Philosophically I am in agreement with all your responders. Practically speaking as I work mostly with groups, and in the context of a defined mind body modality some of my techniques are different.
I almost always remind my students that ‘coming to the mat’ is not just an actual stepping onto the yoga mat, but a metaphor for being present. We typically begin by shutting the eyes and pulling the attention inward, attempting to braid together the breath and the movement and the thought. That being present has not always been a comfortable place for everyone, especially where there are scars, but I find if it is the first directive of the class that here on the mat we are safe and we matter, it allows exploration that becomes deeper. The stretching of the muscles is only the surface of what we attempt.
I repeat quite often that we ‘find the self that observes without judgement’. I also remind them that ‘we measure not in inches, but in intensity’. What I find is that if I as the teacher set the expectation in place that everyone matters, we all work together and support each other, and that the process of being in class is much more important than any defined end point, each person in the class tends to move into that place.
Within this context we quite often do talk about places that are tight, or weak, but I model that talk not with anger or self negativity, but again as the self observing without judgement. e.g. “Most people have areas that are more tight than others:…. this posture has always been a little tighter for me, so I use the prop here and that is really helpful to open in a supportive way”, or or “Like a lot of people in their 50s and above, I have some arthritis in my neck, and I find this movement very helpful to keep good range of motion around these joints”.
Occasionally someone says something about their body in a ‘putting down’ sort of way, but it is not common, because the groups tend to be so kind. When it happens I respond with practical ideas and gentle praise for taking the time to practice what we call Ahimsa toward themselves.
Some time ago I did a blog called “yoga and mirrors”, which is kind of on this subject, if you are interested in looking at it. It is on my idea blog site.
I am glad you are writing on this. as the mechanic said in Kudzu “Life is like a tire iron. Its real hard so it feels mighty good when you stop beating yourself upside the head with it.”
Come to think of it I need to put that on my yoga page ….