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Teach a Multi-Level Yoga Class: 6 Tips You Need to Learn Today

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How do I teach a multi-level yoga class, especially when there’s a wide range of mobility levels?

This is one of the most important things that we need to learn as teachers because when you can teach a really good multi-level yoga class, it opens you up to teaching a wide variety of students, which allows you to teach more classes, make more money and be of service to more people in your community.

Here are my TOP 6 Ways to teach a multi-level yoga class

TEACH THE MIDDLE POSE FIRST

Offering modifications is very important for a multi-level yoga class.

In a multi-level yoga class, you will have some students who can do a very advanced version of a pose and others who need a modification. Teach the middle version of the pose first, then provide a modification option and an advanced option.

For example, in a pigeon pose, I teach a pigeon first. Then I demonstrate and cue a Supine Pigeon and I’ll demonstrate and cue a Full King Pigeon with the quad stretch.

By doing this, I’m offering three different versions of the same posture so every student has an option that suits their body on that day.

TEACH STANDING POSES FOR THE MAJORITY OF YOUR CLASS

Standing poses are the easiest poses for the majority of your students in a multi-level yoga class.

This is opposite of what most teacher trainers will teach.

In a multi-level yoga class, everyone can stand. Everyone should stand. {Please note, I don’t consider chair yoga or special populations an all-levels class. In these types of classes, special considerations should be given and you may not be able to teach any standing poses.}

Standing poses are easily accessible for all of your students in a multi-level yoga class.

Seated poses are much harder for people with tight hips or backwards tilted pelvis’.

Kneeling poses may be too difficult for people with knee or wrist pain.

But everyone needs standing poses to work on strength, balance and stability.

Offering strength building poses like Warriors helps challenge everyone in the room. Teaching proper Mountain pose can be a challenge for everyone. And it’s one of the most important things we can teach our students.

USE BALANCE POSES IN YOUR MULTI-LEVEL YOGA CLASS

Balance poses are equally challenging for EVERYONE in a multi-level yoga class.

There’s not a single person I know, myself included, who’s really good at balancing all the time.

Balancing poses work the whole body and are a very important part of our physical health.

Not only are balancing poses challenging, but almost everyone can do some version of a balance pose.

Remember you can teach the middle pose first. For example, in a tree pose, you’d first teach tree with foot on the cal. Then you can teach the easier version – toe to the ground. Advanced version – half lotus bind.

Each person gets a great option and everyone is equally challenged with the balance.

ONE TIME UP and ONE TIME DOWN

In a multi-level yoga class, some people may have a hard time going down to the mat and getting back up. That doesn’t mean we should avoid going down to the mat, but we should be mindful and avoid going up and down multiple times in class.

Most of the time, I start my class standing. We will complete all of our standing poses, then go down to a kneeling or seated position and then down to our backs.

Once we are on our backs, I often don’t bring them back up.

Going up and down only once makes it easier for all of my students.

You may be asking – what about my transitions through my “vinyasa sequence?” Does that count as going up and down?

For many people, a typical “vinyasa sequence” is too much up and down movement. Which leads me to my next tip…..

USE MINDFUL TRANSITIONS

Not everyone in a multi-level yoga class, can or should be doing a Vinyasa sequence. {Note: when I refer to a “vinyasa sequence” I’m referring to the sequence taught in many classes: Plank —> Chaturanga —> Updog —> Downdog}

A vinyasa sequence is incredibly hard for the majority of students. Eliminating the vinyasa’s and using more mindful transitions helps more students feel supported and safe in the yoga classroom.

Check out this article for my favorite creative transition poses!

TEACH WITHOUT DOWNDOGS AND FORWARD FOLDS

Downdog is an incredibly hard pose on our wrists and shoulders. Forward folds can actually hurt our spine. Older clients shouldn’t spend much (if any!) time with their heads below their hearts.

In a multi-level yoga class, you should be able to sequence a class without a down dog or forward fold.

If you need help with sequencing and finding transitions for your multi-level yoga class, check out this article.

What are your favorite teaching tips for a multi-level yoga class?
Tell me on IG @allisonrissel

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