Accessible yoga creates inclusivity at Yoga Off Broadway in Eagle
Anyone that’s participated in a yoga class knows that it requires strength, balance and physical skill. However, individuals without those qualities still have the opportunity to participate in the exercise thanks to Yoga Off Broadway’s Accessible Yoga class.
Lisa Woods, an instructor at Yoga Off Broadway in Eagle, teaches a class called Accessible Yoga, geared toward those that may not have the same physical abilities as their more able-bodies counterparts.
“We could roll a hospital bed in here right now, and they’d be able to participate,” Woods said. “Even if it’s someone just imagining their arms raised over their head — that’s yoga. That’s community.”
Yoga Off Broadway’s mission, according to owner Yvonne Schwartz, is to bring the community together through yoga, making Accessible Yoga the perfect addition to the studio.
Woods participated in a yoga training program teaching her how to instruct such classes, learning how to help amputees, those bound to a wheelchair, those recovering from injuries or surgeries and more.
“We already had some specialized yoga classes, so it was just a great fit,” said Schwartz, of adding the class to the schedule.
The studio also offers Senior Yoga, Teen Yoga and Restorative Yoga, all classes tailored to a specific group of practitioners.
Through teaching Accessible Yoga, Woods hopes to follow through on Yoga Off Broadway’s mission in her own way.
“Hopefully one day there won’t be a division between classes based on physical ability,” Woods said. “It’s about collective breath and collective energy to broaden the community.”
Throughout a class, Woods encourages participants to take whatever steps necessary to make themselves feel comfortable and safe. Have trouble balancing? Feel free to lean against the wall. Trouble getting up from lying down? Sit with a straight back instead.
Woods continually encouraged her students to “make any adjustments to this posture that (they) need.”
They did just that — looking around the room, no two students ever looked exactly the same, some only engaging their upper bodies, others using the wall for balance, some even upside down.
Additionally, the class features a variety of exercises, striking poses while sitting upright, lying down, standing and everything in between. Some exercises incorporated balance and standing still, some on smooth movement and others on breathing.
“My favorite part is the deep breathing that (Woods) engages in,” said Bruce Carey, a participant in the Accessible Yoga class.
Carey isn’t the only fan of Woods and her class, either.
“(Woods) focuses on physical movement for really old people like me,” said Marcie Kittay, a class participant. Her appreciation goes beyond just we weekly workout, however.
“I’ll come to this class whenever it’s offered,” Kittay said. “I’d be here everyday if they offered it.
While the yoga is absolutely accessible, so it the pricing at Yoga Off Broadway — with a number of pass and drop-in options at low rates.
In order to continue to offer yoga at an accessible price, the studio will be hosting An Evening with Spirit, a fundraiser and medium gallery reading on Sunday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. which will feature spiritual readings from a medium with all proceeds benefiting programs at Yoga Off Broadway.
Yoga Off Broadway is opening a new location in the Eagle Climbing and Fitness facility, slated to open in late October, which will focus on more traditional programs, keeping the specialized classes in-house.
Woods is a certified yoga instructor and offers private sessions, even for those that are home- or hospital-bound. She can be reached at lisa email@example.com.
For a complete class schedule and pricing information, visit Yoga Off Broadway’s website http://www.yogaoff broadway.com, and more information on the course Woods took to prepare for teaching the Accessible Yoga course can be found at http://www.accessibleyoga.org.