Paralyzed yoga student


I have had a request from a man who 12 years ago was paralyzed from T4 due to an accident. He would like to begin yoga. He is a disabled athlete, competing in wheelchair races. Good health. Wants to improve his breathing with pranayama and stretch is arms and shoulders which are very strong. Any suggestion?



I just attended the therapeutic intensive at the Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park where a man named Mathew Sanford spoke. He was so inspirational and hopeful; the crowd clapped throughout his story. Mathew is an Iyengar teacher, a husband and a father to name just a few hats. He has been in a wheelchair since he was 13; his spinal cord was damaged in the same car accident that killed his father and sister. His newly published book is called [I]Waking[/I].

Here is a bit from an interview with him.
[I]Sanford turned to yoga and discovered that its poses and postures gave him a renewed sense of energy, a “buzz” or “hum” throughout his body. In 1998, he began adapting yoga movements for people with a range of disabilities, including paralysis, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. At the same time, he realized that his unique perspective was a valuable asset for teaching able-bodied students as well. “Living vibrantly through one’s whole body, whether paralyzed or not, is a powerful part of living,” he says. He sums up his philosophy this way: “Connecting mind and body is not just a health strategy. It is a movement of consciousness that can change the world.”[/I]