These yogi’s just spent the week of July 25 – July 29 with Sonia Sumar completing Part 2 of the Yoga for the Special Child 95-Hour Certification Program at The Yoga Center. Congratulations, everyone!
Lyndsay Slocumb, instructor of The Yoga Center’s Adaptive Yoga class, found her way to teaching, and to this class, through a life changing personal experience. Always a competitive athlete, Lyndsay was in a severe ski accident at age 14, one that left her learning to adapt to a new way of moving through the world. Lyndsay continues to compete and teaches others how to adapt and thrive as athletes themselves. Each month we will be highlighting a different teacher and their unique class, allowing you to find the class that fits needs you didn’t know could be met with yoga.
This month we feature Lyndsay’s Adaptive Yoga class. Adaptive Yoga is a class that allows each student to begin wherever they are at and move forward from there. “My class does not have a lot of up and down movement as I like to do the majority of the seated poses and then move up for all the standing poses. If there is any nerve/muscle discomfort, any or all poses can be done in a chair and we place another chair in front of the student to place their feet on, the chairs become the new floor. I offer many options in each stretch/pose so students can try one and if they don’t like it that day they can do a different pose to give them the same benefits as the pose the rest of the class is doing.” Lyndsay says “To adapt a yoga pose you start with whatever you can do. We break down a pose into different parts, work on the parts and once you become good at the parts we put the parts back together to do the pose.” Her class is heavy on the use of props, including straps, blocks, blankets, walls or chairs, all provided at The Yoga Center. “If you need to use the wall to help you balance during standing poses, then use the wall. If you are having trouble using the floor for arm balances, you can place a stack of blankets under your arms, or use a chair to bring your body to a more appropriate position to do the pose.”
March 11th marked the 9 year anniversary of Lyndsay’s skiing accident. At age 14 she crashed on a ski jump and was left with life threatening and life altering injuries including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury with so much swelling the doctors were unsure of viable brain use, collapsed lungs, massive internal bleeding, three broken ribs and vertebrae, and kidney damage. “I was in a coma for four weeks, ICU for two months, rehab for two months. I returned home in a wheelchair. Two months later I said goodbye to the wheelchair and was walking, not beautiful at all. I have been doing yoga ever since I was able to walk on my own. I was not able to get to the floor by myself when I started but slowly improved control of my body to where I walk almost normally (you might say it is normal) and gained confidence in myself off the mat in new situations that use to make me an unsettled mess.”
We asked Lyndsay a few questions –
Why did you decide to start teaching? I wanted to give back to the community that had given me so much during my time of figuring out what I was capable of doing. Teaching yoga allowed me to continue doing what I enjoyed (yoga) and a way for me to help others recover from whatever they are going through.
What has been the largest challenge practicing and teaching yoga? It is always a challenge to set time aside to have a yoga practice and consistently do your practice, we get so busy with everything else we try to do in one day. Being able to adapt the yoga practice to each student can be a challenge, for they all get different benefits from different poses. I enjoy hearing from my students what they would like to focus on and having open dialogue about different things as that helps me as the instructor guide them through their practice.
Lyndsay says “I have had quite the journey from where I started as not much more than a lifeless body on the hospital bed to where I am now as a certified yoga instructor (almost for 5 years now), a successful college student, competing in a new sport of wheelchair rugby, and still love to hit the slopes skiing. Much work was put in on my part to be where I am. It is the motivation we give ourselves to try new things and have fun along the way that take us through life. Without the dark tough times, the good sun shining times don’t mean as much. The little things in life should make you smile and be grateful for everything you have. Cherish every day!”
Lyndsay is a business major at University of Nevada, Reno, carrying a full schedule. She is a yoga instructor, teaching at The Yoga Center, at High Sierra Industries and in group homes. She is a champion of her own life.
See her Facebook Page- Lyndsay Slocumb Athlete
To read the story from Reno Gazette Journal click here:
See her video interview with the High Fives Foundation, go to:
Be sure to catch the rerun of her TV episode on The Real Winning Edge this Saturday, March 12., 2016 at 12:00 p.m. on KAME, channel 21.
Mostly, come to her Adaptive Yoga class for FREE only one night – March 25th.
The Yoga Experience for People with Developmental Disabilities… By Mary Bryant, WARC
Yoga has many well-known benefits for all of us. Increased flexibility and stamina, decreased stress and anxiety and improved mental health are just a few. Imagine how useful these benefits are for people with developmental disabilities.
The people at WARC have seen first hand the benefits of Yoga. WARC works with people with developmental disabilities in a variety of work settings. In early 2000, WARC received a healthy Communities Grant from the Nevada Public Health Foundation to provide Yoga Classes to interested people at WARC.
The problem that the grant money was to address was that adults with mental retardation usually lead sedentary lifestyles and have a high stress factor, both of which put them at risk for heart disease.
Our goal was to create a more physically active lifestyle and decrease stress by:
- Creativing an interest in physical/emotional well being
- Providing a physical activity that is enjoyable and is tailored to each individual’s needs and abilites
- Providing a means to handle stress in daily life
- Providing training that can easily be integrated into daily life.
Now one year later, we are thrilled with the results of the program. At the beginning of the program, we had 2-5 people attending the weekly class. Through word of mouth, the interest has expanded and we currently se 12-15 people attending each class.. Because of the size and special needs of our group we now have two certified Yoga Instructors, Kathy Randolph and Holly Laughton, co-teaching each class.
Yoga has taught the students to stretch and lengthen the muscles and helped to rebalance both body and mind. The breathing techniques taught in yoga have produced a calming effect on the mind and body and can be practiced anywhere and any time. We have completed surveys with the participants, their work supervisors and the Yoga instructors. Without exception , the people who routinely participated in the yoga class reported improved flexibility and balance, reduced stress, and increased calmness. In addition, there were some startling improvements:
- John, who has a traumatic brain injury and uses a wheelchair, no longer uses his wheelchair for yoga class and is now doing the standing poses by himself. He now also participates in a martial arts class.
- Amanda, whose mother feared she would not understand the concepts or be able to participate, is now doing all the poses unassisted.
- Ramin takes the bus to The Yoga Center for additional classes.
- Wayne, who has always been thought to be quite uncommunicative, is making jokes (at the expense of the yoga instructors) that everyone enjoys and participates fully in the class.
- Sharon has become more flexible and active as she gets some relief from her arthritis.
Another significant benefit has been the improvement in the self-esteem of the yoga students. For many of them, yoga is an activity at which they are successful. Each person works at his/her own rate. This creates tremendous pride and sense of accomplishment to people who others have not seen as particularly capable in the past.
On a personal note, yoga has been a “ticket” for my daughter, Kailin, to friendship and respect. Kailin is six years old and has Down Syndrome. She has been taking yoga classes from Kathy Randolph at The Yoga Center since she was four years old. She was able to be very successful at yoga poses from the beginning, thanks in part to the low joint tone that is part of Down Syndrome. Because of her success, she practices yoga often, which has improved her muscle and joint tone and increased her stamina. Another benefit has been the increase in her attention span, especially when doing yoga. She often does yoga poses for 30-40 minutes without losing concentration and has even participated in 30 minute meditation sessions after yoga.
Because of her interest and ability, Kailin’s teacher believes that Kailin could have a career as a yoga teacher if she keeps up her practice. Of coarse, it’s a bit embarrassing when my yoga stance is critiqued and corrected by my six-year old!
Most important to me has been how Kailin’s involvement in yoga has made her part of the community. At her kindergarten and pre-school, Kailin is fully included with typical children. To them she is not the “kid with the disability”, she is the “Yoga Kid”. I’ve been told that during free time, she sometimes has up to 10 kids sitting in a circle for impromptu yoga classes that last about 20 minutes. The children gather around her and follow her instruction. And now she is an official “teaching assistant” for Kathy Randolph, who teaches a weekly class to all of the children at Kailin’s pre-school.
So, besides the health benefits, yoga has opened the doors for Kailin and other people with developmental disabilities to be successful, gain respect, make friends and even expose them to not-traditional career options!