Tips For Teaching Mixed Level Classes

Tips For Teaching Mixed Level Classes

Teaching a mixed ability Yoga class is a skill which divided good teachers from great teachers. The ability to make all levels in that call feel safe, un-intimidated and comfortable is essential to the ethos of yoga, so know that this skill takes time to cultivate.This is something we cover in depth in our foundation yoga teacher training courses.


First of all, don’t try it straight out of Yoga School – it will be a bad experience for both you and your students.

When you have gained some experience teaching, you can start to tackle the mixed level group. You will need the following –  great observational skills, a good sense of humour and expert knowledge in modifications for asana.

Some Pointers

  • Gather as much information about your class as possible, so that you are as aware of abilities from the outset.
  • From the start explain that you are not modifying exercises because you feel the person is unable, but rather that you feel they may be unsafe, and your job is all about safety.
  • Also, explain that ability to do asana can be down to something a simple as leg length and lifestyle.  I don’t know many marathon runners who can touch the ground in uttansana and I have never run more than 5k.
  • Give the easiest modification first and build from that.  This way people don’t feel like they are being chastised for inability, but rather challenged. You will also get a chance to assess and observe the students in the easiest version, to see prospective limitations.
  • Be extra clear and concise with your instructions, simply demonstrating will not be sufficient in a multi-level setting
  • Mostly remember that yoga is about the breath and constantly challenge your student’s ability to find a peaceful and tranquil breath. this may be the only cue they need to recognise their own level.

Enjoy your classes and we recommend you don’t start mixed level classes until you have a good bit of experience under your belt. To apply for a teacher training course at The elbowroom, you will need a minimum of 2 years practice. Applications can be made online here.

About the author: Susan Church

Susan Church

With a personal practice of 20 years and with many years of extensive teaching practice, Susan brings a wealth of knowledge her students. After a decade of dance training, Susan Church studied Theatre at TCD in the late 1980’s and dance with the National Theatre Institute in Connecticut U.S.A. It was during this time that she received her first yoga training, along with Laban, Alexander method and many other forms of dance and movement. Although, she eventually left the arts, she remained committed to yoga and Pilates. In 1999 she completed her first yoga teacher training and one year later she qualified as a Pilates Instructor and massage therapist. She has completed teacher training courses and equipment certificates along with hundreds of master classes and workshops in Pilates and Yoga. Some schools attended are YTTC, Bodyfirm, Body Control, Stott, Balanced Body and Powerhouse.

The elbowroom has an extensive range of classes for all ages and abilities. We offer such an eclectic mix to enable you to find something that will suit you. If you need any advice, please contact our class advisor who can point you in the right direction.