Adapted Yoga Capstone Project

A few months ago I applied for a fellowship that supported graduate students implementing community based projects.  I went through the process of submitting a detailed project proposal and going for an interview, but ultimately I was not selected for the fellowship (which to be honest I am totally ok with, when I interviewed with them it didn’t feel like a great fit!).

The good news is, my faculty advisor that I had been working with on my proposal suggested that I request permission to use my proposed project as my graduate school Capstone Project – and they said yes!  What’s even better is that our Capstone Projects are done in groups, so I now have 3 other classmates working on the project with me!  

Since I hope to share the process of developing this project, I thought it best to start with part of my original proposal – enjoy! 

Fellowship/ Capstone Project Proposal 

As a future physical therapist I believe in the importance of movement and feel that with a little patience and creativity activity can be accessible to any population and any body type through individualized modifications.

As a yoga teacher, I have had many people tell me they “can’t” do yoga.  Since yoga is fundamentally linking breath and movement, I firmly believe if you can breathe, you can practice yoga.  My proposed service project is to offer an appropriately adapted yoga class for individuals with mobility impairments.

The practice of yoga not only offers physical benefits such as strength, balance, coordination and flexibility, but it encourages a quieting of the mind and inner calm for overall improved mental health.  My hope is to share these benefits of yoga with a population that currently does not have access to classes that address their specific needs.

Adapted Yoga

The adapted yoga classes I envision will incorporate breathing techniques (pranayama), mindfulness practice (meditation) and traditional yoga postures (asana) all customized for individual needs and differences using props such as chairs, yoga blocks, straps and bolsters.  These adaptations will allow for participants to make poses accessible, while still experiencing the full benefits of each posture.  Small classes will provide a safe, supportive environment with individual attention and assistance from the instructor and a group of trained volunteers (participant’s caregivers will also be welcome at the class).

My goal is for participants and caregivers to not only enjoy the benefits of yoga while in class, but to provide them with resources and strategies for incorporating yoga into their daily routine, or as I say to my yoga students at the end of each class – “our real practice is taking our yoga off our mat and into our every day living!”

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