When we first begin a yoga practice, we may need to modify poses until we become more flexible and/or gain more strength.
There are several modification that can be added to poses.
The modifications may not provide the full expression of the pose, but it is more important to start moving. And, to start where you are today.
We may find that using modification poses suits us just fine and we wish to always practice with the modifications . . . and that is just fine. Remember . . . it is your practice . . . and it’s all about you!
Sitting or Standing
Many asanas may be practiced standing or sitting. Many floor poses may be practiced seated on the floor or sitting in a chair.
Whether sitting or standing, be mindful to keep our shoulders back and down and our head and neck reaching toward the sky.
We gain a greater range of movement when standing, however, it is most important to start moving where you are today.
Using Our Knees
When the full extension of a pose is difficult, we can always bend our knees or drop all the way down to our knees. We may find that practicing in this way is how we always wish to practice.
Gently bending our knees in Downward Facing Dog allows us to work toward the full expression of the pose.
Plank may be performed from our knees until we build enough strength to hold our body in the full position. Or we may always wish to practice from our knees.
Lunges can also be modified to practice from our knees.
Whenever we feel our knees reaching for the floor, it is a good modification for the pose.
There are several arm positions that may be used for poses.
We may always bring our arms to prayer position when holding poses like Tree, Warrior I and lunges.
We have options of prayer position, hands on shoulders, hands on hips, hands on thighs, on our lower back or just about anywhere that is comfortable for you.
When practicing forward fold, we have options of bringing our arms down through the mid-line of our body or out and around.
Be mindful of “extending the lever” . . . extending arms fully out in front of our body which can put pressure on our lower backs.
Fists for Wrists
Fists for wrists can be used for weak or injured wrists. We use fists for wrists in poses where we stack our shoulders over our wrists.
We make a fist and place the flat side of our fist on the ground for support.
Our fists provide support and minimize the pressure on our wrists.
Be mindful to keep shoulders directly over wrists when using “fists for wrists.”
Poses where we might use Fists for Wrists include Plank, Table Top, and Cat/Cow.