Ep 138: Accessible Yoga Beyond Asana with Jivana Heyman

What does it mean to make yoga accessible to everyone? Yoga goes beyond just asana, so what does it really mean? Jivana Heyman is one of the frontrunners of changing the thinking around yoga and making the whole of yoga accessible to everyone.

Jivana Heyman is the Founder and Director of Accessible Yoga, an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to yoga teachings through education, training, and advocacy with the mission of shifting the public perception of yoga. Over ten years ago, he coined the term “accessible yoga”, and since then, it has gained traction and is impacting the larger yoga world. As a yoga teacher, Jivana has specialized in teaching yoga to people with disabilities with an emphasis on community building and social engagement and has led countless yoga teacher training programs around the world over the past 25 years.

At its core, Accessible Yoga is about highlighting the amazing work people are doing and creating new connections and community. Jivana shares more about how we can make yoga more accessible, on the level of individual classes, trainings, and in yoga culture in general. He also reveals some of the content of his new book Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body, to be released in November 2019. Jivana also reveals why collaboration and creativity are an important part of making yoga accessible to all.

This is such an important topic for all yoga teachers who want to share yoga with everybody, and this episode will inspire you to see making yoga accessible to all in a new light.

Key Takeaways:

[5:19] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Jivana Heyman.

[7:13] What does Jivana do and who does he do it for?

“The work of Accessible Yoga is to highlight the incredible work that’s out there, not really creating something new.” ~ Jivana Heyman

[8:52] What are some aspects in which Jivana sees that yoga is not accessible to all people?

[11:21] Accessible Yoga is about highlighting the amazing work people are doing and creating new connections and community.

[13:00] Jivana shares his personal experience of how yoga impacted him in a way that saved his life.

[15:48] Jivana has a new book coming out in November 2019. He talks about the inspiration for the book and what it covers.

[20:37] At the heart of Jivana’s work is making the whole of yoga, beyond just asana, accessible to everyone. He gives an example of this.

[22:29] How does Jivana illustrate and make the rest of the 8 limbs (apart from asana) accessible in his book?

[24:29] What are some of the messages Jivana is trying to get through to yoga teachers?

“Doing your practice is the least selfish thing you can do. Taking care of ourselves is the most serviceful thing we can do for the world.” ~ Jivana Heyman

[27:35] Two main aspects Jivana focuses on during his trainings for teachers are creativity and collaboration. He explains how creativity factors to teaching yoga.

[33:15] How does collaboration factor into making yoga more accessible?

[40:37] How long has Jivana been doing his work with the Accessible Yoga organization?

[42:31] Jivana speaks about his vision for Accessible Yoga and how that has revealed itself to him over time.

[45:10] What is the yoga world, and what is its relationship to the rest of the world?

[46:09] Jivana has recently changed his social media strategy. He explains what prompted this change.

“You can learn to paint by copying great masters, that’s an amazing way to study. But eventually, to be an artist, you have to paint your own way.” ~ Jivana Heyman

[49:52] Accessibility often starts with finances. Why does Jivana believe that?

[53:07] What were some things that came up as Jivana was writing his book? Shannon and Jivana discuss the ego.

[1:03:27] Jivana shares some of his final pieces of advice.

[1:04:35] Get in touch with Jivana via his website, and be sure to follow him on social media.

[1:05:42] What does accessible yoga mean to you?

“At the heart of my work is not really asana, but actually the whole of yoga and really thinking differently.” ~ Jivana Heyman

[1:07:36] Shannon gives us a sneak preview of what’s coming up next week on the podcast!


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