A young woman with Down syndrome meditates in a yoga pose

3 Beginner-Friendly Yoga Poses for Disabled People

Yoga offers both physical and mental health benefits. Even if we haven’t tried it, we’ve heard a lot about it. But how do you start if you’re new or have physical limitations? Start with beginner-friendly yoga poses.

Yoga is inclusive for everyone, including people with physical disabilities. This particular form of yoga is aptly named Inclusive Yoga or All Ability Yoga. And it has value all on its own. Throw out the idea that yoga is only for thin, young women who only drink green juice and eat kale.

Speak to your doctor about incorporating yoga into your life if you haven’t already. Then, try out these 3 beginner-friendly asanas (poses), which are especially useful for people who are living with physical disabilities.

Shavasana

Shavasana is the quintessential rest pose of yoga. Yogis everywhere revere it as one of the most relaxing and peaceful asanas. One of the best benefits of Shavasana is the inner peace it invites.

Start lying down on your back on a mat or on the floor. First, put your legs out. Then place arms by your side but not touching your body. If that position is uncomfortable for you, you can do it sitting in a chair and sprawling the legs out.

The true essence of this pose is restfulness. That means you can practice it however feels most comfortable for your body. Once you find the way that works best for you, close your eyes. Then focus on where your breath is most present. Stay here for 3-5 minutes and allow complete relaxation to wash over you.

Cat/Cow Pose

Also known as Marjaryasana/Bitilasana, this is a simple flow between two poses. It helps open the heart space. Cat/cow pose is part of nearly every yoga sequence. This is because it is simple, accessible, and a wonderful way to warm up the body and mind.

For this pose, most people start on all fours. It also works sitting down on the ground or on a chair. Put your legs out or in, whichever way feels best for you. As you inhale, broaden your chest and look up towards the sky. Exhale as you round your back (like a startled cat) and bring your chin towards your chest.

This is a favorite morning posture and is a great way to start off your day. Practice this series a handful of times until you feel like it has helped.

Tadasana

Also called the mountain pose, tadasana is another wildly popular yoga pose. Both beginner’s classes and expert classes include it. The key benefit of mountain pose is the emotional value it brings. True to its name, it brings forth feelings of strength, fortitude, and stability.

Tadasana is especially great for those experiencing physical pain because it is effective in grounding us in the present moment, which helps us to be more aware of our surroundings and focus less on negative thoughts.

Mountain pose normally starts from a standing position. Put your arms by the side but not touching your body. Face your palms out away from the body. Then gently tilt your head towards the ceiling. However, tadasana is just as effective sitting down. It also has many of the same heart-opening benefits of cat/cow.

Try pairing a grounding affirmation with tadasana such as, “I Embody Strength in My Own Unique Way” to fully embrace the benefits of this quintessential pose.

Enjoying Beginner-Friendly Yoga Poses

Don’t aim for perfection. You don’t need to be super flexible or take hours to meditate. Instead, focus on how it helps you. You may use yoga for stress release, quiet time, exercise, pain relief, or something else. Find what it means to you.

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