My Yoga Story
My fascination with yoga started in 1970, when I was ten years old. I started following a yoga program that came on TV every day after school and was immediately hooked. Over the years I’ve practiced many different styles – classical Hatha, Vini, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini and Yin – as well as meditation and breath techniques. One of my greatest joys is knowing that I will continue to learn and grow on the yoga mat no matter how old I get. Yoga is as vast as the ocean and even with 45+ years of yoga experience, I still consider myself a beginner.
I graduated from my first teacher training in 2003 at the Therapeutic Approach Yoga Studio in Nova Scotia, Canada. This training was heavily influenced by the owners’ backgrounds as physical therapists, and I am grateful for the solid foundation it gave me in safe practice and therapeutic applications. There have been many teacher trainings since then including Yin Yoga, Adaptive Yoga in Minnesota, advanced yoga therapy, and more.
I am a certified yoga massage therapist (Axelsons, Stockholm), a certified yoga therapist (www.IAYT.org), an Accessible Yoga ambassador (accessibleyoga.org), and as of October 2017, I will be certified to lead yoga for addiction, which combines yoga techniques with the 12-step program.
I am currently leading yoga classes at Friskis and Svettis in Lund, and occasionally aerobic-style exercise classes there as well, and I teach several Chair Yoga classes at senior community centers for the Municipality of Lund (see schedule). I have been on the leader team for Springtime/Friskis and Svettis senior training camps in Monte Gordo, Portugal, several times. I have taught yoga for young women with Down syndrome, for the hearing-impaired community, and stroke patients. I hope to start up classes in 2018 for addiction and for cancer patients. Yoga is not just for the flexible and fit. It’s for everyone. And it is my goal to share its benefits with as many people as possible – regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Springtime/F&S Leader Team 2012
My Teaching Style
I never just lead a yoga class. My intention is always to empower students with the knowledge and confidence to go home and practice on their own. I want them to understand what we do and why we do it. Alignment concerns are balanced against a realistic appreciation for how unique we all are. I am not afraid to allow for the time and silence required for students to discover their mind-body connection. Most importantly, teaching yoga is not a performance art. I am not there to show students what I can do. I am there to help them see what they can do.
The Story of Adaptive Yoga Scandinavia
In May 2010, a woman paralyzed from the waist down rolled into my yoga class at Friskis & Svettis in Åkersberga. She participated from her wheelchair, but I promised I would do a little research on what was available in Stockholm for persons with physical impairments. My internet search turned up absolutely nothing.
What I did find was Mind Body Solutions. Its founder, Matthew Sanford, a paraplegic since the age of 13, came to yoga in his early twenties, because he was tired of overcoming his body. He has since acquired advanced Iyengar Yoga teacher certification and through his own experience has pioneered techniques for adapting yoga for all abilities, and particularly for persons living with paralysis. His website also had a page for an upcoming Adaptive Yoga teacher training in September 2010 in Minnesota.
Thirty minutes later my airfare and hotel were booked, and I had a space reserved at this training. I was terrified. Really terrified. But I have never felt so compelled to do anything in my life.
Unique training model
Mathew’s teacher training was unique in that his own Adaptive Yoga students were constantly dropping in as guests, so the training was deeply hands-on and practical from start to finish. We worked with Sam and Tiffany, two young women with high tetraplegia. And Kevin, who had been living with paraplegia since the age of three when he was run over by a tractor. There were participants with Spina bifida, Multiple sclerosis, and Cerebral palsy. There were individuals struggling to recover from stroke and aneurisms. I am eternally grateful to these individuals for allowing us – some 25 yoga teachers – to access their bodies and their vulnerability, as we fumbled our way through Mathew’s techniques, learning to be comfortable in the presence of suffering without trying to fix it.
Starting up in Sweden
Back home again, I knew I had to start up immediately or it wouldn’t happen at all. I contacted The Swedish Association for Survivors of Accident and Injury (RTP) and discovered a small group of their members looking for a yoga teacher. I started teaching there on a volunteer basis, as practical training. After two years of teaching this group, I could finally say that I was no longer afraid to teach Adaptive Yoga. In fact – in fact I loved it. And I wanted to share it. Thus, Adaptive Yoga Scandinavia was born.
It is my sincere hope that the yoga world is becoming more accessible. It is my sincere hope that I am contributing. It is my sincere hope that you join me, as a student, or as a colleague. Reach out – you won’t regret it!