“Every body has to be unique because every body is carrying a unique soul.” – Osho
Of all the readings I’ve done for my teacher trainings, this is the passage that has spoken to me the most. It comes from Osho’s Yoga, The Science of the Soul, from a section where he speaks of the necessity of posture being steady and comfortable.He also says, “Be comfortable, because if you are not comfortable in the body, you cannot long for other blessings that belong to deeper layers.”
In a society where there is great focus on the external body, this passage has meaning for many. In every class I teach, I try to infuse the importance of stepping into our own bodies, celebrating our bodies, because they are wonderful vessels carrying our souls. Some days it resonates, others it doesn’t. Even for me.
But here is what I know it true. I’ve seen individuals with bodies that are very different than the ‘norm’, step into their greatness by acknowledging areas where their bodies don’t serve them but, more importantly, focusing on the incredible gifts their bodies have. I’ve seen this again and again with my son, Sean.
If you saw Sean, (yep, that’s him in the photo), you would see a young man whose body is physically compromised in various ways. His high muscle tone in arms and legs and low muscle tone through his trunk make stability and movement challenging. He has metal rods and plates in his spine, jaw, hips, ankles and toes.Breathing deeply is hard work, as are most functions you and I take for granted.
I believe this is why Osho’s quote speaks to me. Sean’s body is unique, as is his amazingly joyous, warm and beautiful soul. He is a yogi.
When we opened Yoga Home, it was always a dream of mine to create a yoga class where Sean could be with other beautiful bodies and souls just like him. The issue of “inclusion” is often a hot topic in education – do you place a child like Sean in a typical classroom with supports or have him attend a school that specializes in serving students with similar needs? It’s a deeply personal choice and there is no right or wrong. The same applies for yoga.
Sean is very welcome in our classes at Yoga Home, and he has enjoyed everything from Power Flow to Vinyasa to Restorative. He (and I) come with the expectation that he will participate as he is able to – and that just being in the room and being in breath with community is enough.
It’s also incredibly valuable for Sean to be in community with individuals whose bodies are similar to his and receive the specialized instruction and assistance to enjoy their practice.
Adaptive Yoga is simply that – adapting the practice to make it accessible for all. We’ll use blocks, blankets, sand bags, chairs and straps to bring bodies of all abilities into their fullest expression of yoga postures, all with the common goal of building the mind-body-spirit connection. And yes, celebrating our beautiful, unique bodies and souls.
At the end of the day, isn’t that what yoga is all about?
Adaptive Yoga at Yoga Home in Conshohocken runs every Saturday 10:45-11:45.