Case Study

July 8, 2017

Christy Chadwick, M.S.D.E., RYT

Learn how Christy uses yoga to support students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

After completing her B.A. in Communication a minor in Psychology in 2009, Christy moved from Wyoming to Fort Collins, Colorado, where she began taking sign language classes at the local community college. Slowly immersing herself in the deaf community, and learning from the particular experiences and perspectives of her deaf friends, Christy came to realize that many of the skills and resources needed by the deaf community to express themselves were not fully met. She wanted to be a part of the change, and made the decision to become an educator for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.

I wanted to be able to help children who had little access to language be able to communicate their wants and needs.

At about the same time, Christy was in a serious car accident.

The accident left her with deep tissue damage to her hips and recurrent headaches that no amount of rest seemed to fix. Finally, at the encouragement of her physical therapist, Christy came to the yoga mat, and got way more than she expected.

Yoga not only helped Christy regain her physical health and mobility, but it also enriched her mental and emotional health, bringing her “the strength, stability, focus, and energy to get done what needs to happen in [her] daily life.”

Yoga helps me to get into my body. When I’m having a day where I can’t focus or seem to calm down, I get on my mat and am able to recenter and ground down. Just the breathing combined with movement provides me with strategies and tools to love myself for who I am inside and out.

Following her newfound passions…

In 2013, Christy relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, to join the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences to get her Masters of Science in Deaf Education at Washington University School of Medicine. Christy graduated with her M.S.D.E in 2016, and managed to complete her RYT certification in 2015, giving her all of the knowledge and skills needed to start making a difference in the lives of kids. Even better, in her studies at Wash U., Christy began to recognize the integrative powers of yoga that she experienced in her own healing with the clear needs of deaf and hard of hearing students in the classroom.

Using yoga for children who are deaf or hard of hearing can bring about so much possibility in terms of focus, social interaction, strategies and coping mechanisms, as well as mind-body connection to help them engage in learning and language.

Now with her master’s under her belt,

Christy has headed from the Midwest to the middle of the Pacific, moving to Hawaii in order to teach students who are deaf and hard of hearing at Pomaika’i Elementary. In her classes, Christy now uses short yoga brain breaks to get her students moving and help them transition between lessons. And, after graduating from Yoga Ed.’s RCYT program, Christy has even more creative and kid-friendly tools for integrating yoga movements into her day to day lesson plans, helping her students fully embody their learning by connecting concepts with movement. All of which will only promote a “better functioning thinking brain.” We can’t wait to see the results.

Did you know?

Research suggests as little as 5 minutes of Yoga Ed. daily can improve mental health.

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