For yoga teachers who are just getting started and trying to develop a lasting relationship with their students, the prospect of using hands-on adjustments can be frightening. After all, we tend to live in a society that is fairly hands off and a yoga teacher (even one who has taken our yoga teaching training courses and received the proper yoga certifications) may struggle to assist students in such a physical manner.
While it is usually not okay to place your hands on people in most instances, the yoga studio is the one place where this sort of practice is acceptable. A yoga teacher must be able to physically and verbally communicate with their students with the same level of ease.
All yoga students learn differently and at the Himalayan Yoga Institute, we believe in teaching yoga instructors how to identify these different learning methods and structure their teaching practices accordingly. There are some students who can learn the correct yoga techniques by listening to verbal cues, while others require hands on instruction.
A great yoga teacher can communicate with their students by transferring information with their hands. Some students may not mind the hands on adjustment, while others prefer not to be touched at all. The idea of having a relative stranger place their hands on you can feel intrusive and personal, so a teacher needs to choose the right time and place to perform a hands-on adjustment.
Teachers would want to communicate and make sure that a student knows that being touched is a part of the class and that certain corrections will be necessary in order to avoid injuries.
When it comes to hands on adjustments in yoga, the following reasons are the most common, as well as acceptable:
If a student is struggling to guide themselves into a posture in a safe manner and the instructor is concerned that they may become injured as a result of their poor technique, hands on adjustments can be used to guide a student into the correct posture.
In other instances, a student may have the right idea as far as a pose, but will then struggle with the correct alignment. A yoga student who is not properly aligned is at serious risk of hurting themselves and this is a scenario where it is necessary for a yoga teacher to step in and provide a hands on adjustment.
Let’s say that a student has the pose and the alignment of the pose right, but they are not yet able to move into the pose deeply enough to receive true results. Yoga teacher training courses show prospective yoga teachers how to aid their students when it comes to these poses, by providing hands-on adjustments. Forward folds and twists can help immensely and students often require assistance with backbends and extended side angles.
The idea that a person could require help with their breathing techniques is a farce to some, but in order to get the most out of a yoga course, a student may need help with identifying their proper breathing points. A hands on adjustment can be used in these scenarios by the yoga teacher, who is able to offer their student a physical touch point for they need to be breathing.
Muscle Memory Instructions
A yoga teacher is often able to tell if their student is not feeling what they are supposed to when it comes to a pose. Hands on adjustments can be used to show the student how they will need to feel while they are in certain poses and they are able to take that muscle memory with them going forward. Using a hands on adjustment informs their practice and allows them to get the most out of their future classes.
How Often Can a Teacher Use Hands On Adjustments?
This is a question without one uniform answer, as it will depend on the teacher’s personal preference, as well as the personal preferences of their students. It is important to remember that offering hands on adjustments does not necessarily make a class better by itself and yoga teacher training courses offer prospective teachers the chance to learn how to instruct, with or without hands on adjustments.
That being said, a teacher with a class of willing students and a track record of providing helpful hands-on adjustments is often able to connect with their pupils on a much deeper level.
A person who has recently completed a yoga teaching training and received their yoga certification should perform hands-on adjustments with caution.
If you approach a student to provide a hands on adjustment and they display any level of unwillingness, it is important to respect their wishes.
Be sure to contact the Himalayan Yoga Institute if you have any further questions about hands on adjustments and yoga teaching training.
Every year we are offering yoga teacher training courses in three locations: the Adiatic Sea in Croatia, the Himalayas and South India.