Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Interview with Marsha Therese Danzig on Yoga for Amputees

Accessible Yoga Blog: Where do you teach? Who is the population?

Marsha: I teach people who work directly with amputees, for example; prosthetists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and yoga teachers. I teach at conferences and events that have a focus towards amputees. I also offer online trainings in my method, Yoga for Amputees®.

Accessible Yoga Blog: Can you share an experience that stands out?

Marsha: One experience that stands out occurred during a Yoga for Amputees® workshop that was open to both amputees and caregivers. One participant had been a below-elbow amputee since childhood and had rarely worn a prosthesis. We practiced a meditation on being whole, using a technique of gentle breathing and meditation. She sobbed through most of the class and, afterwards, confessed that she had never seen herself as whole. For the first time in her life, she stood in her difference and was able to connect more authentically with her fellow classmates. 

Accessible Yoga Blog: Why do you teach this group or this population?

Marsha: I feel like my students chose me. Even though I am a below-knee amputee, I had always taught non-amputee students. Although I often worked with unique populations, it was my own need to prove I was ‘normal’ that kept me from my fellow amputees. In 2000, I started to get many requests from amputees so I founded Yoga for Amputees®. Now, I’ve trained Yoga for Amputees® teachers from all over the world.

Accessible Yoga Blog: What are you excited to do next with your students?

Marsha: I love sharing Yoga for Amputees as well as my personal story. I decided to share my personal story in my recently published memoir, From the Roots: The True Story of How I Beat Death and Learned to Live. By sharing my decision to find grace, humor, and joy in the worst of circumstances, I hope people find the power of possibility. I am currently editing my forthcoming book, Yoga for Amputees.

I am also excited to train clinicians in a clinical-based patient model. I see potential to make a big difference in amputee patient outcomes through yoga by offering services from point of limb loss through early rehabilitation.

Marsha Therese Danzig, Yoga Teacher, RYT 500, M.ed Harvard, is a below-knee amputee and Founder of Yoga for Amputees® by Marsha T Danzig, a program to help amputees move forward in their lives through the healing power of yoga. Marsha lost her leg in 1976 to Ewing’s sarcoma. She has been teaching and training others in yoga for almost two decades. She is passionate about imparting her lived experience of bridging the chasm between suffering and joy through yoga and embodied movement.

This post was edited by Gita Brown.

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