Some folks treat yoga as a relaxing, less stressful alternative to their other, dare I say, real workout. Then there are the folks who practice yoga for the mental clarity it can provide. And then there are those who integrate the mind, body and spirit into one big beautiful practice and call it life!
Matthew Sanford, a paraplegic yogi is in this third group. I recently attended a workshop conducted by Matthew and was shown a yoga practice like none I had experienced before.
As Matthew can attest, the benefits of yoga are accessible to everyone. Paralyzed at 13, he started practicing yoga at 25 to rediscover the mind-body connection he had lost and discovered a way to activate his inner body through conscious thought and imagination.
His practice comes from the inside out. Matthew teaches you to focus on what the body can do, instead of what it cannot. Once you surrender to the pose, the mind becomes quiet and alignment will follow.
Correct alignment does a lot more than bring bragging rights; it allows access to your prana or life force so you can live a life of vitality, personal insight, acceptance and gratitude. Once the inner self is realized, compassion and kindness naturally follow.
The physical poses of yoga can’t help but transform the body; muscle growth, flexibility and endurance are inevitable. But yoga’s true purpose is the universal consciousness or connectedness that comes through the work, and the postures are but a vehicle for this inner revelation.
The practice of yoga can be so much more than 90 minutes of exercise. Let go of physical goals and explore the possibilities.
Matthew is a living example of how far a yoga practice can take you. He is living a full life and teaching yoga at Mind Body Solution in Minnesota.
How has yoga changed your life? —Karen