An Ashtangi teaches yoga to the blind
If you’re ever in Orange County, California, you should stop by Diana Christinson‘s shala, Pacific Ashtanga, in Dana Point. Diana has close ties with Tim Miller–in fact, we ran into Diana last Thursday at Tim’s!
It was at Diana’s that I met VSA (Very Special Ashtangi), Pam Jeter. Pam and I were roomies at Tim’s Tulum teacher training; Pam was getting her doctorate in some incredibly complicated field of psychology (read: I am too dense to understand it) at UC Irvine, where I teach, so we had a lot in common and hit it off right away.
Flash forward a few years. Pam’s now doing post-doctorate work at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. What’s more, Pam is both teaching and researching in a fascinating field, and was brought in by JHU just for it: Yoga for the blind. I’ll let Pam explain it:
The field of conventional medicine is changing. Like many of you, I take inspiration from the Dalai Lama who reminds us to “keep searching for reality by empirical means and be willing to discard accepted or long-held positions if our search finds the truth is different.” I believe this applies to our ideas about conventional healthcare. To demonstrate this, we soon launched a Yoga for the Blind Research Project and conducted a pilot study. The results showed what we already knew in our hearts…yoga helped participants with relaxation, sleep, stress, anxiety and balance.
This is one of those genius ideas that seem obvious once you think about it: of course the blind would benefit from the deep focus and balance of yoga. Pam is leading the research in this field, as well as teaching Ashtanga-based yoga to the blind, at The Wilmer Eye Institute at JHU. It’s fascinating to hear her talk about it. But I invite you to take a second to ponder how difficult it would be for you to practice without sight, and take that a step further and think about how you would teach it to the blind. The benefits may be obvious, but the method…well, that requires research.
Unfortunately, conventional medicine is, as usual, behind the power curve here and is not supporting yoga as a therapy for those who would so obviously benefit from it (among them, Pam’s mother, who is slowly losing her sight to Retinitus Pigmentosa). So, The Confluence Countdown is asking you to consider giving to The Wilmer Eye Institute in support of this research.
You can donate online here. In order for your gift to end up in the right place, you must designate your contribution as “Other” and type in Yoga for the Blind Research Project.
You can also contact Pam directly: email@example.com, call her at 410-502-6434; or by calling 410-955-2020 to reach Molly Dolan, assistant director of development.
Posted by Bobbie