Making appropriate adjustments in your practice

A purple background with the quote text over the top.

“To approach your practice intelligently means to know all the implications of what you want to do, whether that be Asana or Pranayama, and to make appropriate preparations and adjustments.”

T.K.V Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga.

The passage in the book goes on to give the example of wanting to travel overseas – it’s not always as easy as just doing it. You need to get a passport, then visas, arrange flights – all steps to reach a bigger goal.

The same applies with Yoga, to practice intelligently, you need to know what you want to achieve with the posture or pranayama exercise, then break it down, “making appropriate preparations and adjustments” so that it works for you.

For example, if your goal is about finding balance and stability, you might want to try a balancing pose, like Tree Pose (Vrksasana). It’s easy to then look online and find a picture of tree pose. When you type tree pose into any search, you’ll find countless pictures that look like the one below:

Woman doing tree pose on city rooftop building.

Woman doing tree pose on city rooftop building.

Now, if I were to try and jump straight into balancing on one leg like that, I’d fall (and that’s OK, there’s nothing wrong with falling in yoga!) – but it wouldn’t be helping me to find the balance and stability on the day I needed it.

Instead, I might adapt the pose to suit how I’m feeling that day. Personally, my Tree pose has either my toes on the floor for balance, or my foot resting against my calf.

But you can even practice this pose lying down:

View this post on Instagram

Happy Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month! ❤️♿️❤️ [ID: This is a picture of a yoga pose called tree. There is a woman on a yoga mat wearing white, she have one knee bent and out to the side with her arms over her head. The picture is rotated so that her reclined position she’s to be standing up right.] Next week we’re hosting a challenge with: @accessibleyogatraining @deonlineyogaschool @donnanobleyoga @yogaquota This challenge is all about reclined asana, better known as Bed Yoga! There are so many reasons that one might need to stay in bed, or recline, for their yoga practice. Perhaps a person is recovering from injury or illness, is physically unable to stand or sit independently, vertigo, or is just plain exhausted. How can you adapt traditional yoga poses, while staying committed to a yoga practice? Snap a pic or take a quick video to show how you can adapt these poses for people lying down on the following dates: Sept. 10th Sun Salutations Sept. 11th Warriors Sept. 12th Twists Sept. 13th Backbends Sept. 14th Deep Relaxation Guess what? There is also a grand prize! A free full weekend pass to the Accessible Yoga Conference in Europe!! 😝🎟🥇 Here’s the rules: 1. Follow our sponsors: @accessibleyoga @accessibleyogatraining @deonlineyogaschool @donnanobleyoga @yogaquota 2. Post your picture/video everyday (calendar above) tag our hosts, two friends 3. use hashtags #bedyogachallenge #accessibleyoga 4. Winner will be announced September 16th! Grand prize of a free pass to the Accessible Yoga Conference Europe (Oct 19-21), which is being held in Reinsberg, Germany. *Travel and accommodations not included.* more information on the conference in our bio! #accessibleyoga #ayceurope #bedyogachallenge #spinalcordinjuryawareness

A post shared by Accessible Yoga (@accessibleyoga) on

I suppose what I’m trying to say, is that you don’t have to replicate images you see online, especially when it’s not giving you what you need. Think about what the purpose of that posture is, and then adapt it so you get that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.