10 Rules for Hands-On Adjustments for Yoga Teachers

Saturday, October 26, 2019

As a Yoga teacher, learning how to offer hands-on adjustments during a session is very important. Just imagine yourself going through a tough yoga class and your body is breathing and moving in unison and you take a child pose to get rest.

At this time your teacher walks behind you as you wait to for them to provide adjustment so you can ease off but you realize the teacher barely touches you and then just walks away.

Similarly, imagine that you are doing a tough pose and your teacher - who is a stranger to you - drapes in front of you and covers you from head to toe to deepen your stance. What she isn’t aware of is that she is disturbing your emotional discomfort and it ruins the moment for you.

If you’ve ever done yoga in a class, you have probably come across these awkward situations when a teacher offers hands-on assists. They’re either too strong, or too light, and in some cases, just plain awkward. 

The hands-on adjustment can be a controversial topic in yoga and every teacher seems to have their own say on the matter. They offer adjustments without thinking about anyone or their privacy. As an instructor, it is very important for you to know when to provide yoga hands-on assists so that you can avoid causing discomfort to the students.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner trying to become a yoga instructor, learning the rules of hands-on adjustment is paramount. Wild Abundant Life’s 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course covers this topic in detail.

But before you join the course and think about becoming a yoga instructor, it is very important to know the 10 rules of hands-on assists in yoga. 

Ask for Student’s Permission

Before beginning any yoga session, rest your class in the child position and have their eyes closed. Now speak to them and talk to them about how your class offers hands-on adjustments to help them perform better.

Then ask them if for any reason an individual wants to opt-out of hands-on adjustments, raise their hands and let the instructor know. You have to be mindful of their space no matter what.

Offer Adjustments on Both Sides

When you are offering hands-on adjustments when the student is doing a pose, make sure to adjust both of their sides to ensure the perfect balance is achieved. This will not only help them balance but will also help them feel confident in the position they are.

Let Others Know

When you are making an adjustment, speak with verbal cues and in an instructional tone. For example, if you let everyone know what you are doing, they will know that they too need to adjust their pose. 

Make Sure Intentions are Clear

If you have learned a new adjustment in one of the yoga teacher training courses or through continuing education and want it to show it to your students, make sure you are mindful of their needs first.

Your students come first so make sure that you are demonstrating the adjustment before you offer it. 

Also, you need to be aware of the fact that not all students like being touched. Make sure to avoid sensitive areas and approach the student in a gentle way so that they don’t feel discomfort. This will indicate that you have clear intentions.

Enter and Exit Carefully

The private space of a student is very important and you should always be respectful of that. Approach your students at a very steady and careful pace so that they are stable in the pose before you offer adjustments. 

Make sure you also walk away only when they are comfortable in the pose.

Know your Students

If you have students with special needs, make sure to learn about them before you give them any adjustments. For example, if you are teaching an elderly who has been a victim of trauma before or an individual has been injured previous or they have unique needs, you need to enroll some kind of special training before giving them hands-on adjustments.

We have a senior yoga course that teaches you the principals of instructing yoga to the elderly.

Pay Attention to the Breath

Make sure to encourage your students to breathe deeply and audibly in unison with you before you make any adjustments. 

If the breath of a student becomes choppy or labored as you are adjusting them, it is a good indicator that you have taken them deeper into the pose.

Practice Makes Perfect

In order to become a master of offering adjustments, you need to know exactly how a pose feels in your own body before giving it to someone. Practice as much as you can before you offer adjustments.

Start Small

No one expects you to become perfect with yoga hands-on adjustments in a single day. Start small and gradually reach the expert level. A 200-hour teacher training course is one of the best courses where you can learn how to offer yoga adjustments to individuals from all walks of life. 

If you’re interested in learning all about effective adjustments, and teaching yoga in Illinois, check out our 2019 Yoga Teacher Training schedule and sign up for a course. 

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