Elle, Colorado:

“I am a Deaf yogini.

I exist between two beautiful communities. One based on sound and one based on sight.

For many years I was led to believe there was something wrong with me. Broken. I needed fixing. As my hearing levels continued to drop my frustration and anger levels increased. Friends and family fell away as I retreated into myself, the only place I could understand.

One day a friend suggested I learn Sign Language. I brushed it off but secretly started to look up signs on the internet. I then began to immerse myself in the Deaf Community where I found a place of acceptance, love and above all: accessibility. I left my Cochlear implant in its shiny box, reveled in my deafness and never looked back.

It wasnt until years later that I found yoga. Yoga began to heal a part of me I hadn’t even realized was still hurting. Yoga showed me that my body is perfect exactly the way it is. Instead of constantly vying for information I focused on what I could do. Through dedication to my practice I found that my body is actually very skilled. To me, yoga became a way to prove to myself that I can. That no matter how many sounds my damaged auditory system misses my body CAN do anything.

There’s a saying in the Deaf Community: “Deaf people can do anything except hear.” Through yoga I began to prove to myself I could sustain a sense of peace I never had before.

Yet, as diverse as the yoga community is becoming, access is still an issue. In my first studio class I cried through savasana after an hour of trying desperately to understand. It was there on the floor of that studio I made the decision to change that. I practiced, I studied, I read everything I could get my hands on, and started speaking out about the need for access in yoga. Two years later, I took a training and I became a registered yoga teacher. Now I get to travel around Colorado’s Front Range teaching Deaf Yoga in safe spaces sharing this magic with my fellow Deafies.”

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