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Matthew Sanford, Paralyzed Yoga Teacher Inspires Disabled, and Everyone Else

in YD News, Yoga Heroes

Stories of yoga inspiration! Not hard to come by these days, and that’s a wonderfully fabulous thing. Meet Matthew Sanford, he’s been paralyzed from the chest down since he was 13 and has spent the past 29 years in a wheelchair. But he’s not sitting still. Approximately 20 years ago he discovered yoga and the power of mind/body connection, which he says has changed his life. Now he spends his days teaching yoga to disabled kids and adults, as well as typical students, inspiring them to increase strength, flexibility and balance, not only in the body, but also in the mind.

“Don’t give up on your bodies,” Sanford pleads, reminding them — and himself — that their bodies didn’t ask for the circumstances that caused their disabilities. “Your body’s doing the best it can.”

Sanford believes that yoga increases strength, balance and flexibility (both mental and physical), spurs discovery of a subtle level of mind-body sensation not impeded by disability, improves the quality of breathing, provides a sense of lightness and freedom within the body, helps manage stress, and offers a deepened sense of wholeness and connection with others.

We are so grateful to hear about Yoga Heroes like Matthew who defy the odds and find the strength within to go out and help others. Also, we love when we get even more proof that yoga is for everyone!

To learn more about Matthew Sanford’s work (he also travels around doing speaking gigs) check out his website www.matthewsanford.com and his book Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence.

Via SunTimes.com

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11 comments… add one

  • I heard Matthew Sanford on NPR (I think) a few years ago and was inspired and heartened by his story. Kudos to his hard work and Jo Zukovich for her knowledge, experience and commitment to his healing.

  • he is amazing and truly an inspiration…I recommend his book to students who think they will never be “good” at yoga because of [fill in blank]….

  • very cool. very inspiring.

  • Mary Beth Ray

    I have read his book twice – his story is such an inspiration. Highly recommend “Waking” to everyone.

  • Reading about Matthew is touching and inspiring and even changes the way I practice. I am so glad he and his message are getting more attention. Not only is his personal story so amazing, but I love that he focuses on training health professionals and caretakers to use yoga to heal their patients. So powerful. Thanks for spreading the word, YD.

  • What a beautiful story!

  • Don’t miss the book. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read about anything.

    Bob W.

  • Wonderful story! I will definitely have to get Mathew’s book!

  • Matthew is an inspiration! Its so helpful to have yoga teachers out there like him, so people can start to really “get” that yoga isn’t just a series of “stretches”. Yeah!

  • Wow – I am inspired by this. Must get the book. Thanks for sharing Matthew’s story!

  • Shanda

    Wow – thank you, YD!

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