As someone who is disabled both through the medical as well as the social model of disability, I’m aware that within the chronic illness community, and growing within the neurodivergent community, that yoga has a bad rap. Coming from a medical model of deficits, rather than one that focuses on our abilities and our unique self-expression, the idea that yoga is a “cure” is an antithesis to the very thing that yoga stands for. Which is why for me, I practice yoga as part of disability pride. July also happens to be Disability Pride Month.

My personal reasons for practicing yoga are to feel more comfortable in my body, to stretch and strengthen it in a way that won’t cause me further pain with my fibromyalgia, and at times, ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia. (Truth is, there are days when nothing eases the symptoms since I’m not able to get what works for me nearly all the time due to medical abandonment.) Since I have issues with perioperception (knowing where my body is in space), yoga helps me with that too. And this means that for my two most disabling conditions, my fibromyalgia/chronic pain and my neurodivergence/AuDHD, yoga helps.

It’s not a cure. It’s not a quick fix. And yoga was never meant to be these things if you look at it historically and culturally. It was a way to bring you closer to the gods/Brahmin and to unite the two different aspects of ourselves, matter and spirit. Not body & mind, because our mind is matter. There’s “gray matter” in our brain. It’s a physical, tangible object. Spirit, on the other hand, is the spark which creates life, which powers our brains. It’s our pnuma, our qi, our prana; the energy that we work with when we do energy work.

Yoga allows me to use my body in a way that feels good, that my body actually craves. It allows me to get in touch with my physical self, when I spend so much time in my head. It grounds and centers me, helps me to say mindful of being in the moment. And I love to share it.

So for me, sharing yoga, teaching classes, doing what I do here at Chicken Yogi and Autistic Yoga Teacher, is a matter of disability pride. I am autistic; yoga is my special interest; I love sharing it with others. I’m proud that my brain works this way. I’m proud of what I can accomplish with this body. And I hope that perhaps, by sharing this with you, I can help you find pride this month, too!

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