Yoga for Every Body: Making Yoga Accessible and Enjoyable for All

Filed in Yoga Practice Techniques — April 11, 2024

In the world of yoga, a guiding principle holds that the practice is for every body. Yet, navigating a path that feels inclusive and accessible can sometimes be challenging. As Julianne Arce, founder of 11Exhale, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of yoga when it truly embraces this inclusivity. Through years of teaching and engaging with students of all backgrounds, abilities, and body types, I’ve gathered insights into how we can dismantle barriers, making yoga a welcoming space for everyone. Here, I share strategies for modifications, adaptations, and teaching approaches that celebrate diversity and promote accessibility in yoga.

Understanding Individual Needs

The first step toward making yoga accessible is recognizing and honoring the individual needs of each student. This approach involves creating an environment where students feel seen and supported, whether they’re navigating physical limitations, injuries, or are new to the practice. Encouraging open communication and offering personalized attention can make a significant difference in their experience and comfort level.

Modifications and Props

Modifications are essential tools in the accessible yoga toolkit. By adjusting poses to meet students where they are, we can ensure that everyone can participate and benefit from the practice. Props such as blocks, straps, bolsters, and blankets are invaluable in facilitating these modifications, offering support, stability, and alignment aids that accommodate various needs.

  • For example, a block can bring the ground closer in a forward fold, supporting those with limited flexibility, while a strap can aid in safely deepening stretches for tight shoulders.

Adaptive Yoga

Adaptive yoga goes a step further, tailoring the practice to those with specific physical conditions or disabilities. This approach may involve chair yoga for individuals who are unable to practice on the floor, or creating sequences that can be performed in a wheelchair. Adaptive yoga underscores the principle that yoga is not about achieving a perfect pose but about finding what feels good and beneficial for your body.

Inclusive Language and Imagery

The words we use and the images we share as yoga teachers and practitioners carry weight. Employing inclusive, body-positive language and showcasing diversity in promotional materials and social media can send a powerful message of welcome and belonging. Avoiding assumptions and emphasizing personal experience over a one-size-fits-all approach can make yoga more relatable and accessible to a broader audience.

Fostering a Supportive Community

Community is at the heart of accessibility. Cultivating a yoga community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion can encourage participation from people who might otherwise feel excluded. This involves not only welcoming feedback and learning from diverse perspectives but also actively working to dismantle systemic barriers within the yoga world.

Offering a Variety of Classes

Providing a range of classes that cater to different levels, abilities, and interests is key to making yoga accessible. From gentle and restorative classes to more dynamic and physically challenging sessions, variety ensures that everyone can find a practice that resonates with them. Specialized classes, such as yoga for seniors, prenatal yoga, or yoga for specific health conditions, also play a crucial role in meeting the unique needs of different populations.


Yoga is a journey of connection—not just to oneself but to a community united in diversity and mutual respect. At 11Exhale, our mission is to make yoga accessible and enjoyable for all, celebrating every body and its unique path through practice. By embracing modifications, fostering inclusivity, and recognizing the individuality of each student, we can ensure that yoga lives up to its potential as a universal practice. Together, let’s continue to open doors, making yoga a truly accessible and enriching experience for everyone.

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