Know Your Madisonian: Yoga Instructor Brings Mindful Practice to People with Disabilities | Local News

Iris Mickey leads a group of participants, some seniors, some disabled, in a gentle yoga session at Madison Senior Center. Mickey is the co-founder of Yoga Accessible For All, a local non-profit organization that aims to make yoga more accessible to people who wouldn’t normally find themselves in a yoga studio.


Yoga instructor Iris Mickey reached out to 90-year-old Eloise Barrett to stabilize herself as she rose from a chair. Normally Barrett uses a walker, but in this class she balances on both feet, does breathing exercises and yoga poses.

“Inhale, well and exhale. Come back to your heart again, ”Mickey told the class of five during a gentle yoga session at Madison Senior Center. “Did this one feel good Eloise?” “

“Yeah. I’m not wavering. I’m still wavering,” Barrett said. “This time I didn’t.”

Mickey’s yoga non-profit, which she co-founded with fellow yoga instructor Paul Mross in 2018, aims to bring the benefits of yoga to people who don’t feel comfortable going to yoga studios generally. dominated by young women dressed in trendy workout clothes, Mickey said. .

“We recognize that yoga was for middle class whites,” Mickey said. “We are trying to change that.”

Iris mickey

Iris Mickey helps stabilize 90-year-old Eloise Barrett during a gentle yoga session at Madison Senior Center. Barrett, who usually uses a walker, was able to stand and do balance yoga poses.


Called Yoga Accessible For All, or YAFA, the association offers programs for the elderly, people with autism, people with Parkinson’s disease, participants in the Special Olympics, women struggling with drug addiction and those formerly incarcerated under the Just program. Bakery. Past programs include yoga for amputees and yoga for arthritis. Some of the classes, including the yoga program for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, will be expanded next year.