East Meets West: Adaptive Yoga Brings Relief to Individuals with Physical Disabilities
People with severe physical disabilities deal with the chronic pain and musculoskeletal stiffness that comes from overusing the functioning parts of their bodies to compensate for those that are impaired. Over time, their limitation of movement increases – and so does their pain. Our Wellness Program helps participants increase functionality and relieve this pain and discomfort through the use of integrative health therapies such as adaptive yoga, Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure, Feldenkrais movement therapy, and massage therapy. Our Wellness Program is one of the only programs of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ability Now collaborates with the Piedmont Yoga Community’s teacher training program, led by Joann Lyons, who has been teaching people with disabilities for over 20 years. She also offers an annual workshop on Teaching Yoga to People with Disabilities in Oakland as well as offering this workshop outside the Bay Area.
Feldenkrais and acupressure has had a life changing effect on Mandi Palfreyman, an instructor at Ability Now who has Cerebral Palsy. “I knew that if I didn’t do something drastic, I would be in a wheelchair by the time I hit 30. Eighteen years later, I’m still walking.” Although Mandi began the Feldenkrais therapy when she lived in Utah, she has been able to continue it along with massage therapy since coming to Ability Now first as a participant and now as an employee. “Feldenkrais helps with balance and pain relief. I’ve gained the ability to through Feldenkrais to relax my muscles and so I have greater control over my body. The acupressure helps with any aches and pains that I have throughout the day. The combination of both therapies has greatly improved the quality of my life.”