This spring semester, students working with me created a Universally Designed Yoga (UD Yoga) practice, and demonstrated the practice in a new video created to allow anyone to experience the benefits of UD Yoga. I was impressed with all the students, who were creative and willing to try and think about things in new ways with humor and curiosity! They did amazing work that will benefit many people.
We began our work when the semester started in January 2019, responding to a request from Kim Elmore from the Disability Rights Educations Advocacy and Mentoring (DREAM) group for a universally designed (inclusive) yoga practice for and by students.
The students involved in the project had different ideas about what yoga is and who could practice it. They came to the table with a range of experiences with yoga, from none to having done yoga in high school to taking a class in college. The semester included structured learning about universal design and yoga, experiential learning in yoga through exploring and analyzing online videos independently and together in class, as well as taking UD Yoga classes and offering feedback.
The students were open and thoughtful about their experiences and ideas as they contributed to and edited the script that eventually became the video. To do this, they integrated UD concepts, such as auditorily describing the movements (so people would be able to do the practice if they were not able to watch the video), or captioning the video accurately (so people who were not able to listen could practice). We also had many discussions about what position to do the practice in; up until the day before the video shoot we discussed demonstrating multiple positions for each pose. Ultimately the students felt it was more important to keep it simple and have everyone practice in the same basic position with modifications of arm and leg movement and position. It was a good call.
The video is included below. I encourage everyone to practice along with the video and enjoy the benefits of UD Yoga. Remember to stay mindful as you explore this practice. Enjoy the video! (Universal Design Yoga with brief introduction, approximately 14 minutes)