When the Poses Don’t Work – Adaptive & Accessible Yoga

This post is written by Sara F, a graduate of our 200-hour teacher training program. She’s been our a familiar face on Sunday nights, hosting at the front desk during our 6:00pm $5 Basics. Keep your eyes open for Sara on June 1 at 1:00pm for our Yoga in the Park: Pride Edition.

Have you ever been in a yoga class where the teacher instructs a pose, and you either stand/lay there knowing the pose won’t work for your body, or you silently struggle into it and hope it will end soon?

Or, on a more positive note, have you been in a yoga class where the teacher offers variations of a pose, often with different props? If the teacher gave different options, you have experienced accessible or adaptive yoga, which offers solutions that allow people of all abilities and body types to practice and benefit from yoga. At Queen Street Yoga you may have heard teachers refer to pose options as “bus stops,” and how far you ride down the bus route is up to you.

The experience or benefits of a pose can be achieved in different ways. Today, you may find that having your back knee on the mat in a low lunge is what works best for your body. Next week, you may get off at a different bus stop and lift your back knee and place your hands on blocks. Since all bodies are unique, one adaptation of a pose will not be suitable for all.

How I Realized that I Needed Accessible Yoga

My journey with accessible yoga began many years ago when I was practising in a studio that taught Ashtanga Yoga. I found the sequence to be uncomfortable and even painful. The only option I was offered was a refund for my membership, which left me feeling defeated and like I couldn’t do yoga. Fast-forward a decade to when I was practising at Queen Street Yoga, where I felt strong, confident and supported in my practice. I even was attending Carin’s intense classes!

At what felt like the physical peak of my yoga journey, I was rear-ended in a car accident and left with a concussion, whiplash, balance issues and a shoulder injury. I felt like I was back to square one. With the help of physiotherapy, massage, and chiropractic treatments, I was able to slowly begin practising yoga again The wonderful QSY teachers encouraged me to go at my own pace, offering me modifications and showing me different ways to use blocks and blankets to support my practice.

This first-hand lived experience of chronic pain and limited mobility continues to influence my personal yoga practice, and it motivated me to attend the first Accessible Yoga Conference held in Toronto in June 2018. AY is a global, grassroots organization dedicated to sharing the teachings of yoga with everyone—including people with disabilities, chronic illness, seniors, those who have been underserved, do not have access, and anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable in a regular yoga class.

Do you have a body and breath? Great! Then you can do yoga. See you on the mat, on a chair, or maybe even in the park.

More About Sara’s Offerings

I will be offering a 7-week Chair Yoga course on Mondays at 6:00pm called at the Causerie starting May 6. The Causerie is a more accessible location with a few stairs into the building and into the practice room, unlike the few flights of stairs into Queen Street Yoga. Send this blog post along to someone you think would be interested in a more accessible, chair-based yoga class. They can register here.

In July 2018 I completed my first 200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training through QSY and I am now an Accessible Yoga Ambassador! This means that I am passionate and dedicated to bringing yoga to people who, for whatever number of reasons, may not be able to access a traditional yoga studio or practice. I continue to study ways to assist students in their movement practice. Most recently I learned about Trauma Informed Yoga from Tiffany Rose, and I will be attending an Accessible Yoga Training this summer.

Resources to learn more:


QSY’s 2017 Gift Giving Guide

The season of gift-giving is fast approaching. At Queen Street Yoga we are stocking up on all the yoga props you could ever need for enhancing home practice and self care. We’ve got plenty of items for yogis and non-yogis in your life. Check out our gift-giving guide below.


Get 15% off all retail items at QSY between Nov 7-Dec 24. We can also special order any Half Moon props for you – our last order will go out Dec 4th, in order to have all items arrive before Christmas. Please check out shophalfmoon.com and email us by Dec 4th with any requests you have. Send your emails to info@queenstreetyoga.com!

1. Treat your feet! – Toe Spreaders


As we exchange our bare feet and sandals for winter boots, our feet will get less and less natural movement and spread. To keep your feet more supple during the winter months, we suggest Joy-a-Toes Toe Spreaders! Joy-a-Toes have been known to help address and correct bunions and foot pain by waking up the lines of connective tissue in the feet. Wear them while reading a book, doing restorative yoga, or watching a holiday movie. Your feet will thank you.

2. Treat a Friend! – Gift Certificates

Encourage your friends to try out our studio with a Queen Street Yoga Gift Certificate! Let them know that we offer drop-in classes of varying levels, and Intro to Yoga courses if they’d like to learn the fundamentals in a progressive way.

You can purchase gift certificates online,  and print them at home. We also have beautiful printed gift certificates at the studio when you purchase them in-person at the studio. Gift certificates are available in any amount.

3. Calm your Mind – Meditation Cushions

Check out the beautiful new patterns that Half Moon released this fall! We love them. We can order any colour or pattern for you. If you want your cushion in time for Christmas, email us your order by Dec 4th. Check out shophalfmoon.com to see the variety of colours offered!

4. Give yourself a Massage — Anywhere, Anytime

Who doesn’t love a good massage? With an Acuball  or a set of Yoga Tune Up balls, you can give yourself a massage at home anytime. There are lots of instructional videos online with different ideas of how to use them. Watch an Acuball video here  and a Yoga Tune Up video on upper back here









5. For Deep Relaxation 

Do you ever feel like you just need to lie down? That’s what our Rest & Renew class is all about. Rest at home with some of our favourite props:

Eye Pillows (unscented or with natural lavender) are a nice compact gift that can help someone rest their eyes – either on the couch or in a restorative yoga pose.



Therapy pillows are larger, and can be heated or cooled and placed on the body to promote rest and healing.




Bolsters can be used for supportive restorative poses, meant to rest the nervous system. Learn various ways to use a bolster in our Thursday 7:45pm Rest & Renew class or  download a restorative yoga sequence from our blog.


6. For the Committed Yoga Practitioner – B Mats

We love B Mats. Many people have reported that their wrists and knees are much happier in their yoga practice after practicing on one of these mats. They are an investment, but they last a long time and endure the test of time.

Just this week we got these lovely leather B Mat straps in to the studio! These luxe straps are a lovely gift to yourself, or your closest yoga-mat-toting friend.






Images in this post created by B-Mat, Half Moon Yoga Products, Acuball and Yoga Tune-Up. 

Thank you Amanda!

Amanda Soikie, one of our core teachers at Queen Street Yoga, will be moving on from teaching yoga as of September 1st. We are sad to see her go and excited that she has chosen to take a new direction in her career. We will miss Amanda so much and we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge her invaluable contributions to the Queen Street Yoga community.

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Amanda has been a core teacher at QSY for the past 5 years. She has taught a wide range of classes and workshops both at the studio and in the community, including kids yoga, and classes for women recovering from addictions and folks facing housing instability. Amanda brought so much care and authenticity to her classes and the relationships she cultivated with her students. We learned so much from Amanda and we imagine you’ll see her around the studio practicing on the mat next to you. As she leaves us to begin a new chapter in her professional life, we wish Amanda success, learning, joy and peace.
All of Amanda’s regular drop-in classes will stay on the schedule, and will be taught by our other wonderful teachers; Carin, Leslie and Amanda Ingall. Amanda Soikie will be teaching her regular classes until the end of August, so stop in for a class to give her your well-wishes.
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