Yoga conferences, they are a-changin’. And mostly for the better. The first ever Accessible Yoga Conference will happen this year, and that’s one sign that yoga is evolving for good. Accessibility has been a huge topic in the yoga world as of late with many voices calling for an open dialogue about yoga’s adaptability – as in how to truly ensure yoga is for everyone – as well as more classes, teachers and studios who can serve yogis with the myriad of body types and abilities they come to yoga with.
The Accessible Yoga Conference set for September of this year is one great example of progress in the right direction. Founded by Jivana Heyman the idea behind the Accessible Yoga Conference is to create a supportive space for community and learning for people living with disabilities or for those who wish to work with them.
As Heyman told Yoga International in an interview:
The mission of the First Annual Accessible Yoga Conference is to provide a forum where the yoga community can come together to connect, share, and support those who wish to expand access to the yoga teachings to people with disabilities, chronic illness, seniors, and people who may not feel comfortable in a regular yoga class.
The Accessible Yoga Conference is about collaboration and community. We want to shine a light on the beautiful work that is already being done. There are many programs out there doing amazing work sharing yoga with people who don’t have access, and we’re hoping to bring those people together. The conference is about forming a strong network of support for yoga teachers who are teaching adaptive yoga (or would like to be), and creating connections for students who are working on their own practices.
A sample of the workshops include “Serving the Amputee Population with Yoga” with Marsha Danzig, “Asana: Moving from Wheelchair to Floor and Back Again” with JoAnn Lyons, and “Chair Yoga: Yoga for Everyone!” with Stacie Dooreck, as well as talks on yoga therapy, diversity in yoga and a keynote address from Matthew Sanford (Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence).
“This movement is about sharing yoga with everyone,” says Heyman. “Yoga is an empowering practice that offers us a chance to heal ourselves spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.” And we think it’s awesome he’s making sure that goes for everyone wanting to practice.
The First Annual Accessible Yoga Conference is September 12-13th at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center in Santa Barbara, CA. More info at www.accessibleyoga.org.