Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Introducing Modifications

I have a new student who had polio as a child. She wears a brace on one leg but removes it during class. She can do a few poses using props, but in general she cannot use that leg. How do I modify the poses so that she can practice the same postures, more or less, as the rest of the class?

Dean Lerner's Reply:

Dear Ilona,

It is wonderful that this new student has come to you. No doubt yoga will be a tremendous boon for her, helping with her polio disability and other, unanticipated areas. It may not be appropriate for her to attempt all the poses the class does at this stage, but over time, perhaps she will be able to do more and more.

Work with her to strengthen, stretch, and tone her legs. She should perform standing poses with support, so that balance is not a factor, and you will need to properly adjust and stabilize her alignment. When I refer to support, this includes a horse/beam, the wall, chairs, wall ropes, blocks, wedges—whatever is needed. Weights might also be appropriate.

I know this is rather general, but in such a specific case, it is improper for me to suggest more without seeing the student. I hope this gives you some ideas, and I would recommend that you consult with a senior teacher in your area.

Certified Advanced Iyengar instructor Dean Lerner is co-director of the Center for Well-being in Lemont, Pennsylvania and teaches workshop across the United States. He is a longtime student of B.K.S. Iyengar and served a four-year term as president of the Iyengar National Association of the United States. Known for his ability to teach yoga with clarity and precision, as well as warmth and humor, Dean has conducted teacher training classes at Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana and other locations.

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Discussion for this story has been closed.

Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions