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Old 12-05-21, 10:46 AM  
JackieB
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Negative vibes with modifications and language

Hi! I am taking Yoga Tune Up Roll Model Method Training this weekend. Whew! The presenter is awesome. Her name is Laurie Streff and she is based in Chicago.

We had an interesting discussion about using the word "modifications" and how it makes people feel "less than". I loved how she used words like "options" or "variations" and really want people to feel empowered and capable in classes, and that our bodies are all different. No one size fits all!

I remember Barre3 using the language "full expression of the movement" but can[t remember what they used to describe modifications.

Any other descriptions you have heard instructors use?
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Old 12-05-21, 11:00 AM  
kat999
 
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Some of my local yoga teachers use the term "options," and I like it. There is an older Ellen Barrett Pilates video called "Pick Your Level" and a lot of the language in that emphasizes that even if these "levels" seem like beginner, intermediate, and advanced, you could choose level 1 for some moves, level 2 for others, and level 3 for others, that we are all seldom truly the same level for all moves. It doesn't mean you're overall "more fit" if you do all level 3, for example.

I have videos I've done for decades where I follow the modifier for everything, but then others where I do a mix, and some where I do advanced throughout. I think if we use the word "options" to indicate that our individual fitness modality is not per workout or per year or per amount we practice but has more to do with our individual body parts and our range of motion (something which is not always trainable but is somewhat fixed), that would be a much more realistic way to phrase it.
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Old 12-05-21, 11:19 AM  
Sollamyn
 
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I think that instructors (or exercise video producers?) are to blame for making "modifiers" or "modifications" bad words. When they show a simplified or toned-down version (i.e., low-impact) they call it a modification, but the high-impact version is referred to as "advanced." So, often, you have the regular version, an advanced version, and then the modifier who is doing low-impact, using no weights when the others are using weights, etc. That's why people get the idea that modifying something is "less than." The word itself, taken literally, does not mean "less than" although it can mean that something is less extreme. The use of words like "option" or "variation" are good alternatives, if people need to hear that sort of thing. I, personally, am not ashamed of less intense/easier moves (I know my body!), so I couldn't care less if someone calls it a modification or an option. Either way is fine by me.

JMHO

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Old 12-05-21, 11:28 AM  
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Thick Thighs Save Lives (TTSL) programming uses the word "scale" often for modifications so you scale to your current ability level. They do a lot of metcon and CrossFit type stuff so I don't know if scale is used in CrossFit or not. In their podcast they talk often about how your "hard" is the same as someone else's "hard," no matter which scale you are using. It's a good reminder to work at your level. So whether you run a 12 minute mile and your friend runs a 7 minute mile or you deadlift 150 lbs and your friend deadlifts 70 lbs, if you're working hard then you're getting the same workout.

(I highly recommend their podcast but with a warning that they do swear.)

Another thought when we look at the language and descriptors we use. I am guilty of this too but we need to stop using the words "only" and "just" when we talk about our activities for the day. I all too often say well all I did today was just dog walks. What? Why is that an "only" kind of thing? You know? I got off my butt and got some activity for my dog and myself. That might be I did dog walks but no formal workout but I shouldn't look at it as being only walking. It's still a choice to get in movement. (I think it was Tom Holland who first made me think about this in his Fitness Disrupted podcast.)
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Old 12-05-21, 11:36 AM  
cyana
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sollamyn View Post
I think that instructors (or exercise video producers?) are to blame for making "modifiers" or "modifications" bad words. When they show a simplified or toned-down version (i.e., low-impact) they call it a modification, but the high-impact version is referred to as "advanced." So, often, you have the regular version, an advanced version, and then the modifier who is doing low-impact, using no weights when the others are using weights, etc. That's why people get the idea that modifying something is "less than." The word itself, taken literally, does not mean "less than" although it can mean that something is less extreme. The use of words like "option" or "variation" are good alternatives, if people need to hear that sort of thing. I, personally, am not ashamed of less intense/easier moves (I know my body!), so I couldn't care less if someone calls it a modification or an option. Either way is fine by me.

JMHO

Donna
I tend to be more in this camp. I think it all comes down to how the instructor presents the variations/options/modifications as to how they will be perceived. I've owned videos where the instructor sounded as though they were talking down to less experienced or less fit exercisers, and I found that to be very off-putting, even though I was an intermediate exerciser.
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Old 12-05-21, 11:55 AM  
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Sometimes Ellen B just says “follow…if you don’t want to or if you want to….”Occasionally Jessica Smith says that too.
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Old 12-05-21, 12:05 PM  
Pat58
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This is a great topic. I've always been aggravated by the modifications demonstrator being the heaviest in the crew, the oldest, or both.

I loved when Shiva Rea said "Find your intelligent edge."

Tilak Pyle was also very generous with "Don't get caught up in trying to find the perfect pose or the perfect body [words to that effect] ... relax into yourself enough to know that you're perfect already" which caused how many VF'ers to burst into tears?

I think a lot of yogis by nature are skilled in finding ways to say where you are now is perfect for you, "it's a practice not a perfect," etc.

Margaret Richard is good about saying rest and join back when you can, or do what you need to do, etc. Lucy Wyndham-Read is wonderful about inclusiveness and even has videos featuring a lower impact and a higher impact side by side without making you feel inadequate in any way - it's just an option she offers. And she often says "just march on the spot when you need to or if you don't like this."

Not entirely on topic, but a big peeve of mine is that all too often the alternate version is offered as an afterthought when already doing the second side of a two sided move.
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Old 12-05-21, 05:09 PM  
JackieB
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Thanks for all the thoughts!

I guess from a VFer point of view, I didn't think about the fact that a lot of times the "modifier" is a heavy or older (more mature, ahem) exerciser. The YTU workshop was more from the perspective of live classes...but interesting to think about.
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Old 12-05-21, 06:00 PM  
Joni O
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I hate when the instructor equates modifying with being a beginner. Not many do anymore, but I still have plenty of workouts where that's said.
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Old 12-05-21, 06:09 PM  
rhbrand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vantreesta View Post
Thick Thighs Save Lives (TTSL) programming uses the word "scale" often for modifications so you scale to your current ability level. They do a lot of metcon and CrossFit type stuff so I don't know if scale is used in CrossFit or not. In their podcast they talk often about how your "hard" is the same as someone else's "hard," no matter which scale you are using. It's a good reminder to work at your level. So whether you run a 12 minute mile and your friend runs a 7 minute mile or you deadlift 150 lbs and your friend deadlifts 70 lbs, if you're working hard then you're getting the same workout.
Crossfit uses scale to your ability. My old Crossfit coach would also say scale to the workout you want. Maybe you don't feel great but want to do something today. Scale to what you want.
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