Yoga Progressions & Regressions

Yoga Is For Every Body

How to create All-Levels Yoga Classes that offer an inclusive practice environment, so that the beginner feels safe and the advanced student feels challenged… the secret is mastering Yoga Progressions & Regressions.

In my time as a yoga practitioner and teacher, one thing I’ve noticed is this… that no yoga class is attended by an exclusive type of “Yogi”. There is no such thing as One Practice Fits All, or one body type that comes to practice. Physical ability, knowledge of the practice, and style of training differ person to person– and it’s likely that if you’re teaching today, you’re getting students of all different levels attending your classes.

So, as yoga teachers, how can we make ourselves available to each student that joins us?

In my experience, it’s been learning how to master the progressions and regressions of each pose. In doing so, I’ve been able to meet the needs of “all-level” Vinyasa classes, while maintaining the pace and rhythm of the class-flow.

Everyone gets what they need, and the room becomes an inclusive place for practice.

Seems easy enough… but how do we teach progressions and regressions throughout class, without “disrupting the flow” of practice?

Here are a few key notes that have helped me to do just this:

  • In class, I always demonstrate two to three variations of a posture. It is an effective way to meet the needs of all levels in attendance- beginning students will usually stick with the more simple variation, while advanced students will be instructed to enter more complex poses safely, from the foundation.
  • During pre-class announcements, communicate that because there are various levels in the class, each student should be mindful of one’s own body and to choose a level that fits one’s current physical ability. There is no “right” or “wrong” expression of the pose- only “safe” or “unsafe” for each body. Encourage students to make use of props to support their practice (blocks to provide greater stability in balance poses, straps to extend the reach of arms in forward folds, etc.).
  • Encourage students to find & apply for themselves Sthira Sukham Asanam (Sutra 2:46), or a balance steadiness and comfort in each pose. Pushing past edges is imperative to growth, but we don’t want to do so in a way that damages the body or mind. Move in a way that promotes staying clear, conscious and compassionate about what is happening physically- and on every level of your being.

The following is an example of a safe and effective way to teach the progression of a posture:

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Notice that the posture moves from its most simple variation, to most complex. Even if the student chooses to take the most complex variation, have them move progressively through the steps, so that they better understand the basic mechanics and foundation of the pose.

Step One: Stand with feet crossed, side by side. The opposite arm of the “top leg” will cross underneath. If students have tight shoulders, and the forearm bind is not accessible, have them hold around the outer shoulders and draw the elbows away from the heart.

Step Two: Press into the feet firmly so the legs feel a gentle “squeezing” action, lift from the pelvic floor and lengthen the spine. Focus the Gaze toward the thumbs, as you spread across the collar bones and hug in the frontal rib cage.

Step Three: Should you choose to balance on one leg, come to a cross legged “sitting” position. First the foot can act as a kickstand on the opposite side. Perhaps the outer foot can make contact with the base leg’s outer calf. Be mindful of the base knee- it shouldn’t wobble to either side.

Step Four: If you’re able to balance here with ease, and your mobility allows, try the full bind of the foot behind the calf of the base leg. The same actions as in Step Two should still apply!

If anywhere along the line of progression you feel any pain, severe discomfort in body, challenge maintaining breath or balance, simply regress back to a more foundational variation of the pose… and as always, remember to breathe. 

And Remember! Progressions in practice don’t necessarily have to do with how deep you can get into a posture, or whether or not you can stick a handstand, or sit in padmasana (lotus pose). The physical practice of yoga is about challenging our minds and thoughts, so that we may better understand what is going on mentally and spiritually. The body is doorway to our deeper selves, and when we learn to listen to the body, we will make progress naturally. 

With Love,

Stacy McCarthy

@YogaNamaStacy

 

Learn How to LOVE Every Bit of Your Yoga Business

Whether you are one of the many new members of our growing community, or have been with us right from Day 1, we wanted to share something with you that might come as a surprise.

We don’t fundamentally see this as a business school.

How could the Yoga School of Business NOT fundamentally be a business school, you ask?

It’s a question we get all the time.

We are an organization that supports yoga teachers to do more of the yoga you love, more easily. We chose business education as a means of doing this because there’s a lack of accessible, affordable, specialized yoga business training.

The effect of this unavailability is really showing.

It’s rare to hear someone come out of a yoga class not feeling rejuvenated. Yet it is equally as rare to meet a yoga teacher who is totally fulfilled with their business, from their finances to their life balance. As the teacher, you deserve to thrive from your practice in all areas of your life, just as much as your students do. But part of what you need to realize this, is missing.

Many of you have received only part of the education you need to have the full, balanced, thriving practice you want. As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

The challenge is mostly not related to your asana. Sure, you always want to improve your practice. But the underlying reason why many teachers struggle to make a great living, balanced with an equally great personal life, is that you have never learned essential business skills, like how to:

Market yourself, authentically (i.e. no cheesy sales person)
Discover your niche
Charge what you’re worth (or do your taxes!)
Get organized
(let alone how to keep up your own practice)
What started as our quest to make a difference in yoga teachers’ lives has grown into a pioneering school that provides the best, most convenient, affordable business education for yoga teachers.

Here is what one of our students had to say:

As a new yoga teacher with absolutely no business experience, I was looking to gain more insight and knowledge on how to find success in my new career path, while still finding time for my personal life.  After just the first two months of training, I have already noticed a positive shift in my life, both in my career as a yoga teacher and in my own personal life experiences.  This training has provided me with not only useful information on how to market my business and stay organized, but also on how to shift my perspective on my life as a whole in order to find success in everything I do.  This is a life-changing course, which can only benefit those who wish to be a part of it.  The weekly coaching calls provide me with great support and insight from those who have been in my position before and truly want to help me achieve my goals and dreams.  I am so excited to continue growing, learning, and finding success throughout the remainder of the training, and to carry on all that I have gained into my life after the training ends.
– Chantelle King

If you are a Yoga Teacher and want to learn how to create a truly abundant practice, come to one of our upcoming FREE INFORMATION CALLS to learn more about
The Yoga Business Builder: A Coaching Program for Yoga Teachers.

Program Outline & Tuition: The Yoga Business Builder: Online
Faculty: Stephanie Tait & Stacy McCarthy
Free Informational Call on September 16 @ 11:45am PST
Dates: Training is from September 2010 – June 2011
Capacity: 12 students
Learn more:  RSVP for the FREE Information Call at info@yogaschoolofbusiness.com
(Early Bird Special ends September 20)

Program Outline & Tuition: The Yoga Business Builder: OnlineFaculty: Stephanie Tait & Stacy McCarthyDates: Training is from September 2010 – June 2011Capacity: 12 studentsLearn more:  RSVP for the FREE Information Call at info@yogaschoolofbusiness.com(Early Bird Special ends September 20)

Fill Your Yoga Practice Now! Exclusive Live Event

Fill Your Yoga Practice Now! Exclusive Live Yoga Business Coaching Event Stacy McCarthy & Stephanie Tait Founders, Yoga School of Business
Nowadays, realizing success as a yoga teacher doesn’t just start and end with a good class. You have to know how to run and grow your business if you really want to be able to teach full-time, make a decent living at it, and balance out your personal life.

During this one day live yoga business coaching event, you will learn how to grow your practice though some of the most effective business growth tools and strategies available specifically for the unique needs and desires of yoga teachers.

You’ll start the day with Stacy’s signature “Fire Up Flow” Asana Class & end the day with a “Business Breakthrough” Restorative Yoga Class.

In this Live Coaching Event, you’ll learn how to:

1. Develop a Marketing Strategy as unique and in integrity as you are (without having to spend money buying more “stuff” to help you market yourself.

2. Master How to Talk About Who You Are & What You Do in a way that attracts more ideal students to practice with you and grows your practice.

3. Discover Your Niche – your unique place in the whole yoga field where you have the greatest potential to really stand out in the fast growing yoga field. Create a truly abundant practice & enjoy the personal rewards of building a career in this field.

Program Details:

Program Material Sent to You On-Demand.
Within 24 hours of your registration & payment, you will receive about 4 hours of rich pre-recorded program content to empower you to create an abundant yoga practice. This material is delivered to you in a format like a private, online presentation by your master teachers, Stacy and Stephanie. All you will you have to do is click on the link provided, and the online presentation will run right from your computer, whenever you are ready for it.

During the Live Event, you’ll deepen your understanding of the materials, practice what you’ve learned, & receive direct feedback about how you are going to apply it to grow your practice.
Program Material Sent to You In-Print.
The contents of online presentation will also be sent to you in downloadable PDF, so you can print it out separately to study when you are not at your computer.

Date, Time, Location
Date: Saturday, March 27th
Time: 12:00 – 6:00pm
Location: The Yoga Mandiram @ 2121 Newcastle #E, Cardiff By the Sea, CA.

Investment:
If you sign up by Wednesday, March 17th @ midnight, this live yoga business coaching event will only cost you only $129.95 + tax. Registrations after March 17th are $159.95 + tax.
Don’t miss out on this exclusive opportunity to fill your yoga practice NOW! Accelerate the results you are seeing from all your efforts to grow your practice
Register Here!