From September 16th to 18th, bright streams of California light mingled with sparkles of luminescence from about 200 yogis gathered in Santa Barbara, California for the 2nd Annual Accessible Yoga Conference. Accessible Yoga, founded by Integral Yoga teacher and minister Reverend Jivana Heyman, is dedicated to sharing the benefits of Yoga with anyone who does not have access to these practices, and with communities that have been excluded or under-served. The event provided an opportunity for teachers to learn about instructing students with a variety of challenges and build networks of professional support and friendship. Among the asana workshops, lectures, and panel discussions were Yoga for the Special Child with Integral Yogi Sonia Sivakami Sumar, Trauma Informed Yoga with Hala Khouri, Therapeutic Yoga with Cheri Clampett, iRest Yoga Nidra with Stephanie Lopez, Yoga of Recovery with Durga Leela, Yoga for Larger Bodies with Dianne Bondy, Yoga for Arthritis with Steffany Moonaz, Chair Yoga with Lakshmi Voelker, Yoga for Visually Impaired with Natasha Baebler, and more. Throughout the 3-day weekend, a palpable sense of compassion and community could be felt among the attendees, presenters, panel members as well as nearly fifty Accessible Yoga Teammates who, by the closing session, were smiling from the heart.
(L-R: Rev. Jivana Heyman, founder of Accessible Yoga with presenter
Sivakami Sumar, founder of Yoga for the Special Child)
About the Author:
Priya Patrice Wagner, RYT 200, trained in the first Accessible Yoga Teacher Training offered by Integral Yoga in 2007, Gentle Yoga, Raja Yoga, Restorative Yoga and iRest Yoga Nidra. She is a Planning Committee member of the Accessible Yoga Conference, teaches people with disabilities and chronic illnesses in Oakland, California, where she lives.