Spectrum: Winter 2015 - page 14

Wilfred Clark
Special Times
Profile on...
By Dr Natasha Picôt
Peace - it does not mean to be in a place where there
is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the
midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
The above wisdom is one of the
many inspirational epithets to
be found adorning the walls
of the Special Yoga Centre
founded by Jo Manuel. The
centre is situated in Kilburn
and I was honoured to spend
five blissful days in this haven of
harmony due to the generosity
British Wheel of Yoga’s Wilfred Clark
Bursary. On two separate visits I undertook two-day
training in Deaf-Blind Yoga with Graham Nolan and
later a three-day workshop Yoga for Adults with Special
Needs with Richard Kravetz.
We practised with Graham who built on an impressive
professional knowledge in his role for Sense (the deaf-
blindcharity) andprovideda stimulatingand inspirational
working environment. Although next to a railway line
we hardly noticed the humming floorboards and, as
trains hurtled by, we deepened our understanding and
developed specialisms in key postures and deaf-blind
awareness by being blindfolded and given headphones.
As well as discovering how we have a dialogue with
clients through the challenge of the senses we rely on
when guiding an average class, we learnt more about the
depth and dimensions of yoga and ways to make classes
more inclusive. Our feathers were simultaneously ruffled
and smoothed by deepening connection to more diverse
inner-worlds and how to reach out to others through a
broader specialised spectrum.
The Special Yoga Centre had moved to a quieter location
nearby when, some months later, I undertook training
with Richard Kravetz. Aside from the great joy of
meeting a wide-range of practitioners of more inclusive
yoga who had travelled far and wide to this oasis in
the depths of the metropolis. We learnt more about
the specialist inclusion of those differently-abled with
Down’s Sydrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Aspergers,
ADHD, Global Developmental Delay as well as selected
Neurological Disorders. We also learnt about some
of the lifestyle challenges which are faced when life is
complicated in these ways. How asana, pranayama and
mantra can improve the support for our more diverse
students through depression, trauma, lethargy and
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