Ask An Expert: Adaptive Yoga

I was very inspired by the Ask Jules email below from a reader named Missie. Missie is dealing with several health challenges, which make it difficult for her to be physically active, but you know what? Those limitations are not stopping Missie from finding activities she’s able to do to be healthy and fit.

Keeping up with your fitness isn’t all about appearance. We know it’s also about reducing levels of stress and anxiety, improving mental clarity and focus, having a greater lung capacity and getting a good night’s sleep.

My personal trainer, Erica Hood at Body by Simone had some excellent advice for Missie. Through that I learned about adaptive yoga, a type of yoga for people of all abilities, including disabilities.


Good morning!!

I am one of your “older” newsletter and blog readers! I simply find you so inspiring! I don’t think inspiration has age limits! Here’s my question for you: I’m a 48-year-old empty nest mom. But I also have 2 serious health issues (CRPS/RSD and Sjogrens Syndrome) that really limit what I am able to do physically in terms of exercise. I’m unable to do anything that involves impact on my right foot/ankle or standing only on that foot. In addition, both conditions cause nearly debilitating fatigue which worsens if I overdo exercise.

I have heard the term “adaptive yoga” but don’t know anything about it. I’m trying to find out what it’s about to see if it’s an option for me. Is this something you have knowledge of?  I appreciate any help you can give!


Hi Missie,

You’re right, inspiration has no age limits! First off, please make sure to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Because of your health issues, I would recommend light impact exercising. Your best option would most likely be aquatic exercise. Exercising in a pool helps people with RSD move more easily, decreases hesitancy to move painful muscles and helps you to develop strength and balance. 

In addition to that, I would try dancing. You know it’s Julianne’s favorite and we incorporate it in all of her workouts @bodybysimone too. Get your body moving on a low impact level and do what feels good to your body. Most importantly, have fun!

As for your question about adaptive yoga, it simply means it’s an alignment-based yoga unifying mind, body and spirit. It focuses first on the postures putting emphasis on your form in the poses (which would be good to help you with balancing the body) then allows you to connect mentally and meditate in the pose. I would suggest a beginner level or working one on one with an instructor. See how your body feels after and if it’s something that interests you. 



At the end of the day, you have to find what’s right for you. If approved by your doctor, try these suggested methods to see what you like. The most important thing is to stay active and healthy so you can enjoy life. 

Best of luck,

Follow Erica on Instagram @errrrrrrka.

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Comments 4

  1. Looks like queen giving a touchdown sign. But in this case the queen is nature’s touchdown….

  2. Hi there! I’m hoping this comment reaches Missie.
    Missie, I can’t imagine the frustration and limitations you must feel with CRPS & RSD. But, I want to to say I’m very excited for you! Yoga by it’s very nature is adaptive, and can be very healing & transformative. (I’m saying this as a practitioner & teacher). There are SO many different forms of yoga, and finding the right one for you just may hold the key to helping you out. If you live anywhere near Chicago you should check out a place called Yoga Circle. They have been around for 30 years and are magnificent at adapting yoga for all body types and conditions. If you are not near Chicago I would suggest to seek out an Iyengar yoga teacher – Iyenger yoga is basically a practice that aims to give access & benefits to all practitioners regardless or age, physical condition, strength, etc.
    I hope this helps and good luck on your yoga journey!
    Oh, and I love that you’re giving this try without worrying about your age. The fact that you’re willing to try it is AWESOME! One of my favorite students took his first yoga class at the young age of 72! He did great and was so inspirational to me. A complete joy to work with. I know you’ll be the same for whoever is lucky enough to teach you. 🙂

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