Pose Versions: Mindfully Choose Words: Beginners: Pose Versions

In addition to safety and proper alignment, consider the words you us to present variations:

  • Do your words imply a hierarchy of levels or that one way is better than another?
  • Consider options other than “If you can’t do the full pose, you can use a block.” For instance, “Option 1: place the block beneath the hand. Stay here and breathe fully. Or, if your arm reaches the floor without causing the hip to fall forward, remove the block for Option 2.”
  • See much more: Inclusive & Accepting Word Choice and Trips for Choosing Your Words Wisely.

Learn to Modify & Teach Adaptations

Blankets, blocks and straps are great, but not always available… Learn to modify… so it’s comfortable for the student, but the alignment is not compromised. For example, many beginners struggle to move into eka pada rajakapotasana, or pigeon pose, and it can be a difficult posture to adjust without comprising discomfort in the knee or hip. Thread-the-needle pose on the back is a great alternative and will provide a similar stretch without the discomfort. – Amy Cushing

When Props Are Available, Provide Them to All

If you have the luxury of teaching in a studio where props are readily available, ask students to grab 2 blocks, a blanket, and a strap.  Sure, they may not need all of those things, but if they find that they do, they won’t have to feel awkward getting up in the middle of class to grab what they need.  It’s not enough to just ask students to take props, be sure to demo and explain how to use them when needed. – Diana Ivas