“Be like the water making It’s way through the cracks. Do not be assertive but adjust to the object and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.” – Bruce Lee
Accessible or adaptive yoga as I used to call it, gives us an opportunity to think in a different way. We can recognize some popular yoga poses in a book or front page of a yoga magazine, but it takes discernment to be able to de-construct the pose in order to make it personal. In other words, “What is the prescription for the individual, based upon their current state of physical, mental and emotional health?”
Goswami Kriyananda told us that his doctor asked him why he had knee issues when he had been practicing yoga for decades. He replied that it was exactly because he had been practicing yoga for decades, that he had knee issues. (forcing himself to sit in Padmasana or Lotus Pose to meditate, I learned)
Discomfort, according to the Cambridge Dictionary means, “The feeling of not being comfortable either from a physical cause or from a situation, or something that causes this feeling.”
It is sometimes uncomfortable to be in a yoga class and not be able to ‘do’ yoga poses done before injury, degeneration etc… but as my Paramguru used to point out, “That is not the problem. The problem is our inability to adapt, adjust and acclimatize to life circumstances and its many changes.” This disables a feeling of contentment or Santosha.
Asana should be a Pranic model, which is to say that we are looking beyond the ‘Annamaya Kosha or food sheath in order to find balance! One of my earliest students who was also one of my greatest teachers told me of his joy at being able to practice Surya Namaskar in the water post stroke. He used to practice this vinyasa or flow sequence as a young adult but stopped because he couldn’t practice in the way he always had. He loved being in the water and his doctor had told him to try water exercise to gain better balance and gait and improve his breathing. In fact, as he began his new journey of Aqua Yoga, he remembered how much joy the practice gave him and was able to connect to a feeling state of joy through his interpretation of the series. He remembered how much control of his breathing and therefore thoughts he had back then and how much he embraced life. He would start the day with a glass of champagne to celebrate that he was not dead yet. I love that!
As ‘spiritual scientists’ we know that much of our growth comes from being uncomfortable. Re-defining pain as a noun (sharp pain) or making it a verb such as “I feel anxious or embarrassed or upset when…. “is rooted in Svadhyaya or Self-Study and is what can help us improve our lives by finding contentment despite the many changes.
In Accessible yoga we look at what challenges our function and form throughout our life, and if being in the water improves that, then it is a viable place to practice Yoga.
Camella has been pioneering yoga in the water for more than 2 decades. It makes yoga accessible for the novice with pre-existing conditions as well as allowing yoga practitioners to continue their asana practice as their body ages or through physical challenges. Due to Covid, many of the training's have been postponed this year.
At the moment Mt Dora in August is on for level 1, Minnesota in September for level 2 and the UK in October for level 1. for questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org