The Durhamese Imposed Construct of Perceived Physical Difficulty (or, The Yoga D-scale)

Whilst working on the Quick Guides and Directories for Triangle yoga studios, I quickly realized that one thing was almost unquantifiable from class to class and certainly across studios: the level of physical challenge. So, honoring my adopted town of Durham, I have created the…

Durhamese Imposed Construct of Perceived Physical Difficulty,



Dick-Puh-Pud is pretty awkward…Let’s change that to

That’s better!

Very Easy. Restorative classes. Guided meditations. Chair yoga. Classes folks can attend with zero yoga experience or physical fitness and feel welcome. (I would classify my Emotional Rescue class here.)

Easy. Beginners classes. Gentle classes. Someone new to yoga with moderate physical fitness would feel okay.

Medium. Slow flow classes. Basics classes. Inversions. Challenging but accessible for a newer practitioner at a reasonable level of physical fitness.

Hard. Power yoga. Fast-moving vinyasa. Headstands, handstands at the wall, and full upward-facing bow. Guided Primary Series in Ashtanga. (I would classify my Bendo at the Zendo class here.)

Very Hard. Some power yoga classes. Mysore classes. Classes that are challenging even to the experienced practitioner. Classes you need to take at least twice to make it through. I would put Bikram classes here because of the heat.

Some things to keep in mind while using the D-scale…

  • The emotional/spiritual challenge is not being measured on this scale. At all. This scale is strictly about physical challenge.
  • Levels 1 and 5 are extremes and to be used sparingly. Most classes will fall between 2 and 4.
  • The hardest class at your studio may not be a 5. The easiest class at your studio may not be a 1. Think big. Think broad. This is definitely not perfect, but to the extent you can, thinking inter-studio-ly will help you find your niche within a community of studios.
  • Feel free to use these very icons on your website/facebook/flyer. I consider them public domain. Find the Dscale in PDF form here. An example of how to incorporate the Dscale here.

That’s it!  Imagine: the Triangle Area is the first in the country to adopt a system to accurately communicate the difficulty of classes to their students. Not only could potential students find a class that is right for them, but they would feel confident to try different classes without feeling like they are all “blind dates!”

I challenge you, Triangle Yoga Studios: let’s be the first community in the country to do something of this kind!

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