Limb Difference and Yoga 289: Limb Difference and Yoga with Melissa D’Errico

Many more people live with limb differences than we might realize. However, we are not taught as yoga teachers how to serve people with limb differences when they come into our classes or create more welcoming and comfortable spaces for them. Melissa D’Errico has some advice and insights to share.

Melissa D’Errico has had a lifelong love of movement. She started dance classes at a young age, and eventually found her way to yoga, earning multiple certifications in yoga in different modalities such as pre-natal yoga, yin yoga, yoga dance, and other forms of yoga. Melissa also offers healing energy work through Reiki. She currently teaches at the Yoga Center of Deerfield Beach, the Meditate School of Mindfulness and at Beyond Transformation and supports the Lucky Fin Project, nonprofit organization working to raise awareness and celebrate children and individuals born with symbrachydactyly or other limb differences (upper, lower, congenital, and amputee).

Melissa shares her story of being born with a limb difference and how that never stopped her from doing anything she felt called to. Melissa also shared some valuable insights around the language that we use around people with limb differences as well as what we as yoga teachers need to know when someone with a limb difference attends our classes.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about people with limb differences and how we can better serve them in our classes. 

Key Takeaways:

[2:15] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Melissa D’Errico.

[5:15] What has Melissa’s yoga journey been like? What is the work she currently does?

[7:17] Shannon and Melissa discuss her experience with yoga dance.

[9:26] Melissa lives in a body with a limb difference. She shares more about her experience.

“I teach yoga with a limb difference.” ~ Melissa D’Errico

[14:59] What should yoga teachers do when someone with a limb difference comes into their class?

[19:11] Melissa shares some insight about dealing with “uncomfortable moments” in a yoga class.

“You probably feel more uncomfortable than the person with a limb difference.” ~ Melissa D’Errico

[20:34] What are some things around language and cues that Melissa would like yoga teachers to know and use?

[22:29] Shannon highlights some re-education she experienced at the Accessible Yoga Conference.

[25:18] Shannon shares a little about the sponsor, OfferingTree.

[27:43] What does Melissa say to people who have a limb difference that they were not born with and are feeling like it’s a disability for them?

[30:54] What made Melissa stop calling her limb difference a birth defect?

[34:14] What are some things from yoga and yoga philosophy that Melissa has learned and applies to her life?

[35:16] Learn more about Melissa or join an online class with her!

[38:11] How does Melissa make her busy schedule work?

[40:25] Melissa shares some final thoughts about teaching students with a limb difference.

“We already know everything we need to know, we just need to remember.” ~ Melissa D’Errico

[41:06] Being a “helicopter yoga teacher” isn’t helpful. Melissa explains more.

[42:24] Shannon shares her key takeaways from this episode.

[49:52] Shannon highlights some of her upcoming events and trainings.


Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.

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