SANTA MONICA—On March 15, 2020, ‘Inclusive Yoga,’ a yoga class geared towards individuals with disabilities offered at The Center Method in Santa Monica was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to maintain the benefits of the course, yoga instructor David Smith, 30 turned to online platforms as a way to continue both teaching and learning from his students.
“By utilizing technology, video conferencing and facetime,” Smith says, “we are able to bridge the unexpected gap between us and feel connected again.” The hour long class is specifically designed for teens and adults with special needs. In the course students learn to meditate, breathe, practice yoga postures and most importantly – relax. Students are now able to experience the benefits of the course in the comfort of their own home.
Sherry Alvarez, the Mother of a yoga student said, “I am really grateful that my son (who happens to have autism) has been able to continue his yoga sessions during this trying time. His yoga sessions create a moment of normalcy, allows him the opportunity to regulate his body, relieve some of the stress he’s feeling during this time. It’s extremely important that he has access to the people in his life that encourage his cognitive, spiritual, and mental growth. He’s always in a better space after his yoga session.”
Yoga has countless benefits for all individuals, including and especially those with disabilities. These benefits include; increased social-communication skills, awareness and expression of emotions, reduced anxiety, reduction in challenging behaviors, increased body awareness, and most importantly a positive sense of self.
The Los Angeles local, originally from Boston, has worked as a behavioral therapist since 2014. In the Summer of 2019, Smith traveled to Karpathos, Greece to earn his yoga teacher certificate. When he returned to his home in Los Angeles, he worked hard at combining his passions and started offering yoga classes to individuals with disabilities.
The Center Method is a one-stop wellness facility that inspires people to gain back control over their emotions, bodies, and lives by advancing and connecting self, families and community. The owner of The Center Method, Nicole Moore graciously stepped in to provide a space and opportunity for ‘Inclusive Yoga’ to grow. Moore said, “The Center Method’s mission is to promote personal development and healing through an integrated approach in an inclusive environment. Community plays a huge role in mental health; it is through community that we find support, a sense of belonging, and connection with others who may be struggling with something similar.”
For more information on classes currently offered online through The Center Method in Santa Monica, go to thecentermethod.com. To learn more about ‘Inclusive Yoga’ classes, e-mail BeGoodDoChange@gmail.com.