Working with different Abilities

The Dublin School of Yoga (DSY) has been working with people of different abilities since 2007 in the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) along with developing classes for Muscular Dystrophy Ireland (MDI).  Our approach has always been to focus on the individuals’ abilities and maximizing the benefits based on what works for everyone.

The DSY currently runs 3 classes per week in the CRC, two in the Day Activity Centre and one in the Training & Development Department The classes include a wide variety of students with a huge range of abilities. We recognise the importance of supporting physical health and how it feeds into all areas of your life. For those with different abilities we generally run classes with everyone seated. This not only ensures safety, but it also allows those with balancing issues to fully participate in the class.

We designed and developed our own ‘Chair Yoga’ classes based on our extensive experience of working in this area.  All the students participate as best as they can within their own abilities and learn to perform forward, back and side bends along with twisting movements. We teach a specially designed version of the Sun salutation and a robot version that can be performed whilst sitting. 

Currently our students can perform joint movement (Pawanmuktasana 1), they are simple joint movement that are carried out whilst practicing counting and breath awareness. These easy to perform movements have numerous benefits for participants with different abilities including, but not limited to, anti-rheumatic and stress relieving benefits.

In the practice of yoga, the focus on breathing techniques reaps immense benefits, and its importance cannot be understated. Learning the mechanics of breathing allows the participants to keep their minds clear and clam, reducing the impacts of everyday stresses. 

In the neuro- muscular classes, the focus is on strengthening the functions of your heart and diaphragm muscles. We work extensively on improving joint movements and each student is provided with a CD and handouts to assist the continued practice in their own homes.

Each class is ended with a 20-minute pranayama (the practice of breath regulation), students are extremely responsive to this element of the class. The goal of pranayama is to strengthen the connection between your body and mind and promotes relaxation and mindfulness.

Currently the DSY is working on the development and delivery of a 12-week course for wheelchair users and others with mobility issues. The aim of the courses is to assist improvements with health and its management. The yoga techniques used in the classes will allow students to not only maintain good physical health, but it will also provide information on nutrition, mediation, and the use of pranayama to assist with positive mental health.

We feel extremely blessed to work with the clients of Central Remedial Clinics and see our role as one of complementing the dedicated work the clinics staff already provide on a daily basis.