When I teach Hands-on Adjustments to teachers, there is a lot to consider, such as: what is the alignment you need your students to create in order to get the most out of the pose, where to place your hands and your body, how long to stay, how much pressure to use, should you pour, pull, or press, what should be adjusted first, what cues should be spoken without needing to touch, and more. Since these components are most important in touching your student, until you can take a workshop with me and buy my book to better understand, here are 7 steps to follow when adjusting your students.
Observe – What needs to be adjusted on the student? If one or more students need the same adjustment, remind the whole class of a verbal cue that could “fix” the need to adjust without having to touch anyone. Otherwise, see what and where the student should receive an adjustment for the best benefit from your touch.
Approach – Go straight to the area you are going to adjust and provide the most effective adjustment, without lingering around the student with curiosity.
Stabilize – Press your hand(s) and/or body on the student’s body (sometimes even bringing him into you) without causing him to fall or fear he might fall, or feel invaded – but instead allow him to feel supported and stabilized.
Adjust – Go in for the adjustment. You want to be assertive and confident, so that the student doesn’t come out of his spirit-space, feel invaded of personal space, or clench or tighten up in fear that you’re going to throw him off his focus and pose. Adjust with gentleness yet firmness, and, of course, with grace.
Breathe – Continue adjusting the student long enough that you can breathe, also encouraging the student to breathe. This does not require you to say “breathe,” unless you are speaking to the whole class. Your audible breath and ease of energy will remind him to breathe effortlessly. This will assist in creating muscle memory of the adjustment you’re making for the next time the student is in this pose or one similar.
Re-stabilize – Re-stabilize the student once he is in the “proper” position of the asana. Any movement or holding of the student you did in the first stabilization now needs to be reinforced so you can walk away. Re-stabilization warrents confidence in the student that he has been assisted in the pose, and he will thereafter feel confident to hold the shape without your touch.
Retreat – Walk away, so he can feel the benefit of your adjustment(s) and go on to the next person in need of your expertise. Sometimes you will stay with the adjustment on the same student into the next shape, especially if you are flowing from pose to pose or you do not feel the student is ready for you to leave him. You will know when or if it is time to “retreat” or leave the student after a good adjustment and proper stabilization.
It can be intimidating to adjust your yoga student if this is new to you as a teacher. I hope these 7 steps will allow you to find ease and confidence in walking around the room and in seeing which asanas can be perfected to create a greater feeling in your students’ body with the poses you are teaching.
These 7 Steps will help you make confident Hands-On Adjustments on your yoga student. If you follow these steps, your student will also have confidence that you know what is best for him and will rest into your expertise as his teacher.
For more information on Hands-On Adjustments, Alignment and Verbal Cues, buy my book and take a workshop with me!
In love & yoga,