Physical Adjusting in Yoga Practice – I Part
As mentioned earlier physical adjusting takes a lot of practice and experience. Andrea a yoga teacher that does many teacher trainings a year, and has a lot of experience in Ashtanga yoga says to her students it takes 1000 hours to be able to adjust properly and she is probably right. So do not be disheartened if you do not get it right away, it takes time.
Yoga teachers that have experience in bodywork are normally more comfortable in adjusting in yoga. They enjoy touch. Other instructors perhaps were not touched as a child or whatever other reason, and just need a bit more experience at it to feel comfortable doing it.
The type of touch is worth mentioning. You want a strong touch but not too forceful to cause pain. Often using your palm instead of your fingers help as well. Other body parts like legs, feet and your body can also be used. You want to assist not do everything for them. It is helpful to talk in a soft voice to allow them to know what is going on because sometimes a verbal/physical adjustment is needed.
For example: A student is in Paschimottanasana and you want to push them further into the pose you would place your hands on their scapula and ask them to breath into your hands. On their next exhale you would lengthen and push them lightly further into the pose making sure their knees are not locked and asking them how far they want to go into the pose.
You are able to tell normally where is their limit so just go to that far but if you cannot tell, ask them if it is ok. Asking if ok in poses is always wise just to be sure. If you are massaging them they are normally, fine so no need to ask.
An example of Physical Adjustments in Phalakasana – Plank Pose:
- Step your feet on either side of their thighs and using your hands bring their hips into optimal alignment. Then step forward with your feet on either side of their hips and bend your knees to gently squeeze their hips with your lower legs to stabilize them in the pose
- Place your hand in-between their shoulder blades and ask them to press into your hand
- Place your palms behind their heels and ask them to press back into your hands
- Place your palms on top of their hands to help them to ground the thumb and index fingers into the ground
Instructors usually touch beginners more than advanced students. New yogis do not want too much attention, as they already feel uncomfortable being in a new environment. Obviously, you need to spend time with them but do not forget about the more advanced practitioners. They are the ones that are often forgotten in a yoga class as they do everything right and are the ones that want to be touched the entire time. They will come back and recommend you as a teacher if you spend time with them too!
By Heather Anderson
If you want to deepen the practice of adjustments or if you are a certified teacher and must complete your YACEP hours, at Hot Yoga Academy we have the course: The Art of Adjustment.