Yoga Tips to Make Your Classes More Accessible

4 min read

How can we make our classes more accessible to every kind of student who walks in? The Hatha practitioner, the Power yogi, the person who hurt his back last night, the asthmatic, the scared beginner, and the super flexible or mega strong yoginis in the front row.

It is a mystery to many teachers. They feel overwhelmed and inadequate if they don’t think that they have done their duty towards every student. You know the feeling. It sits on your chest until you fall asleep. Yoga is a tough life!

It’s not about us. We feel sorry for them, for the students. We provide physical information to the students, and they should all be able to access it through our classes. BUT HOW?! Here are some things that I’ve found helpful when teaching multilevel classes.

Theme It

Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. Take the focus off the physical and put it on something more inner. Everyone in the room will feel accomplished when the session is over.

The whole month could be about making each inhalation as deep as the exhalation, regardless of how shallow or deep it is. If you’re looking for themes, the Eight Limbs can be a good place to begin. Perhaps this month will focus on intensifying your concentration and focus in each pose (Dharana), finding a moment where you feel content (Santosha), or intensifying your focus.

Both “Up-mods”, as well as “Downmods”, are available.

Do not limit modifications to  “ginners or injured pe, “le. Challenge the more advanced students as well. You can offer ways to increase the intensity of one or two postures in each class. Your classes will be more accessible to people who wish to improve their practice.

In Crow Pose, for example, you could tell people to keep their feet on the floor or lift one leg up into a version of one-legged flying. After guiding it a few times, please use it without calling it.

The yogi feeds himself!

Start slowly and build

Start each class by modifying your most intense poses or flows (knees-down, forearms) This is a great warm-up and teaches students how to change without ma. King makes them feel like they are being singled out. It allows the body to handle more intense variations later.

This method will allow everyone to adapt their classes in the future. After all, you are teaching them to respect their bodies!

Fall Down

Tell your students that they are welcome to fall, laugh, cry, and rest in your classroom. Laugh with your students if you fall.

I am often so focused on my students’ shoulders and lower back in Tree Pose, that I fall to the side to catch the attention of a beginner who has fallen. I then reassure her that it is not as easy to balance as the front row make it seem.

Everyone wants to hear that they’re not the only ones struggling. This is a feature that my students enjoy. My students tell me that they will try more new things in my classes because they feel comfortable falling on their faces and breaking the flow.

This is a great way to lift your mood and show beginners that other students and teachers are ok with changing their postures.

No Minds

Make your yoga group a space of non-judgment. Announce at the start of class that everyone is welcome, no matter how flexible, agile, or tired they are. Explain how each day is different on your mat, and how your day can reflect in your practice.

Tell them about Ahmis (non-judgment of self) and how practicing awareness in relation to obstacles, injuries and emotions, tightness or hyper flexibility, leads to better health.

 I have some adviser flexibility that feels a bit messy after teaching a class in which no one did Wheel Pose or where everyone had different injuries. Three people left the class, four advanced students were with four beginners or…well, there are four possibilities.

It’s not all about you. I, it’s all about them. It’s important to pass on information that anyone can use and understand. These yoga teaching tips may not be perfect every time but they will hopefully inspire you to improve!

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