By Janine Crowley Haynes
On Wednesday night, the Mental Health Association of Westchester (MHA) held its third annual event, Get on Your Mat for Mental Health. The mega yoga event was to take place outdoors on Court Street in White Plains, but due to inclement weather, the venue was changed to the gym at Woodlands High School in Hartsdale.
Dr. Amy Kohn, CEO of MHA of Westchester, expressed having to move the event indoors was a bit of a letdown, but as the event got underway, she–and over 400 supporters–were not disappointed in the least.
The band, Answer the Muse, played while supporters blanketed the entire gym floor with yoga mats and waited with excitement for renowned yoga teacher, Matthew Sanford.
Matt is the author of the award-winning book, Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence. He shares his story of the devastating car accident which claimed the lives of his father and sister and left him paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 13. Now, at 45, Matt is an inspirational trailblazer in the health care community.
He is the founder of the nonprofit organization, Mind Body Solutions, whose goal, amongst many, is to “transform trauma, loss, and disability into hope and potential by awakening the connection between mind and body.”
Since MHA’s mission statement is, Recovery for All, it seems only natural their organization shed light on the benefits of mind-body connection through the practice of yoga, and MHA could not have found a better teacher.
“Your body is the best home your mind will ever have,” says Matt, as the crowd collectively transitions from downward dog into child’s pose.
What yoga does for the mind-body connection, MHA seems to be doing on a broader scale–extending its reach to promote health and wellbeing to connect us to each other, thereby, creating a deeper sense of community. Namaste.
Janine Crowley Haynes of Chappaqua is the author of My Kind of Crazy: Living in a Bipolar World.