How do Hatha Yoga and Accessible Yoga Intersect?
In every Yoga class, it’s important to consider how we can make the practice accessible to everyone. Yoga teacher Sam Lane incorporates both Accessible Yoga practices and Hatha Yoga tradition into his Chair and Mat Friendly classes in order to make Yoga available for a variety of students.
"When Revolution (previously Rubber Soul Collective) began in 2006, my life was saved by asana and pranayama. Here I first realized the benefits of meditation and Yoga," he says. "An interpretation of that initial Hatha sequence practiced weekly for not even a full year was the reason my mind and body were able to sustain and recover from a life-threatening accident and traumatic brain injury. Suddenly a yoga class wasn't just something I could walk into. My access was cut off by physical circumstances.”
In order to make all students feel welcome, accessibility helps establish a safe and comfortable space. Sam explains that “economic, social, and cultural barriers, along with physical ones, [should be] considered if a class is to be truly accessible.”
How might someone combine Accessible Yoga into a Hatha yoga practice? Well, in Sam's perspective, “It's not a question of incorporating one into the other; rather, Accessible Yoga is a wider lens allowing more people to see and be seen.”
Of course, every yoga practice is going to vary based on the individual. An Accessible Yoga practice invites students to find poses and meditations that are personally inviting and inspiring. When asked about his favorite practices, Sam mentions Sarvangasana, or legs up the wall, as well as the mantra "Om Hreem Namah Shivaya.”
Accessible Yoga practices are a great way to welcome more students into the yoga community. By minimizing barriers to the class initially, students are more likely to focus inward and meditate on the practice at hand. Sam Lane recommends that above all, one piece of advice everyone should know about Accessible Yoga is "Try not to lose your breath."
Learn more about Sam Lane and his classes here.
Author: Suzanne Godard