Megan Weathers, a 500hr instructor and Reiki Master at the Collective, shares the lessons she’s learned from working with students with disabilities.
I’ve learned that listening is more useful than “knowing”.
I’ve learned that observing is foundational to growth for my own understanding and to serve whoever I’m with at the time.I’ve learned that connection and trust is earned, not assumed. To work hard and be humble in the process.
I’ve learned that not all disabilities are visible. The invisible disabilities are more common than I knew. And some go untreated because of this. We never know the impact we each have and the life changing healing that occurs on the mat. The collective healing energy of all students in a classroom setting is powerful!
I’ve learned that each individual person and disability has unique preferences in all ways. What feels authentic for one may not be for another. Language matters.
I’ve learned that honoring unique preferences and being curious about them builds essential trust on the mat.
I’ve learned to be vulnerable and ask what these preferences are, and to be humble when I make an incorrect assumption. One of my students prefers to be called a disabled person. But not all with a disability would want to be called that. “I’m sorry” goes a long way in making up for mistakes, and rebuilding trust.
I’ve learned to witness yoga and its ability to serve any living BEING. We can have different levels of functionality and still feel the same wholeness, completeness and balance after spending time on the mat.
I’ve learned that not every being with a disability wants to be known as an inspiration because of unique challenges. Some want to be known as an equal, essential collaborator for their talents in the world.
I’ve learned that everyone can’t serve everyone. There will always be instructors that are uniquely suited for a specific student’s needs. To remain open to SEE that and find the best instructor/student relationship, even if it’s not with me. There will be another, and that is divine order.
And lastly, I’ve learned that working with disabled populations has deepened my understanding of being one with all. We have vastly different experiences that create unique imprints on us, but in the wise words of Ram Dass, “we are all just walking each other home”.
By Megan Weathers
Megan is Reiki Master and 500hr yoga instructor at the Bella Prāṇa Collective in Tampa, Florida and specializes in Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Adaptive Yoga for disabilities.