Matthew Sanford: Yoga for the Disabled! Chanda Plan, via

Via Waylon Lewis
on Oct 6, 2008
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Yoga instructor helps disabled feel again: Heidi McGuire

DENVER – Grab your yoga mat. You’re about to learn about a mind-body exercise like no other. 

For the past decade Minnesota-based yoga instructor Matthew Sanford has been showing people what they can do with their bodies when then open their minds.

What makes his approach different is he does it all from his wheelchair. 

Sanford was in a car accident nearly 30 years ago that killed his father and sister and left him paralyzed.

He’s been practicing yoga for 17 years now because he says he wasn’t ready to forget about the parts he couldn’t feel.

“I missed my body, I missed hanging upside down and playing with balls and jumping over things,” he explained. 

For video, click here

Sanford came up with adaptive yoga moves anyone can do, and he now teaches those moves to others living with disabilities.

“I want everyone to sit up straight and tall,” he said to a room full of students on Saturday. 

Chanda Hinton was paralyzed from the chest down when she was nine.

Her sister Crystal first got her involved in yoga before she met Sanford, but she wasn’t sure it would work.

“I couldn’t really grasp that whole reality, because I was like, ‘I can’t do yoga,’” said Hinton. 

Hinton was wrong.

“You get into slight movements or slight poses that are affirming for the body,” she explained. 

Three years ago, Hinton decided she wanted others to experience that same feeling so she formed the Chanda Plan Foundation in Denver.

“I looked at what the Chanda Plan was doing and I looked at what Sanford was doing and I knew that there was a huge collaboration piece,” Hinton said. 

The two forces came together in a gym on the Auraria Campus on Saturday as a room full of both able-bodied and disabled people learned yoga together. 

“It’s about the mind body connection,” said Hinton.

To learn more about the Chanda Plan Foundation and alternative therapies, click here:




About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


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