Toke Broni Strandby is a second year student at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. I met him while teaching yoga there and we first got together in January 2013 to work on his yoga practice. Toke only has one arm (or rather his left arm stops at the elbow) and this causes him some difficulties in class.
This is the third post about Toke where I will talk about our first one-to-one yoga session together. You will find the first two blog posts here.
Our first practical session took place in a dance studio at Northern. The plan was for us to go through various yoga postures that Toke is struggling with and find alternatives. Toke mentioned in our first meeting together how disruptive it is for him when he has to step out of the flow due to his disability. Therefore working on the Sun Salutations seemed like a good way to start.
I documented the session with a video camera and used the footage to create three short video clips.
Before starting the actual session Toke and I did some Sun Salutations together. Toke talks about what is happening for him when the flow of the practice is disrupted. He also explains to what extend he can use his short left arm. The voice over is a recording from our initial meeting.
Toke becomes aware of himself by thinking. For him being obstructed in the flow of his movement means he starts thinking instead of doing as his mind 'takes over'. I was curious as to what could help him maintain the flow in a class.
In this clip you will see some of the exercises and postures we worked on to bring some flow in to his yoga practice:
We went through most of the standing postures in the Ashtanga sequence to find alternatives for Toke to work on. As we were finishing I almost jokingly suggested that Toke should try upwards bow posture. Toke had for good reason always modified this posture in class. When i suggested it he smiled and said: 'I think I might be able to do that'
Here is Toke doing upwards bow posture. I'm not sure who was more surprised.
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