As a forever student I love going to a yoga class and receiving adjustments. There are times when you’re in a pose and you feel like you’re doing it pretty well and then suddenly a teacher smoothly places their hand on your hip, giving a little pressure, and – ahhhh… so that’s how it’s supposed to feel – totally different. For many students, it’s a primary reason for going to a yoga class when they could just as easily do a quick YouTube search at home.
As a teacher, adjusting is a practice, like the asana practice. It requires constant studying, observing, and testing of the adjustments. You must go into an adjustment full of confidence, or your student will sense your hesitation and it will be less effective for them.
On top of teacher trainings, weekend workshops, and reading articles, here are 4 basic tips to remember when adjusting your students.
- CONFIDENCE It’s so important that I’m saying it again – You must go into an adjustment full of confidence. This may take time if you’re new to teaching or new to an adjustment, so practice is required. But no matter how shy of a person you are, when giving an adjustment in class, you must do it with 100% confidence.
- BE FIRM This is a teaching point that I will never forget from my first teacher trainer – Kimberly Waugh of Radiant Life Yoga School. She wisely taught me to adjust with a firm grip as opposed to a feeble, too-gentle touch. This circles around to confidence again, and also keeps the creepiness level down to zero.
- MOVE WITH THE BREATH This is a technique that, surprise, surprise requires yet again more hands on practice. Remember your knowledge of the asanas and apply it to adjustments, i.e. Exhale as you guide a student into a deeper twist and have them do the same, verbally guide them by saying, “Inhale deeply… now take a deep exhale.” as they exhale, you guide them a little deeper in the twist, going only to their comfort limit.
- TEACH It’s all fine and well to make a student feel better in a pose, but it’s even better to get them to understand why they are feeling better. This way they can improve their home practice, and they’ll be grateful to you and will return again and again to your classes to keep learning.
Just like your asana practice, keep practicing hands-on-adjustments of students and you’ll be doing it like a pro in no time.Besides learning from workshops practice on people that you’re comfortable with at first, like a sibling, partner, or best friend and ask them for their honest feedback then take the adjustment into the studio. Happy adjusting!