Adaptive Yoga with Lyndsay Slocumb: Adapting to Now.

“It’s not about what your body can do, it’s about what you can do in your body.” – Lyndsay Slocumb
Lyndsay Slocumb


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.”

Lyndsay Slocumbyoga Lyndsay Slocumbteacher Lyndsay Slocumbstudent

 

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.

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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:

http://on.rgj.com /1Mjnl9u

See her video interview with the High Fives Foundation, go to:

https://vimeo.com/130776415

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 Center presents Welcome to Adaptive Yoga

The Yoga Experience For People With Developmental Disabilities

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!

Kathy Randolph and Kailin KK Kelderman
Kathy Randolph and Kailin KK Kelderman

Yoga For Dystonia

YOGA FOR DYSTONIA

by Kathy Randolph, Certified Practitioner of Yoga for the Special Child™

Yoga is an ancient discipline to bring body, breath and mind into balance. The eight-fold path of yoga includes avoiding unhealthy behaviors and attitudes, cultivating healthy practices, practicing yoga postures to gain control and stillness in the body, breathing exercises to control energy and stress, mental exercises to focus within, concentration, meditation, and a connection with the universe.

The two physical branches of yoga, the postures and the breathing, make up Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is founded on the truth that the state of the mind is inextricably combined with the condition of the body. Using the postures and breathing together provides a powerful method for reducing muscle spasms and tightness in the neck and shoulders, relaxing the body and mind, and relieving stress.

First, the full diaphragmatic breath, to provide maximum oxygenation of the muscles. Place one hand on your abdomen, with your thumb on your navel and the rest of your hand below. Breathe deep into your lungs, trying to fill the lowest section first. Your lungs extend to two inches below your navel on the right and four inches below your navel on the left. As you inhale, your lungs will expand, moving your hand away from your spine. As you exhale your lungs will empty and your hand will move toward your spine. Continue breathing fully into your low lungs until the motion is smooth. Then add your ribcage. First, fill your low lungs, then try to expand your ribcage and fill your lungs in your middle chest. Continue this breath, low lungs and then middle lungs until it feels smooth. Then add the upper chest. Fill your low lungs, then middle lungs, and then try to top it off, filling your lungs to maximum capacity. Continue breathing in this wave, low…middle…top, until it feels smooth.

The deep breathing of yoga brings oxygen into the muscles, and allows the old chemicals such as lactic acid and adrenaline to be released back into the blood stream and exhaled, speeding the release of tension from the muscles. In addition, since you are moving more oxygen with each breath, using your full lung capacity allows you to breathe slower, reducing your heart rate and blood pressure. When we are calm, we breathe slowly and deeply. Our minds and bodies are so connected that when we breathe slowly and deeply, our minds think we are calm. This allows us to use our ability to control our breath to choose to deliberately alter our mental state.

Building on this base of oxygenation, muscle relaxation and stress relief, let’s add the physical stretches for the neck and shoulders. Refer to the illustrations for a general idea of the pose.

Slow Motion Dive: Sit erect in a chair with your hands on your knees and inhale fully. As you exhale, slowly lower yourself with your hands to knee level and let your head hang freely. If you can go further, place your hands on the floor and continue to lower yourself. Pause there up to one minute, breathing fully, letting the weight of your head stretch out your neck and spine. Then, inhaling, lift yourself up with your arms, head still hanging until last. This pose stretches the neck, shoulders and upper back.

Seated Neck Stretch: Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor, breathing fully. Place your right hand behind your left ear, grasping the base of your skull. As you exhale, gently pull your skull to the right, stretching your neck, then turn and look at your right knee. Pause, gently pulling and breathing fully, then release. Repeat on the other side. This pose stretches the neck muscles.

Seated Half Moon: Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor, breathing fully. Place your right hand on the seat of the chair or the floor. With your left palm up, inhale and lift your left hand up, then exhale, curving to the right. Be sure to move sideways, rather than forward. Repeat on the other side. This pose release the ribcage.

Seated Twist: Sit comfortably in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Inhale and straighten your spine. As you exhale, bring your right hand across to your left knee and turn in your low spine to the left. Hold the position as you inhale, then as you exhale try to turn further, using your ribcage. Hold the position as you inhale, then exhale turning your head if possible. Repeat on the other side. This releases the neck and ribcage.

Circle of Joy: Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. Interlace your fingers. Exhale and press your arms forward, palms away from you. Inhale and lift your arms overhead, palms up. Exhale, releasing your arms to the side and around behind you. Interlace your fingers, palms away from you and inhale, straightening your elbows as much as possible. Exhale, bending forward. Inhale, release your arms and sit up. Repeat as desired. This stretches the neck, shoulders, arms and back, releasing all the muscles used in breathing.

Bent Knee Dive: Sit comfortably in a chair. Place your left ankle on your right knee. As you exhale, lower yourself forward, head hanging. Pause and breathe, then raise yourself with your arms, head hanging until last. This pose stretches the neck shoulders, back and hips.

Now, having done the stretches that appeal to you, return to the full diaphragmatic breath. Does it feel freer? smoother? deeper? The breath enhances the benefits of the poses, and the poses make the breath fuller and more beneficial.

Remember, you control your breath, and with that control, you can alter your physical and mental state at will.

Breathe!

Kathy Randolph