As a champion of inclusive, easy-access yoga, Amy Ippoliti highlighted a variety of practical ways to modify poses that are commonly problematic for the general public in her full-day “Yoga For The Long Haul” workshop at Yoga Journal LIVE! San Diego. (Sign up now to practice with her in Estes Park.) Here, five simple solutions for challenges in all-levels classes.
From a teacher’s perspective, the ubiquitous “mixed-level class” can be somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it offers us opportunity for growth, as we learn to craft sequences that are both interesting and accessible to a wide variety of yogis; and it challenges us to think on our feet to accommodate injured students who need modifications or a timid beginner requiring extra attention. On the other hand, public classes often force teachers to contend with huge discrepancies in students’ flexibility. Ever felt a twinge of panic as you scan the room and notice the stiff-as-a-plank athlete, seated right next to an 18-year-old gymnast? A successful teacher will lead a practice that not only includes but benefits both of these people, without making either deviate from the sequence or compromise the flow of the class. Sound like an impossible feat? Don’t worry: Most mobility issues fall into a few distinct categories, and there are easy fixes that can be applied to a wide variety of scenarios.