepts food donation as payment, and this is where he met Lisa, who is the coordinator over at the Easter Seal location in Palm Bay. After attending a few of his classes, she asked if the studio would like to work with the organization. It was a match made in heaven. He began to tell me a little about each of his students, their personalities as he had worked with them, and also some of the benefits some of the students had experienced on and off of the mat. With a few months of practice, Many of the students have seen measurable improvements. Some students found improvement in communication, articulating words more often when they were generally non-verbal in the past. Many see improvements in terms of mobility. After practicing for some time, some of the students found improvements standing, dressing and also while using the bathroom, and more daily activities! So cool.


Shortly after the students chose their seats and we began class. Gray lovingly remembers where each student likes to sit and what their favorite props and mats are. We flowed through postures with laughs, time for breath, and some lovely asanas to open up the back, legs, arms, chest, and neck!

This was a  welcome reminder to me to be sure to connect with and accommodate my students. He taught with such genuine care, offering comforting touches to the room and sending positivity and affirmation to all students before relaxation. Focusing on lesson plans, music, location, and lighting are all important, but it is so key to remember why we are here! Yoga teachers out there, learn your student’s names the best you can, ask them about previous injury or sensitivities in the body, and modify wherever you can to make sequences accessible for your students.


There is nothing better than a genuine connection with your students. The relationship and community that yoga brings, is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher.

It was a beautiful thing to see the smiles and sighs of relaxation that Gray helped his students to find. Students with disabilities can really benefit from yoga! Here are a few of the postures that we went through, and some of the modification that was offered if you have someone with special needs at home that might like to stretch and breath with you!

  • Seated Twist

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  • Forward Fold

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  • Standing Cresent moon

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  • “Fabulous” Pose
  • Self Hugs
  • Knee to Chest
  • Supine twist
  • Cats & Cows (Moo’s and Mew’s)
  • and.. my very favorite – Dying Bug – grab on to your Raid! (Fun transition to Dead Bug Pose!)

Thank you Gray! for this very important class that you provide to our community. 


Namaste Friends! Feel free to comment below on thoughts or pass this article along if you would like for others to learn more about the cool things going on to give support to our community through yoga.

 

 

 

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Sore Hips and Shoulders! Getting up and down from the floor properly, and how yoga can help.

Hi there! This week, I want to tell you something cool I stumbled upon. I was getting out of the bathtub and had a moment of inspiration. Something about that blue bathroom must do something for my creative juices 😉 haha!

As I went to get up my hip just… popped! It was loud, and It does this occasionally. Sometimes – my knees and hips get a little sore too. I always feel better when I do my yoga so scratch that off the list, but I have begun to think about how I am moving during the day. Sometimes I think.. what the heck am  I doing that makes me so sore?

Are you noticing the way you move?  Have you ever considered that you might be causing strain day to day on your body in repetitive movements? It surely can be different from person to person but I encourage you to listen to your body.

So, over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to focus on that, as I go about my day. Here’s what I noticed so far:

  1. I’m on my cell phone too much. I think that all the thumb typing is messing with my arm. I’m trying to figure out ways to still be a part of the conversation online – but also – not wreck my wrists! Does anyone else have this struggle? I’ve been playing with ways to still write and post without being glued and setting aside work hours. Much too easy to get sucked in to that little gadget.
  2. The way I sleep is a bit too… smushy. My shoulders get so stiff, and I have to balance them out all the time. I straight up – sleep on my arms. I’ve started sleeping on my back without a pillow (Think Savasana) and have surprisingly been a little less stiff.
  3.  The way I get in and out of things, or up and then back down is too rough and unintentional. I started to wonder – is there a good form to this? I was slowly noticing all the ways that my body snapped, popped, or felt just a bit of general discomfort. Ergonomics, per say every time I got in and out of something specifically. Here are a few examples:
    • Getting in and out of the car. I tend to have a graceful plop going on here. (I think this is common especially if you are shorter or taller than the average)
    • I crack when I climb in and out of the bed. (Short people things)
    • How you sit on the toilet (sitting, standing & twisting)
    • Getting down onto the floor, and then standing back up (Especially with pets or kidd-o’s)

So of course, like any normal human, I go to the internet and looked up “how to properly get on and off the floor” ….Because….. Google :). This is what I found. I am a super nerd and love to research  https://www.verywell.com/how-to-safely-get-up-and-down-from-the-floor-1230957

So pretty straightforward, it’s an article about how to get up and down off the floor.  BUT THEN when I looked at the photos I was like – wow, no wonder yoga helps people build balance & strength. It strengthens all the muscles in your body you use to get up and down if you practice in a balanced way. So, in conjunction with the link above (check it out!) Here are a list of some of the common yoga poses I noticed, that can help you build the muscles you need to get on and off of the floor.

  • Modified Cresent (Knee down) Strength in legs, core, arms and flexibility in shoulders and hips.
  • Lizard Pose – Flexibility in Hips, strength in legs, core and arms,
  • Table – Strenth in core, arms and legs
  • Runners Lunge – Builds Flexibility in hips and strength in legs and core
  • Modified Chattarunga – Strengthens Chest and Arms
  • Gate – Stretches Obliques

If you ever have any questions, or if anyone would be interested in having me demonstrate some of the poses and posting online, please feel free to comment or shoot me a message. Maybe that is something that I can take a video of from home to demonstrate. I’m looking into that type of thing, and would love to hear your ideas.

While I won’t be able to do everything, I am truly interested in what people want to hear! Always makes me a better teacher 🙂

Namaste!

Mariah

Health, Love, Yoga

Yoga can Help you to Connect with your Body and Regulate Stress

Hey there,

I’ve been a bit behind in my blogging – but don’t worry! I’m still here. I know that this is a good waterway for me to send out my little positive vibes. I sometimes imagine them like little paper sailboats. They may not always get to everyone, and they may not always go far, but – I think they end up going where they need to.

Something cool about Yoga is even if you do the simplest poses, and really! I mean that. Forward Folds, and butterflycresent moon, reclined pigeon. (check out all the variations

Try them all at home, just a little bit every day and you may notice that you start to learn how to listen more closely to what your body. I’m talking about really keying in. When something hurts (like standing or sitting uncomfortably for too long), when you are tired (trying to finish something, and getting nowhere), when you are hungry, when you ought to just breath (feeling anxious or panicked), and when you really need to just blow off a little steam and clear your head. Physical discomfort and a lack of oxygen can have a really profound effect on your emotions and perception.

Problems materialized out of thin air for me because my mind was so clouded. I still get caught sometimes. Often, the real issue is that I need more rest, nourishment, or a bit of alone time to clear my mind. Had I not been practicing yoga, I may not have listened to my body, I could have easily blamed someone else for my emotional discomfort, and then I would have had a meltdown or gotten angry. There are so many distractions in life. We are straight up ignoring our bodies in favor of… whatever – Phones, TV, Work, Kids, all types of things. Some important and some not. The real point is – You HAVE to take care of yourself first if you want to get anything done, and if you want it to go well.

The anxiety that comes with trying to “make it” in our society and the complete disregard for self-care is …… appalling in some workplaces and societal circles. Life does not have to be this way. In my experience striving for balance only makes my path smooth. Balance your busy and your rest – your yin and your yang.  There are still turns, but there can be an ebb and flow, and it’s up to us to take the time to practice making those adjustments.

  • Are you really angry at your significant other because of something that THEY did that affected you? 
  • Are you really mad at the guy in traffic, the thing your boss said, the shoe your dog chewed, the person in front of you at the grocery store, your mom, your dad, your best friend? OR are you missing something? nourishing food? rest? Time for self-care? etc?

Things to think about, no? No reason for guilt and obligation if you are doing your best to care for yourself first without harming others, and then graciously assisting those around you. As a Yogi, raised Christian, I grew up hearing – Your body is a temple. I think there is something to that. Your body is your house! Your spirit is living in this body and your mind. It is your spirit’s job to take steps to care for your body and your mind. When it forgets, your body will feel that your life is in turmoil! Things will feel cloudy. Life will be exhausting.

Yoga, even simple poses – help me practice regulating my emotions. I listen for the signs, then take notice. Listen to your bodies, heal your emotions. I know that’s not 100% of everything – But I KNOW that it is one of the things that helps. Thanks for reading. If you like this – Please share my blog, or send me some feedback! Comment, email – I’d love to hear from you.

Namaste!