Yoga in Triform

Triform students in yoga class

 An article by AnnMarie Costanza

       The ultimate goal of yoga according to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, is " Yogas cittah vrtti nirodaha". This translates to the cessations of the fluctuations of the mind. This is a lofty goal for the average person even after years of practicing yoga regularly. However, they can achieve momentary stillness of the mind and the reward in those moments is able to hear the wisdom that is in their heart. For the person on the Autism spectrum or the person with OCD or ADHD, quieting the body is a tall order let alone the mind. However, I have been privileged to see firsthand that with yoga it is possible even for the briefest moment. For those brief moments, the student is aware of their breath and their body allowing their mind to come to stillness.

I have been practicing yoga for 10 years and teaching for the last 4years.  I received my training at Satya in Rhinebeck and Sadhana in Hudson both trainings were under the direction of Sondra Loring, the owner of the studios.  I started coming to Triform last year to offer yoga to the staff, once a week.  By coming each week and learning more about Triform and its mission I was inspired to apply to be a Co-worker this year.  It has been rewarding to now live and work in the community and offer the yoga practice to the students as well as the staff.  I have begun to learn how to distil the yoga practice down to its core elements and offer the students a practice where everyone can participate and feel successful.  I set out clear expectations right from the beginning that I only wanted them to attempt to move their body in the way suggested/demonstrated without talking or doing anything to distract the other students.  

The hour long yoga class that I offer to the students at Triform begins and end with a guided meditation while the students are laying on their backs.  This is time for them to try and bring their bodies to stillness and bring their attention to the breath by noticing the rise and fall of the torso.  In between simple yoga-inspired movements are done, linked with awareness of the breath to lengthen and strengthen the muscles, focusing on staying grounded in the body with purposeful movements.  I have a set sequence of poses that varies slightly from week to week.  I want them to be able to start predicting what is coming up but stay open to trying new things as well.  In September there was much moaning and groaning as the students attempted to put their bodies in uncomfortable positions and lots of snoring and fidgeting during the guided meditations.  Now, with the students that have been in class for four months, they are quieter while moving and lay still without falling asleep.  They are also becoming more confident in their ability to do the poses.  Over time, with consistent practice, it is hoped that the students can experience moments on and off the mat when the mind quiets enough for them to hear the wisdom that is in their hearts.  

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