Panel Discussion | Evolution of Yoga Summit and Blueprint, Part 1: Increasing Accessibility

March 12, 2021

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About This Event

As a continuation of the Evolution of Yoga Summit and Blueprint series, this discussion looks at ongoing barriers that continue to keep Yoga an exclusive practice and propose some possible solutions and ideas for moving forward and addressing these concerns. Presenters examine and deconstruct the following: the definition and principles of accessibility, what is keeping marginalized populations away from the practice, the visible and invisible barriers that make yoga inaccessible, and a path forward.

About the Presenters

Jivana Heyman (E-RYT 500, C-IAYT) is the founder and director of the Accessible Yoga Association, an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to the yoga teachings. Accessible Yoga offers Conferences, Community Forums, and a popular Ambassador program. He’s the co-founder of the Accessible Yoga Training School, and the author of Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body (Shambhala Publications), as well as the forthcoming book, Yoga Revolution: Bringing Your Practice into the World to Serve with Courage and Compassion (Nov. 2021). Jivana has specialized in teaching yoga to people with disabilities. Out of this work, the Accessible Yoga organization was created to support education, training, and advocacy with the mission of shifting the public perception of yoga. More info at

Matthew Sanford (E-RYT 500, YACEP) is an expert in the process of transformation through the healing power of yoga. Paralyzed from the chest down at age thirteen, he began yoga at 25 years old. Matthew knows firsthand the transformative effect that yoga can have on the mind-body relationship. He is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, a sought-after public speaker, and the author of the critically acclaimed WAKING: A MEMOIR OF TRAUMA AND TRANSCENDENCE (Rodale: 2006). Matthew has also emerged as a leading voice in the integrated health movement and won the 2010 Pioneer of Integrative Medicine Award from the California Pacific Medical Center’s Institute of Health and Healing. Previous recipients include Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Mehmet Oz. For more information:

Kallie Schut is a yoga and dharmic traditions culture advocate and educator who is a lifelong social justice and antiracist activist. She advocates for those without a voice or presence in places of power and privilege. Kallie is also a Yoga Alliance certified E-RYT 500 yoga teacher of Indian heritage who has been practicing intentional Hatha and meditation for 35 years.

Dianne Bondy (E-RYT 500, YACEP) is committed to increasing diversity in yoga, which is demonstrated in her work with Pennington’s, Gaiam, and the Yoga & Body Image Coalition. Her writing is published in Yoga and Body Image Volume 1, Yoga Renegades, and Yes Yoga Has Curves. She is also the author of Yoga for Everyone and has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and People.

Ryan McGraw approaches every class with the belief that everyone can do yoga. As a person with cerebral palsy who has been practicing yoga for 15 years, Ryan is well aware that yoga poses can be adapted to meet any student's needs, no matter what their ability level is. Ryan earned his 200-hour yoga teaching certificate in 2011 and has completed two adaptive yoga teacher trainings with Matthew Sanford. He received his Master’s Degree in Disability and Human Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago, in 2013. For his Master’s, Ryan created an adapted yoga manual for people with disabilities. He has written about his yoga experience in Yoga and Body Image, a collection of essays from people who are not the average yoga practitioner. He also recently published an article in Yoga International about why it is essential to teach accessible yoga in 200-hour teacher training courses. Ryan is the Healthcare Community Organizer at Access Living in Chicago, where he advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

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