Adjustments, they are possibly the most contentious topic when it comes to guiding a class through a sequence of asanas. Depending on the style of yoga or the teacher’s preferred style of teaching, adjustments in classes can vary from virtually none to heavily focused. To answer the age-old question of whether to adjust or not there are a few things to take into consideration; knowledge, skill, benefits and professionalism are only just a few.
In my own experience of attending classes I found that I much preferred classes where I received hands-on adjustments. That being said I have also been to classes where I did not enjoy the adjustments the teacher performed. It is very important that a teacher have proper knowledge of how to do a correct and effective adjustment. Having knowledge of how to give a proper adjust is just one step of the process.
Having practical experience allows a teacher’s skill and effectiveness grow. As a beginner teacher it can be extremely beneficial to practice adjustments as much as possible. With more practice confidence and skill increase and because there is a physical connection made I believe that can be transferred across to the student. In anecdotal evidence, I find that if one is unsure or doubtful in their ability that too, can also be felt from the student.
If a teacher has affluent knowledge and an effective ability to adjust there are many benefits that be gained by the students of varying degrees. For beginners and those completely new to yoga adjustments can help students to understand the posture in and feel it in its proper alignment. Even experienced and advanced students can reap the benefits; through adjustments teachers can still encourage alignment and deepening of a pose. When an asana is done correctly in proper alignment and engagement the body can be strengthened and stretched.
When it comes to Yoga adjustments having the proper knowledge, the skill and knowing the benefits is important but it’s also important to be able to analyze and assess your students. Where an adjustment can be helpful for one it can be harmful to another. Learning to read the students body will allow the teacher to give the proper adjustment respective to their body. Knowing how to when to adjust students will prevent injury to both parties.
As a teacher we would want to avoid injuries as much as possible to have a successful and prosperous career. In terms of professionalism it is also essential to make sure that adjustments are given to those who want them. Telling a class at the beginning of class that adjustments will be provided and that it is ok to opt out will prevent any potential discomfort from students.
There are many things to consider when it comes to adjustments. Knowing when and how to give adjustments is just as important as knowing the benefits and how to be professional about it. I have found that I love classes where teachers give hands-on attention in addition to clear verbal cues. I also aspire to be one of those seasoned teachers that have magical adjustment abilities and a clear voice and I know that there are many things I must consider to become the teacher I want to be.
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