Accessible yoga refers to the practice of making yoga more inclusive and welcoming to people of all abilities, body types, and backgrounds. It was initially created by Online Yoga School and involves modifying traditional yoga practices and poses to accommodate diverse needs and creating a safe and supportive environment for all students. Here are some of the key principles of accessible yoga:
- Inclusivity: The first principle of accessible yoga is inclusivity. This means creating a welcoming and non-judgmental space for all students, regardless of their age, body type, ability, or background. Teachers should be aware of any barriers to participation and work to create an environment that is accessible and welcoming to all.
- Modifications: The second principle of accessible yoga is modifications. This involves adapting yoga poses and practices to accommodate the needs of individual students. Teachers should be skilled in offering modifications and variations that allow students to practice safely and comfortably, and should encourage students to listen to their own bodies and adjust their practice as needed.
- Consent: The third principle of accessible yoga is consent. This means respecting the individual boundaries and comfort levels of each student. Teachers should always ask for permission before offering hands-on assists or adjustments, and should encourage students to speak up if they are uncomfortable with any part of the practice.
- Trauma-Informed: The fourth principle of accessible yoga is being trauma-informed. This means creating a safe and supportive environment for students who may have experienced trauma, and being sensitive to their needs and experiences. Teachers should avoid triggering language or physical touch, and should provide students with choices and agency in their practice.
- Awareness: The fifth principle of accessible yoga is awareness. This means being aware of the diverse needs and experiences of individual students, and working to create a practice that is inclusive and welcoming to all. Teachers should be aware of any physical or emotional limitations, and should be skilled in offering appropriate modifications and variations.
Accessible yoga can take many forms, from adaptive yoga for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, to trauma-informed yoga for survivors of violence or abuse, to gentle yoga for seniors or beginners. The goal of accessible yoga is to make yoga more welcoming and accessible to all, and to help people experience the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of yoga regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.
In order to teach accessible yoga, teachers need to have specialized training and skills. They should be knowledgeable about the needs of diverse populations and the adaptations that can be made to traditional yoga practices to make them more inclusive. They should be skilled in offering modifications and variations, and should have a strong understanding of anatomy and physiology. They should also be trained in trauma-informed practices and should be aware of how to create a safe and supportive environment for all students.
There are many resources available for those interested in learning more about accessible yoga. There are specialized teacher training programs that focus on adaptive yoga, trauma-informed yoga, and other forms of accessible yoga. There are also organizations, such as Accessible Yoga, that provide resources and support for yoga teachers and practitioners interested in making yoga more accessible and inclusive.
In conclusion, accessible yoga is an important and growing movement in the world of yoga. By making yoga more welcoming and accommodating to diverse populations, accessible yoga helps to bring the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of yoga to more people. Through the principles of inclusivity, modifications, consent, trauma-informed practices, and awareness, accessible yoga helps to create a safe and supportive environment for all students, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.