Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Accessible and Adaptive Yoga

I have seen a lot recently about accessible yoga.  It is great that there is more of a conversation about this, but it does in some ways surprise me as practicing the Iyengar lineage the past 25 years, yoga has always been taught to be accessible to everyone. 

B.K.S. Iyengar always said yoga is for everyone. He developed and designed props to help make yoga accessible to everyone - from every walk of life and every ability.  If you have ever attended Iyengar classes the props are not meant to be used as a hindrance or "prop yoga", but for the purpose of bringing the final internal shape and alignment of the pose to each person - in body, breath and mind. 

In the Iyengar system of training some of the main things we are taught is how to adjust and use what we need to make yoga accessible to all.  From chairs, blankets, bolsters, blocks, belts, trestle, benches and rope walls.  There is no restriction on one way for everyone and being open to new possibilities for different bodies has always been what Iyengar yoga was about.

Even for my own body, I have had to adjust through a few injuries, though age, through different seasons, pregnancy and times of the month, emotional state and energy levels.  Daily we are taught to listen to our bodies, become more aware and adapt and adjust as needed. 

Yoga classes should be teaching this and the Iyengar system does teach this.  Yoga teachers are not doctors or physiotherapists so why it is so important to realize that yoga is about learning about yourself and letting the practice guide you.

There are more posts out there on how yoga is more then just the asanas, really the 3rd limb of Patanjali's yoga sutras, making yoga really for everyone as asana is just one aspect.  I have a friend who said his yoga practice is great, his asana is limited but his yoga practice is great. 

I hope to see you on the mat one day soon and see that yoga is for everyone!

Photos of how some props can be used to make yoga more accessible when needed.

Pamela Nelson
Certified IJ3 Iyengar Yoga Teacher

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.