Approaching a Need for Accessible Yoga

Guest blog post by VYC Ambassador Linda Caldwell

Approaching a Need for Accessible Yoga

shutterstock_151527122As our population ages, becomes more active, busier, and lives longer, yoga teachers will start to see a growing demand in yoga classes for accessibility.  Students will bring their injuries, illnesses, life changes and more to the table, increasing the requirement for teachers to be able to adapt and modify.

How do you adapt as a yoga teacher? I like to use the acronym M-L-A…Modify, Learn and Adapt.

  • Modify – utilize any prop you may have access to and find out what makes the student comfortable and without pain.  Let them find the stability and ease in the pose.
  • Learn – research, talk to professionals, and find out more if someone comes to you with an illness, injury or other health problems.  Always ensuring that they have medical clearance and are safe to do yoga.
  • Adapt – seek new ways to look at Yoga, try different classes, and become a person who can have a unique view of yoga and consider training in adapted yoga.

Continuing to learn and grow through specific yoga trainings will help you become a yoga teacher who can offer versatility, compassion and vast knowledge in your classes.  For myself, this recently hit home when I took Chair Yoga training in October. It was mind boggling the way a chair could assist an individual who couldn’t go down on the floor.

From my personal experience, yoga has been a journey of self-discovery on a physical and mental/emotional level, and part of that was finding out that I had shoulder limitations. I quickly learnt that certain poses would be re-triggers of pain.  I then had to work on my formula of modify, learn and adapt and now can do poses with stability and ease that work for me.

If you are now a yoga student, you might have to work through trial and error in order to find a different way that works for your body. Professional body workers, such as a physiotherapist or chiropractor, can also offer specific movement suggestions.  Either way, find an avenue that allows you to be in the pose and enjoy what yoga can bring, without being hard on yourself.

No matter if you are a teacher or student, enjoy your practice and let yoga be that safe place where you meet your mat, and connect the body, mind and breath and feel the joy of life. Just like shopping for a bathing suit becomes a journey of finding that right fit, explore yoga with that same mentality to ensure no matter what you are bringing into the class, you feel connected with your inner light and you live with happiness.

See you at the Victoria Yoga Conference in February.  Please join us for a wonderful experience of community, sharing and knowledge.


linda`1

Linda brings a grounded and creative approach to her Yoga classes and ensures that all students embrace Yoga in their own individual way.  In the past, she has also worked with the  MANTA swim club and designed a yoga program for their professional swimmers.  She continues seek new opportunities in the community to bring the message of Yoga onto others.  You can usually find her taking Yoga classes, workshops and education to keep herself connected to the Yoga world. Her previous background includes over 31 years of being a fitness professional. Read more about Linda…