Bodies are human and imperfect — and that’s ok! Gentle, joyful, respectful yoga for all sizes, shapes, ages, and abilities.
How many of us have had this thought upon seeing ads or notices for yoga classes? “I would love to try yoga! Oh wait, I can’t do yoga, who am I kidding? I am not flexible enough, I have a disability, I am too old, I am too fat, I can’t get up from the floor etc.”
In what ways do you make your dreams and goals inaccessible? What are the impediments, barriers, you put up to tell yourself you can’t access your desires?
Often societal or self-perceptions impede our own access, our accessibility to things we might get pleasure from. I can’t do “A” therefore “B” is not accessible to me.
Meet Melanie Jones, a certified yoga instructor and bodyworker with over 25 years’ experience who has proven that yoga can and is accessible to everyone. She recalls her grandfather saying, “First you have to want.” In other words, if you truly want to do something, you will figure out a way. You may have to modify your “want” and figure out a different method to access your desire. This is essentially Melanie’s approach to yoga – inclusivity for all regardless of body type, age, or mobility.
Her realization of this came through a lot of personal struggle. She had issues regarding her size, limited mobility due to injuries and chronic pain. She was shamed by a yoga teacher in front of an entire class about her weight; shamed on a massage table about her body size. However, she knew yoga was for her even though it often felt inaccessible.
She asked herself: How could I remove the barriers? Over time she learned how to modify yoga poses with chairs, blankets, yoga blocks, using the wall, etc. She also loved massage and bodywork but because of her first negative massage experience, she was self-conscious and wasn’t comfortable on a standard sized massage table. So, never one to give in, she received training in several healing modalities, including Reiki, and had a custom table built, that is wider, supports up to 500 pounds, and has breast recesses to allow lying on the belly comfortably.
Inspired by her own challenges, Melanie has dedicated her work to making yoga accessible to all bodies, be they of size, age, flexibility, injuries, or other-abled. She developed “You Don’t Have to be Teeny to be a Yogini,” — gentle modified yoga and bodywork tailored to your unique body.
This August 25, 2018 at Yoga on Main* in Manyunk (1-3 pm), Melanie will offer her workshop that introduces modifications to yoga postures, discussion about body acceptance and awareness, and the basic tenets of yoga. Also at this location, starting September 5th, she’ll offer a Gentle Modified Yoga class every Wednesday at noon.
Wellness Wednesdays July 25th and August 29th! Melanie brings restorative lunchtime Chair Yoga to Lovett Park with GoMtAiry. (FREE)
Currently, Melanie holds group classes Thursday evenings, 7-8 p.m. at Springboard Studio a(530 Carpenter Lane). She also offers private classes in her personal studio in Mt. Airy, or in the comfort of your own home or workplace (within a 10-mile radius in the Philadelphia area). In addition, Melanie co-hosts a free monthly book club, “The Body is not an Apology” with Elliot BatTzedek of Big Blue Marble Bookstore on the third Thursdays of the month, 8:15 p.m. – 9:15p.m. following her class at Springboard Studio.
So ask yourself now — is something truly inaccessible, or is it inaccessible in your mind?
Access your emotions, body and spirit. Melanie firmly contends that if you have a dream, put the dream first without thinking about your challenges, and you’ll figure out a way. With that openness you will also find people and the support you need to access your dreams. It’s your choice to make things accessible.
*Springboard Studio has a ramp. Yoga on Main has one flight of carpeted stairs with a railing; Please call 215-520-7726 with any accessibility questions.