The Yoga Deconstructed method gradually prepares your body for the physical demands of a particular posture through progressive stretching and strengthening, by adding external loads, and by incorporating progressive movement. Rather than trying to “achieve” difficult poses, you are encouraged to make the movement fit your own abilities. A typical Yoga Deconstructed class builds strength and stability in a pose through four exercise science principles:
Regression: Making the alignment in a pose easier to maintain. You can regress a posture by changing the pose’s orientation to gravity (for example, practicing Warrior Pose III lying on your side) or reducing the lever length (such as bending your knees in Boat Pose).
Progression: Making it more challenging to maintain the alignment in a pose by adding external load or weight (such as holding a yoga bolster in Warrior Pose III) or increasing the lever or limb length (by coming into Boat Pose with straight knees).
Somatic movement: Emphasizing the internal experience during a pose rather than the outward appearance of the pose. Instead of being told, “Stack your knee directly above your ankle,” you might hear “Lean your knee toward your pinkie toe. Then take it in toward the center of the mat. Pick a place for your knee that feels good for your body today.”
Preparatory exercises: Cross-training to prepare the joints for the demands of a pose. For example: Physical therapy exercises, pre-Pilates exercises, and drills might be added to build mobility and strength.
See also: Learn more about the Yoga Deconstructed Method
Access your expansion in Camel Pose
(Photo: Eleanor Williamson)
Simplified Prone Salute
Before you begin, assess your range of motion in cervical and thoracic extension: While standing or sitting, gently turn your head from side to side and lower your chin toward your chest.
Then, lie facedown on the floor, your feet slightly wider than your hips, your right hand resting on top of your left, and your forehead resting on top of your hands.
Keeping your head and hands still, slowly lift and lower your right elbow off the floor 5 times. Notice how this affects the movement of your scapula. Next, place your left hand on top of your right and repeat on the opposite side.