Yoga Teacher Q&A – Do You Ask Students About Injuries & Limitations?

In an effort to share information among yoga teachers and to best prepare teachers for working with students of all abilities, ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds we’ll be posting a monthly question for yoga teachers on social media and sharing some of their answers here on adaPTed Yoga!

The first question we asked was:

Yoga Teacher Q&A 1

Here are some of our favorite answers:

Jivana Heyman, founder of Accessible Yoga 

“I think it’s important to ask this question quietly with each individual student rather than with the whole group in order to protect their privacy.”

Melissa Adylia Calasanz, Certified Yoga Therapist

“I sure do! If I have a person I’ve never seen before in class I make sure I walk up to them and introduce myself and say ‘hello, I’m Melissa, the instructor, as you take a moment to get settled go ahead and think about if there is anything you’d like to share with me, any limitations, aches or pains.’ Then I can check back in and allow them to share if they wish.”

Danielle Nardi, adaPTed Yoga Team Member, DPT student & Yoga Teacher

“My favorite way to address this question is to keep it broad and ask ‘what do I need to know about you before we work together?’, that way it’s open for the student to share what they feel comfortable sharing. I also like using something I learned at the Accessible Yoga Conference this past spring…during our centering when everyone has their eyes closed I ask students to rub their hands together to create a warmth & energy, then I ask them to place their hands on the part of their body they feel can benefit from some extra energy and attention – that one little things gives me a lot of information!”

Nancy Curran, Owner Yoga on the Beach

“Open to listening, ask at times and inspire everyone to practice from what is available that day.”

Alexandra Schang PT, DPT, RYT-200 (IG: @somasenseyoga)

“Yes, for sure, it’s necessary for safety and allows both participants and I to feel more confident moving forward in our sessions…for new clients I make it a point to touch base with them before and after: before class to inquire about any known areas of sensitivity, after to see how they felt during the session as feedback for me about what their bodies can tolerate.  I also remind participants that they know their bodies much better than anyone else, so if there are any sharp, tingling, electric sensations, take charge and ease away. It is important that they see their instructors as a guide, but themselves as the decision-maker.”

Heather Janesky (IG: @hjclimber)

“ALWAYS if they are new to my class, I introduce myself ask 1. tell me about your yoga experience, 2. what brought you to your mat today, 3. are there any current injuries or predominant tension I should know about and 4. have you been in a car accident or recovering from surgery in the past year? For the students that have been with me for awhile, once they are settled in a comfortable seated/ reclined position, I have them close their eyes to tune in and ask, ‘if any of you have a new injury or something I should know about, please place your hand over your heart’. That way it’s private, while there rest of the class can move into their pranayama I can make a personal connection to those that may be struggling.”

Clara Wallace (IG: @flawlesswallace11)

“Is there anything I should know about your body?” is usually my go-to. And I usually ask about previous yoga experience and comfort with hands-on assists in that same short conversation.”

Sara DiVello, Yoga Teacher & Author of “Where in the OM Am I?”

“Absolutely!!! I announce at the beginning that I’ll be coming around and to please flag me down if they are new or working with any tweaks or injuries. Nobody wants to announce to a room what they’re working with. I want it to feel safe  and supportive.”


What other questions would you like to see answered in our 

Yoga Teacher Q&A series??

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for future Yoga Teacher Q&A and other adaPTed Yoga content!

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