“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” - Stephen Hawking

Yoga is so much more than a physical or sporting activity. In addition to exercises that improve your flexibility, such as sun salutations, and toning muscle, there’s also a whole other side to this activity. In fact, even if our bodies aren’t suited to certain physical activities due to a physical disability or otherwise, we can still enjoy the benefits of yoga.

Yoga has a huge variety of poses that don’t just require physical exertion. There are also plenty of people with physical disabilities who regularly participate in sporting activities. Additionally, there’s also meditation, breathing exercises, concentration, and a whole heap of benefits that yoga can bring regardless of your physical condition.

If you attend yoga classes near me, you'll quickly see that there are plenty of different yoga poses, activities that use your body and mind, breathing techniques (pranayama) that aid relaxation, and a whole spiritual side to the discipline.

Just because you have a physical disability that means you can't do one posture doesn't mean you can't do any of them or that you can't do any type of yoga at all. In fact, there are plenty of different types of yoga from hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, hot yoga, power yoga, ashtanga yoga, and even yoga therapy for the physically disabled.

In this article, we're going to look at why physically disabled people should do yoga, how to be mindful of your body, the benefits of doing so, and improving your wellbeing as a result.

Why Should Physically Disabled People Do Yoga?

Yoga can be found everywhere and more and more people are taking it up. This is an activity that the elderly, pregnant women, and the physically disabled are taking up. Many are working on their alignment, breathing technique, and yoga poses, despite their physical condition.

Who can do yoga?
Yoga is an interesting discipline for anyone. (Source: SofieZborilova)

There are plenty of different physical activities that those with physical disabilities can do. Yoga can actually help a lot of those with physical disabilities through stretching, concentration, and meditation. A physical disability doesn’t mean physically inactive.

Disability yoga is something that everyone with a physical disability should consider. During the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, there were 126 events as opposed to the 403 during the Olympic Games. This figure shows that there’s still a long way to go but at least we’re on the right path.

Are you pregnant?

Consider prenatal yoga! Once you've had the baby, you can even do postnatal yoga. This is a type of restorative yoga designed to tune up your body after pregnancy.

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The Benefits of Disability Yoga

There are certain disciplines that allow you to see sports in a more open and richer way. Yoga is a discipline for everyone that unites concentration, breathing, and physical exertion. Disability yoga also does this. As the name indicates, this is a type of yoga aimed at those with physical disabilities and those in wheelchairs.

What is wheelchair yoga?
Those who use wheelchairs can also enjoy the benefits of yoga. (Source: andreas160578)

The classes are similar to typical yoga sessions but are adapted to the yogi's disabilities. Thus, you can relax, stretch, and harmonise your mind, body, and spirit just like any other yogi would. Something everyone can enjoy.

Isn’t that what happiness is all about?

Check out yoga Edinburgh now.

In just a few sessions, you can become a yogi and do yoga poses that are adapted to your physical condition. While physical disabilities can often mean that certain sporting activities are off the table, disability yoga allows anyone to relax, be mindful of their body, and meet new people.

Find out more about doing yoga as you get older.

Disability Yoga: Being Mindful of Your Body

In addition to all the benefits we’ve mentioned thus far, we should also mention an important benefit and aspect of disability yoga. Yoga is about being mindful of your environment, your mind, your body, and your spirit. You’ll reconnect with your body and gain confidence through the different poses.

What are the benefits of yoga?
Anyone can reconnect with themselves through yoga. (Source: brenkee)

Reconnecting with your body helps you reconnect your mind, something which is hugely important in yoga whether you’re physically disabled or not. When a yoga instructor gives you advice about alignment and channelling energy, this isn’t advice that’s destined for just a select few, it’s advice that applies to everyone.

So are you ready to go for it?

The main benefit of doing yoga is that it can show you exactly what you’re capable of, help you grow stronger, more flexible, and accept yourself and your body. Yoga is a complete discipline that anyone can do, regardless of their situation. You just need to adapt your yoga to you.

Don’t forget that couples can also do yoga together!

Achieve Your Goals with Disability Yoga

Whether you’re in a private class or a group class, disability yoga can help us achieve a number of different goals. Through hard work, you can gain confidence, become more aware of yourself, and focus on achievable goals that once seemed impossible. Your instructor will remind you and show you that we’re all capable of great things.

Over time, your goals will reflect the effort you put in and your potential.

As you get better at yoga, why not set bigger goals?

Nothing can stop us when our body, mind, and spirit are operating in perfect harmony. Poses that once seemed impossible will become part of your everyday yoga routine. Whether you’re physically disabled or not, the goals you set yourself are an important part of your growth as a yogi.

Disability Yoga: Improving Your Wellbeing

In group classes, disability yoga can help us grow as people as well as meet new people with similar objectives. After all, classes are a great way to meet new people and progress as a group with the help of our peers. Group classes are a great opportunity to socialise and make new friends as well.

What are the mental benefits of yoga?
There are more than just physical benefits to doing yoga. (Source: ArtCoreStudios)

Whether you’re physically disabled or not, yoga is an opportunity to learn from one another and improve your physical fitness and your overall wellbeing. In a warm and friendly environment, a specialised yoga instructor can help each of achieve our goals and support us.

Your disability needn’t hold you back when you do a discipline such as yoga. Yoga can be adapted to work for everyone and the social benefits are present in every single type of the discipline.

Yoga can be adapted to every single individual and everyone can enjoy the benefits. With the help of a tutor or instructor, you and your fellow classmates can achieve your goals. In the right atmosphere, everyone can benefit from yoga.

In the end, it’s that easy!

If you're looking for a yoga class or a yoga teacher, you should check out the yoga teachers and tutors on Superprof. Whether you want to improve your mindfulness, relieve anxiety, stress, or tension, or just do a certain yoga pose (asana) or a sequence of yoga postures as part of some physical therapy, you can get in touch with someone and start discussing a yoga class that's tailored to you.

Beginners can start by finding someone who teaches yoga to the physically disabled. They can incorporate plenty of different healing meditative practices to help reduce stress, calm you down, and improve your awareness of your body and mind and the world around you.

Online private tutors tend to offer cheaper tutorials as they don't have as many expenses. However, this mightn't be an ideal solution for those with physical disabilities because there's no tutor there to help you get the poses right. While they can give you advice, they can't immediately jump in and stop you doing a pose that could result in injury.

If you don't have the budget for private yoga classes, you can always discuss getting some friends together and doing yoga group classes with the tutors as well. Tutors will earn more per hour than they would with an individual student and the students will be offered lower rates than they would if they were the only student in the class.

Why not get a few friends together and do a yoga class?

Yoga is more than just a sun salutation, improving your flexibility with a downward facing dog, or sitting with your legs crossed and saying a mantra, you'll soon see that it's about improving your overall wellness with a variety of physical, mental, and spiritual techniques and it's a discipline that anyone, regardless of their personal situation, can do and enjoy.

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Jess