How are we still living in the civl rights movement?
The month of May was packed with amazing conferences and meetings. I was asked to participate in the annual in person meeting with the Florida Department of Health Disability Division. Bet you did not know that this subsection exists? I didn’t either until I found out about a very large grant that the state of Florida received from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. I called Tallahassee and asked how I can help. We now collaborate on how to make health care more accessible to people of all needs but especially developmental disabilities. This is not just physical or finical barriers- it is attitude as well. Almost all MDs receive no training in medical school on how to best treat let alone interact with someone that has communication differences, physical limitations, or just does not look or act like themselves.
At the end of the month, I had the honor of co-presenting at The Accessible Yoga Conference. Yes, this is a thing. It was truly amazing hearing stories of diversity and even oppression that still occurs today not just with disabilities but with gender identification, sexual orientation, and color. They had the same theme through out the conference. Yes there are physical and finical barriers in society but the attitude is the worst of them all. How can use something like yoga as a catalyst for change? The picture above is an amazing yoga teacher who happens to have cerebral palsy. Did you know almost all yoga studios are not accessible? This includes attitude. To read more about Ryan, please check out his article in Yoga International.
Jivana Heyman (pictured) is the founder of Accessible Yoga. He mentioned something during the weekend- ask why? I was this kid so I get what he was saying. Why would you do that? Why? I think about others that I have met in my journey and have asked why would they do that so many times. When I interact with the community, many times I get “that’s so nice you do that with those people”. Those people? Really? Then I meet others that want to help “those people” but why? I had the opportunity to meet the Co-Founder of the Yoga Service Council, Amina Naru. She mentioned that many people try to lead with their heart however may not be the most qualified. So when I ask why, I don’t always get a response. We want people to help one another but in a safe way. (Refer back to a previous blog post Safe Practice when I talk about ahisma or do no harm.) I received a phone call right after this conference where a traditional yoga studio attempted to accommodate an individual that they were not trained for. This individual could have gotten hurt and traumatized to the point of not trying yoga again.
In sanscrit, the word sanga means community. Everyone in the community has the right to feel included regardless. How can we support one another? In the local yoga community, how can I serve? I am still looking for a yoga studio to partner with. My business prepare individuals to participate in their communities. They should not have to be with me forever. Thats not the point. Most studios in the area are physical barriers but the attitudes. (Large sigh) Yes I use yoga but there are barriers in education, law enforcement, public events, and the list goes on. How can I serve?
I could go on forever but I will end with a quote from the late Ed Roberts (disability activist)- “And we are going to develop leadership that has a fundamental difference. That is, it’s inclusive. It believes in people and in our strengths together. And we are going to change our society.”