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Teaching yoga for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be an extremely rewarding yoga career. Today, we are chatting with Mary Sims, the Executive Director and Founder of the non-profit, Guided By Humanity. 

👉 How and why Guided by Humanity was started

👉 The mission and vision of Guided by Humanity

👉 The challenges, struggles and serious rewards of teaching yoga for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

👉 How you can get involved with Guided by Humanity

About Mary

Guided By Humanity is a non-profit organization that offers accessible, inclusive, and compassionate mindfulness programming to Colorado residents that traditionally lack access to health and wellness resources. We are dedicated to providing health and wellness opportunities to all underserved communities that are accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or background.

How To Get Involved

Stay up-to-date on all of their events here!

September 13 – Yoga for All – GBH Fundraiser!

Key Takeaways

[00:06] Who is Mary Simms and Guided by Humanity

[03:08] The mission and vision of Guided by Humanity

[05:14] The biggest challenges and struggles of teaching people with intellectual disabilities

[07:52] Challenges and struggles of teaching people with physical disabilities

[10:41] The Mindfulness Bus Program

[12:08] Mary’s biggest rewards from teaching people with disabilities

[15:31] How to get involved with Guided by Humanity

Quotes from this episode

I know the therapeutic benefits of yoga just for myself personally. And I did not see anyone with a physical disability in our classes or, anyone with an intellectual disability.  So I wanted to create a space and classes where people feel safe, they feel like they belong and also they feel that they are included in the practice. And that’s why Guided By Humanity started.

Our mission is to provide inclusive, accessible, compassionate yoga and mindfulness to underserved communities. And our vision is to create those safe spaces where people feel like they belong.

If you want to teach people with disabilities, you want to understand and to recognize that there might be some things unexpected in your classroom. And as a teacher you must be really grounded. We have a specific method that is very repetitious for our new students and anyone that comes into the classroom. It’s very safe and grounded.

I don’t teach a pose if I do not know three variations of that pose. That way, I feel assured that people are included.

And I think with our Accessible Yoga Training, it’s been very helpful to empower teachers to feel like they can give a quality classroom experience. 

I would say first of all, a huge reward is the joy in the classroom. It’s always light and easy. 

There’s always laughing and there’s no competition, no judging. It’s just a really open and joyful space to be in.

Our data shows an increase in leadership skills and the voices in the room become louder and more confident.

They’re using their yoga breathing, different poses and relaxation techniques outside of the classroom. 

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