PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — International Day of Yoga was celebrated this week. Proclaimed by the United Nations, the celebration draws attention to the health benefits of yoga.
And that includes for people with disabilities.
Yoga has become very popular. Doctors say it can provide a variety of health benefits and that extends to people with disabilities.
Now, there are special yoga classes for special populations. One was started by a mom who was inspired by her son.
It’s adaptive yoga for people with disabilities. According to Kerri Hanlon the class services a wide range a disabilities from cerebral palsy, MS, stroke survivors, Parkinson’s, and down syndrome.
Kerri Hanlon has been practicing yoga for years, now it’s something she does with her son Sean who has cerebral palsy and others with disabilities.
“Yoga is for everybody, and so it doesn’t matter your age or size or anything. It doesn’t matter if you can’t,” Hanlon said. “Touch your toes, it doesn’t matter. We just want everyone to feel really welcomed here.”
Sean is 18 now and he has been hospitalized countless times, mainly for breathing issues. That is until three years ago, when Kerri started doing yoga with him.
“I needed the practice to keep my body and soul. Then I realized, Sean needed the same thing,” she said. “And, Yoga really became a pathway for him to move his breath where he needs it, to help clear his lungs, so that he’s not developing as many pneumonias. He has greater tools to keep himself safe.”
Along with better breathing, yoga can improve strength, flexibility, muscle tone and more.
“It’s the whole package, body mind and spirit. Yoga means union, so it’s bringing all those things together,” she said. “That sense of really being able to come home into their body is really critical with individuals with disabilities.”
After seeing what yoga did for her son, Kerri who’s certified in adaptive yoga, now does classes for others with disabilities at her studio yoga home in Conshohocken.
On Saturday, June 25th they’ll be doing yoga for special populations, a day of free classes for people with disabilities. Some of the classes include yoga for care givers and for kids on the spectrum.