October 6, 2008

Matthew Sanford: Yoga for the Disabled! Chanda Plan, via 9News.com.



Yoga instructor helps disabled feel again: Heidi McGuire

DENVER – Grab your yoga mat. You’re about to learn about a mind-body exercise like no other. 

For the past decade Minnesota-based yoga instructor Matthew Sanford has been showing people what they can do with their bodies when then open their minds.

What makes his approach different is he does it all from his wheelchair. 

Sanford was in a car accident nearly 30 years ago that killed his father and sister and left him paralyzed.

He’s been practicing yoga for 17 years now because he says he wasn’t ready to forget about the parts he couldn’t feel.

“I missed my body, I missed hanging upside down and playing with balls and jumping over things,” he explained. 

For video, click here

Sanford came up with adaptive yoga moves anyone can do, and he now teaches those moves to others living with disabilities.

“I want everyone to sit up straight and tall,” he said to a room full of students on Saturday. 

Chanda Hinton was paralyzed from the chest down when she was nine.

Her sister Crystal first got her involved in yoga before she met Sanford, but she wasn’t sure it would work.

“I couldn’t really grasp that whole reality, because I was like, ‘I can’t do yoga,’” said Hinton. 

Hinton was wrong.

“You get into slight movements or slight poses that are affirming for the body,” she explained. 

Three years ago, Hinton decided she wanted others to experience that same feeling so she formed the Chanda Plan Foundation in Denver.

“I looked at what the Chanda Plan was doing and I looked at what Sanford was doing and I knew that there was a huge collaboration piece,” Hinton said. 

The two forces came together in a gym on the Auraria Campus on Saturday as a room full of both able-bodied and disabled people learned yoga together. 

“It’s about the mind body connection,” said Hinton.

To learn more about the Chanda Plan Foundation and alternative therapies, click here:http://iamtheplan.org/.



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