Handicap International is organizing an inclusive and free yoga class this Tuesday on the Place des Nations. Objective: to change the way people look at people with disabilities.
On the occasion of the International Day of yoga, this Tuesday, an inclusive and free course takes place this Tuesday 21 at 12:15 p.m. at the Place des Nations, in Geneva (postponed to June 28 in case of rain). This event closes the #enbleu campaign organized by Handicap International in early May, the aim of which is to support people with disabilities around the world.
Petra Schroeter, one of the two certified yoga instructors who leads the course, tells us about the benefits of this discipline for people in wheelchairs and the importance of inclusive events.
Why offer an inclusive yoga class?
By being part of a group, the person with a disability is recognized and valued. In addition, it allows you to change the look. That of people with disabilities on themselves; they realize that they have a body that can do a lot of things and feel alive, but also that of people living without disabilities. There is often a lack of knowledge on their part and therefore prejudices. Sharing a yoga class together is breaking down barriers and enriching each other.
What is a wheelchair-friendly yoga class?
We work as much on postures, breathing as touch. For example: patting your legs, arms, belly. This stimulates the muscles and organs, reconnects with the body and thereby recreates self-confidence. We also do exercises to open the upper body and straighten the shoulders because people in wheelchairs often tend to sag. By opening the chest, they look up, they see and they are seen. Visualization is also at the heart of the practice. It gives the possibility to people unable to move certain parts of their bodies to create a link with it by paying attention to it.
What benefits does yoga bring to people with disabilities?
It allows them to reconnect with their body and to feel alive, thanks in particular to breathing. As we mentioned earlier, the seated posture has harmful consequences. Moreover, the fact of no longer feeling parts of their bodies leads some people with disabilities to want to forget them, to cut themselves off completely. However, their bodies are as beautiful as those of people living without disabilities.
And more generally sport?
When you’re disabled, you feel like your body doesn’t work and there are a lot of things you can’t do. Because we don’t believe in it or we can’t afford it. Moving allows us to reconnect with our body, the very body that connects us to others, and to see that, even in a wheelchair, we can fully be part of society. The main thing is to adapt the movement to the person. There is not a yoga for all, but a yoga for everyone.
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Event in French-speaking Switzerland: Wheelchair yoga in Geneva
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