SCI Superstar: Mary-Jo Fetterly

“If you can breath, you can do yoga.” This is one of the awesome quotes Mary-Jo Fetterly likes to share when she’s teaching yoga. A yoga teacher for over 20 years and an adaptive yoga teach for nearly 10, Mary-Jo, of Vancouver, Canada, came upon the world of spinal cord injuries from a skiing accident 10 years ago.

Since her accident, she’s decided to look at her injury as a project in healing, something her background in natural therapeutics could potentially heal. Initially a C4-6 ASI A complete spinal cord injury, Mary-Jo’s techniques have helped her regain use of her arms and even her hands, when doctors were sure it was impossible. Read on for her incredible story

SCI Superstar: Matthew Sanford

When Matthew Sanford was 13 years old, his entire life changed. He and his family were traveling along an icy road at Christmas when the car skidded, killing his sister and father. He, his mother and brother survived, but Matthew was left with a spinal cord injury.

Matthew however hasn’t let a diagnosis of paraplegia confine him, especially when it comes to his body. He is one of the most well-known, is now the most well-known, yoga teacher with a disability. From founding a successful yoga non-profit to being one of the most dynamic speakers you’ll ever meet, read on to learn about the Zen-filled yogi, Matthew Sanford. Read this entry

Learn to love your entire body with yoga

How can you not love something that’s a part of you? When you’re disabled, the overriding idea is to eschew parts of your body that don’t work and focus on the parts that do, but that can be detrimental to your emotional and mental health. And this is exactly why I’ve grown to love yoga.
Yoga is much more than just Downwards Dog and one upping everyone in the room, it’s about restoring the mind-body connection. Yoga embraces the idea that our bodies and our minds are intertwined physically and metaphysically, and nothing not even a disability can erase this.
A disability however does make it harder to tap into the mind body connection, and is exactly why adapted yoga is so needed. Read this entry

Two video-fied extremes of ‘adaptive’ yoga

“Wheelchair yoga?” Nah, I’ll take the term “adaptive yoga” any day.

Getting out of your wheelchair and onto the mat is one of the best things about an adaptive yoga class. An “out of the wheelchair” yoga class is more like it.

The following two videos – one of a crazily agile paraplegic, the other a high level quadriplegic who needs assistance when practicing – show how no matter your level of spinal cord injury, you can still get out of the chair and do yoga.

The first video comes from our member Wheelz04.  He is a T6-8 paraplegic and is totally into yoga. Since he has full upper-body movement (times a million), he’s able to transfer himself onto the mat and put himself into dozens of poses (he’s so strong he can even walk on his hands!). In fact, there’s a chance he might be the strongest person in a wheelchair I’ve seen.