Our Work in the World

Accessible Yoga Confernence – by Ana Killingstad

After 12 years of living in Minneapolis and working with Matthew at MBS, in 2013 I made a permanent move to Santa Barbara. Kathy hosted a going away party at her lovely house, and as I left, Matt hugged me, looked me in the eye and said, “You know you have a responsibility to continue this work.” Although I took his words to heart, I had no idea how to create a program here.

However, soon after arriving in Santa Barbara, I was offered the opportunity to teach classes at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center. Shortly thereafter I initiated an Accessible Yoga class twice a week with Jivana Heyman (SBYC co-owner). Jivana is passionate about Accessible Yoga and had been training teachers for 20 years in San Francisco. When he learned of my connection to Matt and MBS he was very excited. Our conversations led to the creation of the Accessible Yoga Conference. With limited resources, we developed and hosted the first conference in 2015, with Matt as our keynote speaker.

The first AYC was a bit chaotic, and there were kinks to iron out for the future, but it was also a success. It was wonderful to see so many committed adaptive yoga advocates coming together to share and support the idea that yoga is for everyone and needs to be accessible.

The following year we held the second conference with 30% more attendees. AY is thriving, the community is growing and I now like to think of it as a movement. This year there will be two conferences, New York in May and San Francisco in October.

I feel I have fulfilled Matt’s wish for me to continue the work. It has been wonderful for me to help plant a little seed that has sprouted into an amazing tree.

Learn more about Accessible Yoga’s work and their upcoming conferences here.