What inspired me to write this article, besides listening to his keynote address, was a four-minute video I watched of Matthew Sanford talking with YogaJournal.com, Yoga and Healing Trauma, in which he discusses how practicing yoga poses can help people move through trauma, pain, and sadness. I encourage you to watch it for yourself!
Matthew Sanford says, "The body is the best home your mind is ever going to have", and that the body is a powerful vehicle to help support the mind as it deals with trauma and sadness.
An example he gives is of someone with painful arthritis of the hand who might become overly focused on the pain they experience in that hand. They're afraid to do much with it, because they know it will hurt. Their awareness is narrowed down to this experience of a painful hand, and Sanford says this contributes to an enormous loss of freedom in our life.
The practice of yoga helps us to distribute our awareness throughout the whole body, so we are more than just that painful arthritic hand. We can live more freely, and deal with more pain and discomfort, both physically and emotionally, if we can focus on our whole being and not just on the discomfort.
Our body, when we use it well, can help steady our mind, so that even though the pain and discomfort is still there, we aren't completely ruled by it. We can maintain more of a sense of equanimity in the face of hardships.
Matthew Sanford is indeed very inspiring, and I like his smile too :-) You can do yoga with scoliosis -- Elise Browning Miller is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher who specializes in yoga for scoliosis. I know she has a good video out for yoga for scoliosis, although I haven't watched it. Stiffness and lack of balance can also be dealt with! You can use a wall or chair for support, and other props to compensate for stiffness. I recommend looking for an Iyengar Yoga teacher, and maybe starting with a Gentle Yoga class if you can find one in your area.
I was interested in this piece when I saw the beautiful smile on Matthew's face, despite his circumstances. His spirit just shines right through! I also would like to do yoga, but have scoliosis and have some balance issues and areas that don't move that well. I would like to look into this more. Thanks for the wonderful piece!
I can't post the video on this page, because it's not a YouTube video. I'm glad you enjoyed the page. Thanks for your comment!
What a great message Matthew Sanford and yoga has, to live in your whole body! Why not post that video of him on this page as well? (I clicked on the image and saw it that way.)
I'm glad it's inspiring to you, katiem2! He's an incredible guy. I'd suggest that when you start back to yoga, you start back slowly, in a gentler class, or with a gentler practice than what you had been doing before, just to see how it goes. You can always move up and do more as you're ready.
WOW this is inspiring. I've been in therapy for 7 months for head and spinal trauma. I've been hoping to get back to yoga this summer, now I feel totally inspired and know I can do it. Thanks for the hope and making my day.
I'm glad you found someone to share this article with, Sheri. Matthew Sanford is inspiring in so many ways. Thanks for commenting.
I just had to share this one with my friends.
What an inspiring story! Exercise, in any form, can have such an amazing healing power, both in mind and in body, if we let it. Great article.
He's certainly an inspiration to everyone. We can all gain from having his perspective on life. Great article.