Yoga for All Abilities
Guided by Humanity is providing inclusive yoga and mindfulness opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Today, there is no question that the practice of yoga and mindfulness enhances the wellbeing of those that take part in them. Research tells us as much. But, traditionally, most of these ancient practices have not been accessible to those with special needs. Thankfully, RMHS Mill Levy partner, Guided by Humanity (GBH), has changed that.
GBH is the first accessible and inclusive holistic health and wellness organization in the state of Colorado. The organization offers an array of equitable yoga and mindfulness practices and classes designed to benefit individuals in underserved communities, specifically those with intellectual disabilities and at-risk youth.
“The classes are more than a yoga class, it’s a place where every ABILITY is seen, validated, and heard,” said Mary Medellin Sims, Founder of GBH.
The Yoga for All Abilities program at GBH provides inclusive yoga opportunities specifically designed to fit the needs of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Classes are crafted to focus on social-emotional learning and coping skills, and mindfulness activities are incorporated to build rapport with the group and to help increase awareness and focus. In-depth breathing techniques are also used to activate the central nervous system, specifically the parasympathetic nervous system, for rest and digestion.
What makes these classes so unique is the strong focus on trauma sensitive and accessible practices through slow mindful movement, breathing techniques, sound healing and community. Classes are kept small for quality and more individualized instruction.
The instructors at GBH are also keenly aware of the stress and social isolation that people are facing because of the current climate and COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, extra steps are taken to support students in addressing those challenges in their yoga classes.
“In these times of mass shootings, and the pandemic, it is imperative to address our physical, mental and social health,” said Medellin Sims.
Medellin Sims has more than two decades of experience with folks who have an intellectual and/or developmental disability. Her experience in working with people with I/DDs allows her to put thoughtful consideration into GBH yoga classes and the wellbeing of their students.
“Trust is key, and students can feel the level of trust built up over the years, allowing them to try physical movements they have not exhibited before,” said Medellin Sims.
About GBH classes
All Abilities Yoga: This class offers a variety of day programs and focuses specifically on those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
Yoga for EveryBODY: This class is open to those with all abilities and adaptive needs, specifically for students that are comfortable in open community classes. Classes support those who might need additional support but would also like to practice with friends, community members, and caregivers all together.
All GBH classes are taught in a style that is accessible and inclusive to everyone.
To learn more about Mill Levy funded community initiatives like GBH, visit www.rmhumanservices.org/ml.