Y4A Yoga for Amputees held clinics for attendees of all levels during the Amputee Coalition 2023 National Conference in Orlando, Florida, offering both morning and evening yoga sessions. Y4A Yoga for Amputees has had a presence at the National Conference for many years and this year’s instructor, Heather Thamer, was assisted by Teacher Training Course graduate and below knee amputee Eileen Garney. Heather is an accessible yoga teacher and has been teaching yoga since 2006.
The morning yoga clinics held Thursday, August 3, through Saturday, August 5 on the hotel pool lawn, were a great way to start the active conference day and focused on yoga for strength, balance, and ease. The indoor evening yoga clinics, comprised of gentle movement, relaxing breath work, and guided meditation, were a restful way to end the busy day Thursday and Friday. “The evening meditation classes seemed to be greatly enjoyed, with many attendees remarking afterwards on how relaxed they felt,” Heather said. “Many attendees mentioned how they planned to continue doing yoga after the conference.”
The yoga practices were designed to be accessible to all, and participants practiced yoga in many positions – seated (on the floor, in chairs, or in wheelchairs), standing, lying down, and with and without prostheses. “Attendees were very interested and enthusiastic about how yoga could support their well-being, and many attended multiple classes,” Heather shared. This was the first yoga experience for many conference attendees, while others had some experience and enjoyed having the space to practice with the community.
In all the clinics, participants were shown ways to adapt poses to their specific level of limb loss or limb difference and mobility. These yoga clinics were based on the teachings of Y4A founder, Marsha Therese Danzig, who passed away in January 2022. “After Marsha passed, Lucy Lomax and I took over stewardship of the program,” Heather said. “Lucy and I both trained with Marsha and felt strongly about her work continuing. Her influence was felt throughout the conference.”
If you are interested in experiencing clinics like this for yourself, save the date for our 2024 National Conference August 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia! Learn more about Y4A Yoga for Amputees on their website.