The Art of Adjusting. Why is it important to make adjustments in yoga?
The Art of Adjusting is practice, practice and more practice. To become a great adjuster requires confidence and experience. Experience based on different types of body shapes including male or female, a variety of client abilities, injuries and time.
You need to be able to SEE what clients are doing wrong before you can adjust it. So that means keeping up with your own practice and perfecting your own alignment as well as spending time looking at yogis practicing yoga when you are teaching or maybe even just adjusting a class another teacher is teaching in.
Before even talking about physically adjusting someone, it is best to speak a little about why we would adjust a student. If you do not adjust the postures of a student since you notice he is a beginner, later it will be more difficult for him to do the posture correctly, because he has already created the “bad” habit. Students can also hurt themselves if they do not do a pose correctly.
The first adjustments that you always try to fix are issues that more than one student has in the room. How can you do that physically? You can’t, so you must VERBALLY adjust first. You can do this during your alignment when getting the clients into the poses at the beginning or perhaps once they are in the pose you can further remove any of the alignment issues you see while teaching.
An example of Common Misalignments in Phalakasana – Plank Pose:
- Heels are too far forward, placing excess weight on the shoulders and wrists
- Ribs are sagging to the floor
- Hips and lower abdomen are collapsing to the floor
- The shoulder blades are squeezing together
You can correct these misalignments verbally. By stating:
- Bring your heels towards the back of the mat (or back of the room)
- Activate your abdominals and bring your ribs in towards the spine
- Keep the body in one line, your buttocks is not too high or too low, activate the abdominals
- Bring your scapula towards the sky, think of cat pose, and really strengthen your upper back and shoulders.
In the next articles, we will talk in detail about Verbal Adjusting and Physical Adjusting.
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.